Public hearings scheduled later this month on development of a more than $100 million mixed use project could help pave the way for a full-service boutique hotel, medical facilities, retail and residential space, and a public park on Lake Gaston.
The development, known as Chateau at the Lake, is planned on some 45 acres at 1876 Eaton Ferry Rd., Littleton. The waterfront site, with a proposed primary entrance on Eaton Ferry Road/Highway 903, would include a five-story boutique hotel including 150 guest rooms and 15,000-square-feet of event space; more than 300 boat slips; condominiums, some with retail, commercial and restaurant space on the first floors; townhomes; active adult apartments; and medical facilities.
Warren County Economic Development Director Stacy Woodhouse said that the development will be able to address the issue of having no medical care available at the lake, which results in some lake residents moving from the area to be closer to medical resources. Medical facilities are expected to include general practice and urgent care, Woodhouse said, and a wellness center possibly added in the future.
Also, having a local hotel will give lake residents a place for visitors to stay that is local, Woodhouse added, rather than visitors having to drive 30 or more minutes away to find accommodations.
The overall development, which is planned to have a public park with water access and a beach, will be a place where everybody comes together, and that is important to developer Robert Shaar, with Optimal Living, LLC, Woodhouse explained.
“He really likes the idea of granting public access,” Woodhouse said, especially since public access points are limited on the Warren County side of Lake Gaston.
Shaar said he fell in love with Lake Gaston when he bought his home from Randall Robinson with Pointe Realty Group and called it a true gem.
Chateau on the Lake, he said, is fashioned after a chateau where he and his wife spent their honeymoon in Montreal, Canada, that mixed country and chic, where people feel comfortable wearing a tux or shorts and a baseball cap, sort of like the vibe at Lake Gaston.
In addition to offering space for weddings and other events, Shaar said that the hotel would generate corporate meetings business in the slower months at the lake—September through March, which would bring spending to other businesses in the area.
The development’s retail spaces would cater to the local population, and the condos would be in the $300,000 range, Shaar said.
One of his goals, he said, was to generate enough profits to give back to the community, the underserved, and continue his philanthropy efforts, which have included a battered women’s home in another area.
Shaar said he wanted to listen to what people in the community want, and that he is big on bringing the community together.
“I’m super excited about this project,” he said. “I love the people and the community.”
Robinson noted the importance of bringing a hotel and medical care to the lake.
“The project will bring urgent care and primary care to the lake,” he said. “You can go to your doctor’s appointment by boat.”
The mixed-use development will also keep spending local.
“This is a proper wedding venue on the water that you can bring hundreds of people to celebrate and not have to stay in South Hill, Roanoke Rapids, or Henderson,” Robinson said. “You can actually stay in the area and shop local and eat local, and that money will stay in the area.”
Robinson said the main thing he’s heard since he can remember is that people can’t stay at Lake Gaston long-term.
“It’s not only bringing a hotel, conference, and convention center. It’s also senior living, which is the most beneficial thing for the area,” he said. “It will bring a wellness center and senior care, so people can finally stay at Lake Gaston and not have to go back to Richmond or Raleigh or wherever they’re from. It’s the perfect marriage of all of it: hotel, convention center, wellness center, and some condos.”
The public hearings, held by the Warren County Board of Adjustment, are set for 6 p.m. on Monday, March 23, at the Warren County Armory Civic Center, 501 US Hwy. 158 business east, Warrenton. One hearing is on a conditional use permit for combining commercial and residential on the same property. The second hearing is on a variance request for exceeding the maximum percentage of land coverage for development.
Following the hearings, the board of adjustment is expected to vote on the issues.