Cobblestone hotel project in Elizabethton up for approval next week

Plans for a new hotel in Elizabethton are continuing along, and once the incentives documents release, construction permits and details can start developing.

City Planner Jon Hartman said the new Cobblestone Hotel will come up behind the Bojangles on Elk Avenue, next to the car wash near Walmart. The project is part of the city and county’s new tax increment financing agreement, which is meant to encourage economic development in the region.

“We have been working on this for about three or four years,” Hartman said.

A new hotel means a couple different things, he said, including addition hotel/motel tax revenue and potential property value increases in the long-term.

The hotel will provide an experience different from other hotels, Hartman said, both in its quality and its price.

“The price point will not be something a middle-class family could not afford,” he said.

Right now, the development agreement requires the Planning Commission’s approval. An economic impact assessment returned positive results, and once the Planning Commission approves the development contract, Cobblestone can then apply for construction permits and begin in earnest.

He said while a new hotel does not immediately bring in additional tourism revenue, he said the hotel will be a “contributor,” since many current tourists will simply choose to rent a room in Elizabethton instead of Johnson City like many already do.

“It is good to finally see it come to fruition,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like you are working towards nothing.”

However, as news about the project continue to spread, he said he wanted to make one caveat of the project clear.

“People need to understand a hotel is not the end all be all of tourism,” Hartman said. “We still have a long way to go on tourism.”

He said the hotel’s benefits will be evident when the rest of the city and county work together to better promote what they have.

“We still have to work to make Elizabethton and Carter County attractive to tourists,” Hartman said.

After all, he said, hotels do not mean much if there is no reason to stick around.

“People come for your amenities,” he said.

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