Conway leaders look at offering unprecedented incentives to attract hotels

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Providing more places for your loved ones to stay while they are in town, Conway city leaders want to see more hotels open up in the River City.

Conway isn’t trying to compete with the beach, but there are not many options for people visiting relatives or for family members of CCU students.

A lot of these, in fact, are either motels or Airbnbs, without much in between.

City leaders took the first step to see that change in the years to come.

“I support this, and I think that it’s a good start,” said Alex Hyman, Conway city councilmember.

The Conway City Council has spent years trying to find ways of putting more heads in beds.

In the past few years, the city has removed parking requirements for hotels, started allowing commercial short-term rentals, like those going up on Third Avenue downtown, and incentives for renovating vacant buildings.

However, the city is yet to see a large hotel commit, so they’re taking those incentives to the next level with property tax reimbursement, hospitality tax reimbursement, and even speeding up approval periods.

“A lot of times [for] developers, time is money, and if they can get something reviewed quicker, they prefer that to an incentive in some cases,” said Mary Catherine Hyman, the deputy city administrator for Conway.

The new incentives would not just be for downtown, but anywhere within city limits.

However, police would prefer for it not to include motels.

“When you have the hotel, the dynamic of going inside, checking in, people watching the property, better oversight of it,” said Dale Long, the Conway police chief. “It just works and tends to have a little better security.”

Motels would not be banned by any means, just would not receive those tax credits.

This idea will get some tweaks and will likely be back for a public hearing and vote in a few weeks.

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