MOREHEAD CITY - Harborview Towers in Morehead City closed as a long term senior-living facility in August of 2013. Now plans have been announced by a pair of Carteret County investors to turn the building into an upscale, downtown hotel.
Tom Kies, director of the Morehead City Revitalization Association, says the project is a no-brainer. There is currently no lodging anywhere on the Morehead City waterfront and Kies says it's something downtown desperately needs.
"Any downtown redevelopment revolves around a hotel and that's something we've been after for years," said Kies.
But the proposal is getting some push back, mainly from neighboring Harborview Rehabilitation Center, which is connected to the portion of the building where residents used to live. A rehab center spokeswoman says noise, traffic, and the safety of their elderly patients would all be put in jeopardy if a hotel opens next door.
"Our main concern is that we're physically connected. We don't think that a hotel, motel or business connected to a rehab, long term nursing facility is going to work," said Colleen Wells, Marketing Director for the Harborview Rehab Center.
The site is currently zoned for "office professional' development but it would have to be re-zoned for "downtown business" development. The investors have put in a request to the city for the change. Morehead City Planning Director, Linda Staab, says, at the their Tuesday meeting, the board voted to recommend denial of the request to the town board.
"We're not talking about a bar. We're not talking about a tattoo parlor, this would be an upscale boutique hotel. I would be proud to have it it my neighborhood," said Kies.
The planning boards recommendation is no indication of how town council will vote. Council members will consider the proposal at their June 10th meeting.
Kies says he biggest fear if this project doesn't move forward is that the building will sit vacant for years.