A Raleigh-based real estate company has taken the first steps to building Zebulon’s first hotel.
Skybridge Group, LLC submitted an application for a special use permit to the town on June 11 and the town plans to hold a public hearing about the project on July 14.
Jerry Thomas, who made the application on behald of Skybridge, manages development of major hotel chains like Hiltons, Marriotts and Holiday Inns.
But Zebulon’s potential hotel will have less to offer than those major chains.
“It’s a completely new chain that we have formed that addresses the smaller markets that cannot afford (bigger hotels),” Thomas said.
The group’s proposed hotel woud be a two-story, 40-unit hotel called Beacon Inn. It would be a ‘business motel,’ with no lounge, restaurant, conference room or other amenities, but all rooms would have to be accessed from the inside like higher-end hotels.
“(Beacon Inn will be) a no-frills type of facility that addresses (a need),” Thomas said. “While it’s a smaller hotel … the rooms’ décor have not been sacrificed at all.”
Skybridge is looking to place the hotel directly behind the Dash-In on Arendell Avenue and across Pearces Road from Sheetz, on one acre of land currently owned by Zebulon residents Chad and Betty Ray.
The hotel is, according to documents in the permit application, providing a “much needed facility responding to a pent up demand for accommodation of the business and traveling public to Zebulon.”
Thomas said that means it will provide a place for the various people needed to help with new industry, like the new BB&T data center on Arendell Avenue, and there are always relatives who may need to come to town to visit.
“If none of this other new development was going on, there would stll be enough demand for the Beacon Inn,” he said. “In light of all the other activity occuring, it’s a slam dunk.”
There is definitely enough development and visitors to the town that a hotel could easily turn a “nice” profit for owners, he said.
“(The Beacon Inn) just allows a couple, for example, to go in there and run that hotel with very little help,” he said. “So they can rent the rooms for a lot less money and still make a very nice profit and give a market like Zebulon … their first motel.”
Thomas said the Rays are not involved in the project aside from selling their land to his company. Wake County real estate records show the land is valued at $261,360. The sale to Skybridge has not been finalized.
Thomas said the company looked at other areas in Zebulon to build the hotel, but the Rays’ land was the most affordable and made the most financial sense.
He said other parcels of land were too expensive and it would not allow hotel managers and owners to set rates competitively.