Dalton businessman Kasey Carpenter said he expects “to begin moving some dirt in the next two weeks” at the site of a hotel he plans to develop in downtown Dalton.
Both the Dalton Board of Education and the Dalton City Council voted Monday to approve an agreement that will provide almost $1 million in tax increment financing for the hotel. The school board vote was 5-0. The council voted 3-0 to approve the deal. Mayor David Pennington was absent, and council member Annalee Sams presided over the meeting as mayor pro tem and did not vote.
“I think this will be good for the city, good for downtown,” said council member Dennis Mock. “It will bring people downtown, people who aren’t from Dalton, and they can see all that is going on.”
“I’m excited,” said Carpenter. “This is something we’ve been planning for a while, and I’m glad we can move ahead.”
The hotel, named The Carpentry, is planned for the site of a former bank building at the corner of the 200 block of West Cuyler Street opposite of both of Carpenter’s restaurants, The Oakwood Cafe and Cherokee Brewing + Pizza Company. Carpenter had originally planned to renovate the bank building, but he said as he got further into planning he found it made more sense to tear the building down and construct a new building. The bank that stood at that site was the Community and Southern Bank.
The hotel will be a “boutique” hotel, smaller and more intimate with an eye on design, with more expensive furnishings and decorations.
Carpenter said he is partnering with Steve Herndon, a Dalton businessman who owns and operates hotels across the Southeast, on the project.
The property, which is now an empty lot, is currently assessed at $90,000. But if the hotel project is completed its estimated assessed value would be $9.7 million.
Because the project is in the downtown tax allocation district (TAD), it is eligible for tax increment financing. TADs freeze the value at which a property can be taxed for general revenue. Taxes collected on additional value created by improvements to the property are dedicated to pay for infrastructure, public artwork or other amenities to attract a developer or developers to that area.
In December 2018 Carpenter reached an agreement with the city and the school system to finance the hotel. That agreement called for Carpenter to finish the hotel on or before Dec. 31, 2019. Since Carpenter did not finish the hotel by that date, the deal expired and Carpenter had to apply for a new deal.
Carpenter said if all goes according to plan the hotel could be open by the middle of 2023.
Voters in 2014 gave the City Council the authority to create TADs. The City Council has created four. The others are the Hammond Creek area around the north bypass and Pleasant Grove Drive, the area around Dalton Mall and the West Walnut Avenue/Market Street area.
Whitfield County voters rejected TADs that year and again in 2021, but under state law the county has the right to join in city TADs if the county commissioners believe that is in the public interest. The county participates in Dalton’s TADs around the Dalton Mall and the downtown business district, which were created in 2018, and Hammond Creek, which was created in 2020.