A group of Greenville businessmen on Tuesday announced plans to transform a historic tobacco warehouse into a food and lodging destination that is the fourth hotel project in the works downtown.
The Stark Group plans to rehabilitate the E.B. Ficklen and Star Tobacco warehouse site which borders Eighth, Ninth, Washington and Ficklen Streets as well as some surrounding property.
Three of the buildings will house the 70-room Ficklen Hotel, said Kimberly L. Christner of Cornerstone Hospitality, which will manage the property once it is opened. The facility will feature a restaurant, lobby and 10,000-square-foot event space. The adjacent Star Warehouse will host a 76,000-square-foot food hall and market. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and the opening is set for the fall of 2022.
“We are creating a destination that will attract not only those visiting Greenville but will be of service to the residents in our community as well,” said Tucker Stallings, one of the developers. “Greenville is growing and there are so many great restaurants, shops and cultural venues in the Uptown area. What doesn’t currently exist is an upscale boutique hotel destination with services to match.”
Tucker Stallings, Clark Stallings, Phil Gibbs and Will and Edwin Clark are principals of the Stark Group.
“It is our intention to bring the story of Greenville, our past and our future, to life through authentic design, curated art and high-touch services delivered in a way that is approachable, comfortable and truly representative of Greenville and eastern North Carolina,” Clark Stallings said in the news release.
The hotel will be part of Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio brand which allows the developers to use their own branding, design and accommodations while accessing millions of Marriott Bonvoy members, Tucker Stallings said.
The Star Warehouse Market will be an all-local dining concept that will bring the area’s culinary scene under one roof, the news release said. The food hall concept will boast a variety of independently curated food concept venues.
It will feature many of eastern North Carolina’s neighborhood restaurants offering grab-and-go or stay-and-relax dining. The news release also said there will be “a few cutting-edge concepts debuting from several acclaimed chefs.”
There will also be a retail market space for fresh produce, meats, a grocer, artisan crafts, and flowers, the release said.
Three other boutique hotel projects also have been announced since the fall of 2019.
The first was an arrangement between the City of Greenville and Seacoast Communities to construct a hotel and apartments on the site of the former Imperial Tobacco Warehouse property off Dickinson Avenue.
Since then the project has undergone several delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its near ruinous effect on the hospitality industry, developers told the city.
Initially, the developers were going to build the hotel and then the apartments. This summer the Greenville City Council modified its contract with Seacoast so both projects will be built simultaneously. Then in November, the city council granted Seacoast more time to complete its due diligence. The developers are seeking U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development financing and the approval process has been lengthened because of the pandemic.
In December 2019 East Carolina University approved a 65-year lease of a university parking lot property at the corner of Fourth and Reade streets to Daly Seven Inc. of Greensboro for the construction of a university-themed hotel.
Outgoing vice chancellor of administration and finance Sara Thorndike said the project is still planned but has been placed on hold as the developers focused on other things during the pandemic.
In August, the city council approved selling two lots of Evans Street to Greenville Ventures so the company can build a hotel. The deal also included an arrangement where the city will lease space in the Fourth Street Parking Deck to the hotel.
The Stark Group has partnered with hospitality providers Ratio Architects of Raleigh; Hamel Builders, Elkridge, Maryland; Interior Image Group, Dyer, Indiana; Cornerstone Hospitality, Williamsburg, Virginia; Cana Development, Baltimore; Rochelle Brown with Rex Hospitality, Greenville; and Heart+Matter Brands, Richmond, Virginia.
“We love Greenville, and we’re proud of our community. Our families are from here, and we’re excited to be a part of telling the story of our past and being part of creating future growth in Greenville for many years to come,” said Edwin Clark. “We’re dedicated to providing a place for people to connect to each other, being of service to the visiting public and the Greenville community, and supporting culture and art while also helping to contribute to a better quality of life for everyone.”