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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Brevard gets $30.1 million project that promises to connect guests with nature

Imagine lavish treehouse rental cabins, an adventure concierge service and on-site hiking trails, and that’s some of ideas behind a $30.1 million investment Pisgah Hospitality announced it would be making in the city of Brevard.

“We’re not re-inventing the hotel space, but the focus will be on nature, sustainability and authentic outdoor experiences,” says Brice Bay, a partner with the Greenville, South Carolina-based development group. “We’re going to connect people to the natural environment, but do it from a luxury home base.”

Brevard Staytion – the extra “y” part of a branding campaign not yet launched – has been under development since early 2022, with Pisgah Hospitality acquiring a 15-acre property along the Asheville Highway. The project plans to break ground early next year with an opening in 2026.

“We’ll develop that property almost like a botanical garden feel,” Bay says.

Brevard Staytion will offer 54 rooms, including a 36-room lodge, treehouse rental cabins and indoor and outdoor event and entertainment venues. Rooms will go from $400 to $500 a night when Brevard Staytion opens, although that price is expected to increase over time. “We’ll have to do our work to earn that from other customers,” Bay says. “There’s a significant opportunity to amp up the experiences our customers can have.”

Transylvania County is often called “Land of Waterfalls” for its 250 waterfalls in the county. It also has DuPont State Park and Pisgah National Forest. A $55 million, 20-mile greenway, which will be known as the Ecusta Trail, is now under construction between the mountain towns of Brevard and Hendersonville. Those nearby amenities – which lead to mountain climbing, bicycling and hiking – come with the property, says Bay. “It’s just a unique place and for some reason no one has ever developed a higher end place there before,” says Bay.

Artist rendering of lodge and greenspace at Brevard Staytion, a $30.1 million project planned for Transylvania County.

The adventure concierge service, Bay says, will connect guests with fly fishing guides, hiking guides or even a waiting four-course lunch after guests ascend a mountain. “It will be whatever people dream up that they want to do,” Bay says.

Tourists spent more than $188 million in Transylvania County last year, says Jason Chappell, chair of the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners. He sees Brevard Staytion as adding to the county’s brand as a destination hub. The tourism industry employs more than 1,100 people in Transylvania County and contributed almost $50 million in annual payroll last year, says Brian Traylor, chair of the Transylvania Economic Alliance board. Traylor says the project plays to the county’s strengths. Transylvania County gave Pisgah Hospitality almost $764,000 in economic incentives for the project, The Transylvania Times reported.

Brevard Staytion will be managed by Compo Hotels, which already manages The Station, a group of eight cottages in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, and located along Greenville County’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 19.9-mile multi-use rail trail. A different group of investors launched that project in September 2022, Bay says, as part of a “proof of concept” that the Brevard Staytion plan would work.

The Station – with no extra y – has “gone extremely well,” Bay says. The Brevard Staytion is a much larger project both in cost and size, he says.

Brevard Staytion will hire a core group of at least five employees who will earn at a minimum $80,000 a year, according to a release from the Transylvania Economic Alliance. Bay says they’ll probably hire more, and contract with “hundreds of people in the community.” Transylvania Economic Alliance estimates the project will have a $53 million economic impact on the community, which would include Brevard Staytion’s estimated first year revenue of $9 million.

Guests will check in and check out of Brevard Staytion using technology rather than someone at a front desk like a traditional hotel, Bay says. Rooms will be customized to what guests say they want before their arrivals. “This will be different than most hotel experiences,” Bay says.

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