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WHDA will assist city with grant-related work

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, will consider approving a grant agreement related to the conversion of the former Bank of America building into a micro-distillery, restaurant and boutique hotel.

The council, according to its tentative agenda for the meeting, is scheduled to consider adopting a related grant-project ordinance and authorize the mayor to sign a related subrecipient agreement with The Hackney Distillery LLC and an administrative-services agreement with the Washington Harbor District Alliance. The subrecipient agreement makes The Hackney Distillery LLC responsible for any money that would be returned to the state if grant-agreement conditions are not met. Under the administrative-services agreement, WHDA would assist the city with grant reporting, requisition and financial-tracking requirements related to the grant, but WHDA would not be paid for that work.

A little more than a month ago, the effort to revitalize downtown Washington received a boost when a $200,000 grant was awarded to help with converting the former Bank of America building into a mixed-use enterprise.

The grant comes from the Main Street Solutions Fund, an economic-development program within the N.C. Department of Commerce. It will be used to assist The Hackney Distillery LLC (owners Nick and Suzanne Sanders) in the first phase of rehabilitating the former bank building, into a distillery, destination restaurant and boutique hotel. A future second phase, not funded by this grant, will help to construct 14 boutique hotel rooms on the second and third floors.

Nick Sanders, who recently moved from London to Washington with his wife, Suzanne, told the council in December that growth of the distillery and micro-distillery industry is a “global trend.” Sanders said he is ready to commit $775,000 in addition to grant funding to rehabilitate the former bank building. He also said The Hackney Distillery LLC would provide any matching funds the grant agreement would require.

Additionally, Hackney Distillery LLC is seeking a Smart Communities ElectriCities Economic Development Grant. Such grants require matching funds. Usually, eligible communities receive up to $4,000 in grant funds for projects, but this year they could receive up to $10,000. Washington plans to use a $10,000 grant from the N.C. Commerce Department as the local match required by the Smart Communities grant contract.

“Participants in the grant are eligible to receive matching funds to be used for specific economic development projects. The structure is currently undergoing an adaptive reuse process in order become a distillery, restaurant and boutique hotel,” wrote John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural services, in a memorandum sent earlier this year to the mayor and City Council.

The city would seek the grant on behalf of Hackney Distillery LLC. Grant applications are reviewed regularly and awards made when applications are approved.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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