The Village of Pinehurst approved a financial incentive package, making way for the Pinehurst Resort to build a new hotel on the grounds of the Pinehurst Country Club, but not before passionate residents and club members voiced their concerns about losing amenities and a shortage of parking.
During a public hearing Tuesday, the Village Council approved a 10-year agreement that would see a 90% reduction in property taxes on the new hotel as incentives to the Pinehurst LLC, in exchange for building a $16.2 million, 36-room hotel, and employing 20 full-time employees.
The construction of a new hotel and supporting facilities is said to be in support of the United States Golf Association (USGA) commitment to hosting five Men’s U.S. Open Championships in the Village of Pinehurst into the year 2047.
In September of this year, the USGA and the Village announced plans to establish a second headquarters in Pinehurst. Called Golf House Pinehurst, it will include an $18 million equipment-testing facility, innovation hub, museum/visitor center and offices by the year 2023. Those plans also came with local and state economic incentives.
The planned site for the new hotel is the 1.2-acre croquet lawns adjacent to the Cradle Short Course. Since the area is currently used by Pinehurst Country Club members and guests, it has sparked concerns over plans to relocate the courts.
Longtime Pinehurst resident and club member, Jim Spoonhour, noted that Pinehurst has one of the top five croquet clubs in the country.
“We have international tournaments with players from the United Kingdom coming here for the Solomon Cup to play the American team,” said Spoonhour. “We have regional tournaments. We have state championships. We have played the Pinehurst Invitational Tournament every September for 30 times now.”
When Spoonhour pressed for assurances that the croquet lawns would be replaced, Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley said the resort would go through a process of identifying possible locations.
“We would certainly like to relocate both the potential tennis that is being displaced as a result of USGA facility and the croquet lawns,” said Pashley. “We have a variety of options. We understand the concerns and appreciate the traditions of the croquet club, respect the history. It may be in a different place, but it will continue to exist and thrive.”
Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley addresses the Village Council.
Another Pinehurst resident, Debbie Laler, spoke of the need for ample parking. Laler cited the recently opened Pinehurst Brewery as an example of inadequate parking.
“The result was cars and trucks parked up and down the length of Magnolia Road and overflowing onto streets and residential areas,” said Laler.
As part of the incentive agreement, the Pinehurst Resort and the Village have agreed that they will continue in good faith to attempt to negotiate a separate agreement to address long-term parking needs at the Carolina Hotel and various other locations within the Village and the Pinehurst Resort.
“I think we can work together on all of it,” said Councilmember Kevin Drum. “We are too small of a Village to not come to terms with this. I think we have to have faith in each other right now. We have to agree to solve this issue, and if we agree we can solve it.”
The Pinehurst Resort currently operates three different hotels, Carolina Hotel, The Holly Inn and The Manor. They also provide guest accommodations at the Carolina Villas and various condominiums in Pinehurst. In total, 400 guest rooms operate under their management.
Plans for the new hotel to be opened before March 1, 2024.
Feature photo: Longtime Pinehurst resident and club member, Jim Spoonhour, speaks to the Village Council.
~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.