Opry is sole proposal

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — All proposals for developing 91 acres of Carroll-owned land near the Interstate 77-U.S. 58 interchange were due in the county administrator’s office last Thursday at 5 p.m.

When asked by The Gazette how many proposals they had received after the deadline, county officials pointed to a sole white, sealed cardboard package sitting on a desk.

The box was hand-delivered by Marshall Lineberry of Weststar Investments, a partner in the effort to bring a 24,744-square-foot, state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar music venue called the Mayberry Opry Theater to the area as a part of a larger development.

The proposal includes a micro-business park, a 100,000-square-foot outlet mall and a five-story hotel.

This response from the lone developer is consistent with the level of interest shown in the past. When Carroll officials gave a tour of the land involved — the site of the old social services building and the recreation park off Farmers Market Road — only Lineberry showed up.

County officials did not immediately open Lineberry’s submission on Thursday.

County Administrator Gary Larrowe has indicated that a behind-the-scenes review by the Carroll Industrial Development Authority, which controls the county land, and negotiations between the landowner and the developer might be needed before the proposal is made public.

In announcing the request for development plans, the IDA signaled that county officials wanted to see plans that would boost local business, jobs, revenue and attractiveness of Exit 14 off Interstate 77 to tourists and travelers.

"The IDA is interested in the development of the property in a manner which will enhance the local and regional economy by providing employment opportunities, increase the tax base of the county and become a destination for visitors that will enhance our tourism initiatives," according to the IDA's request for bids, which was advertised in Virginia and North Carolina.

The request for proposals also asked about the developers’ phasing plans, the price for the land, the nature of guarantees offered on the project and financial proof of a party’s ability to perform.

The authority members reserved the right to accept or reject any or all of the plans and to negotiate the terms of the sale or land lease further.