Elizabethton hotel project delayed, but still ‘a go’

Published 8:47 am Monday, May 13, 2019

A hotel project planned for Elizabethton is still in the works, but will be delayed, according to an official with the hotel’s parent company.

Jeremy Griesbach, President of Development for Cobblestone Hotels, told the Elizabethton Star that some investment issues have stalled the project, pushing it back from the planned fall 2019 opening to a projected completion date of Spring 2020.

“We’re still working with a couple of banks, and we hope to have that wrapped up in a couple of months,” Griesbach said. “We’re excited to be in Elizabethton and we didn’t want the delay, but we’re working our way through it.”

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Griesbach confirmed rumors that a group of regional investors in the project pulled out. Forward progress was put on hold as the company looked for the backing needed to complete the project.

“We have the investors we need now, some local and some from out of the area,” Griesbach said. “Now we just need to work out the banking. And, once we start moving dirt, it will only take us eight months to complete the project.”

“When that investor backed out, it left us in limbo,” said Elizabethton Director of Planning and Economic Development Jon Hartman. “The tax increment financing (TIF) had been approved and everything else was coming together. Now it looks like we’re back on course and getting close to having doable timeline. We don’t foresee any other problems going forward.”

The Cobblestone Hotel is set to be the first tangible benefit reaped from the establishment of Elizabethton’s first TIF district. The project was unanimously approved by the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency in September 2018.

Cobblestone Hotels, founded in 2008 and based in Neenah, Wisconsin, is planning to build the 54-room hotel with a pool, complimentary breakfast, wireless internet, daily newspaper and onsite convenience store on Overmountain Drive between Sycamore Shoals Hospital and Walmart.

The Cobblestone Hotel company had a busy year in 2018 and continues its better-than-expected growth in early 2019, exceeding its projection of having 100 hotels by its 10th anniversary. With the acquisition of Key West and Centerstone brands, it added 27 properties to its portfolio. Two months later, the company purchased the Boulders Inn & Suites brand, bringing in 13 more hotels. By the first quarter of 2019, Cobblestone had 140 hotels open or under construction across 27 states.