Mountain Inn property under contract in downtown Fayetteville

A “for sale” sign stands in front of the Mountain Inn property along College Avenue.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer staff

One of the most prominent pieces of vacant property in Fayetteville may soon have a new owner.

The old Mountain Inn property, located at the gateway to the Fayetteville square on College Avenue between Mountain and Center streets, is under contract with a buyer.

Ramsay Ball, principal at commercial real estate firm Collier’s International and listing agent for the property, confirmed Thursday that his client has accepted an offer on the 1.02-acre site. The offer does have some contingencies, Ball confirmed, but he also said he was confident that the buyer was motivated to move quickly.

“They’re going through their due diligence right now,” he said. “It’s a good buyer, though, and I expect them to move pretty fast.”

Ball is representing property owners Bank of Fayetteville, who paid $1.25 million for the site after it was foreclosed upon in October.

The site has an interesting history.

The property was once home to the Mountain Inn, a 95-room hotel at the corner of College and Mountain Street. It was expanded in the 1960s from its original location on Center Street to include retail space and a lobby on the first floor, a six-story parking garage, and a third-floor outdoor swimming pool with views of the Boston Mountains to the southeast.

The hotel was closed in 1998, and sat empty for several years until local developers John Nock and Richard Alexander proposed building an 18-story hotel called Renaissance Tower on the property.

In 2005, the Fayetteville City Council formed the state’s first TIF (tax-increment financing) district, a taxpayer-backed financing mechanism that borrowed against anticipated property tax growth in the district in order to pay for the demolition of the Mountain Inn. In return, Nock and Alexander were to build the downtown hotel by September 2007.

Once the building was demolished, however, the hotel never got off the ground. A construction crane towered over a gaping, fenced-in hole for about two years before a parking lot was finally built over the site.

The project was ultimately abandoned due to lack of financing, resulting in the developers paying $300,000 in damages to the city for not fulfilling their commitment.

The property is listed for $1.275 million. The purchase price won’t be made public until the sale is final, and Ball declined to comment on a closing date.