After six years of waiting, Benson town officials are thrilled to announce a new Hampton Inn will be built on the vacant parcel near Interstate 95 that once hosted the Dutch Inn.
The Benson Town Hall conference room was packed with local officials and business leaders Thursday afternoon, all present in response to an invitation to an economic development press conference issued by Benson Town Manager Matt Zapp. Mr. Zapp’s invitation promising news regarding “exciting investments slated for the Town of Benson,” lived up to its expectations.
“There are those of us in Benson who have waited to see this day come for a long time,” said Mayor William Massengill. “This has really been an effort of what government, the private sector and non-profits can do working together to try to make something good happen. We don’t want to be the biggest — we don’t claim to be the biggest — but, we want to be the best. And that whole notion of being the best small town in North Carolina I think really goes strongly as we look at this.”
Following a presentation by the mayor, which included promotional videos about the town’s assets and growth potential, Mr. Massengill introduced Adam Leath.
Mr. Leath is the managing director for Leath Co. — a family owned and operated Virginia based company that has been in business since 1994. The company, which has experience in commercial land development with a focus on hotel/motel development in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, purchased the land where Benson’s Dutch Inn once stood. The $760,000 deal for the 4.86-acre tract off South Walton Avenue, near Interstate 95, was completed last February.
Mr. Leath thanked city officials for their cooperation in making the new hotel possible.
“The Town of Benson is one of the big reasons why we came here,” he said.
According to Mr. Leath, construction of the new 88-room facility is expected to begin in November, with an opening planned for the fall of 2017. The hotel will include eight suites, an outdoor pool and fire pit and a 1,000-square-foot meeting space.
Mr. Leath also announced two adjacent out parcels remain available, with the ability to support a roughly 4,000-square-foot quick service restaurant and a 6,000-square-foot full-service restaurant. “We are looking forward to being a great partner to the community,” said Mr. Leath. “We do want to do something that is first class that we can all be proud of.”
Many longtime Benson residents remember the Dutch Inn, a 48-room hotel built in the early 1970s. The facility was top-of-the-line for its time, but became a little more outdated with each passing year until its demolition in 2010.
In March, Benson commissioners approved a town project to upgrade sewer lines and a pump station that serves the old Dutch Inn site. There are also plans for the construction of a proposed dog park adjacent to the hotel site, where locals and travelers alike can allow their dogs to roam off-leash.
According to the Hampton by Hilton website, the first Hampton Inn opened in Memphis, Tenn., in 1984. Hampton Inn was the first mid-price national hotel chain to offer a free continental breakfast and free local phone calls. In 1995, the brand introduced Hampton Inn & Suites. In 1999, Hilton Worldwide acquired Hampton Inn. Courtesy The Daily Record