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Hotel being built in downtown Winston-Salem sold before it opens

A downtown Winston-Salem hotel property — a five-story, 126-room Courtyard by Marriott at 640 W. Fourth St. — has been sold by its developer before its opening.

The property was sold Aug. 14 for $8.48 million by CCW Hospitality LLC of Winston-Salem, according to a Forsyth County Register of Deeds filing.

Construction began in November 2017 for what is projected to be an $18 million project located between Foothills Brewery and the Center City West parking deck.

It was scheduled to debut in the summer of 2019, but is now on track for a December debut.

The hotel developers are Commercial Realty Advisors LLC of Winston-Salem and Clarendon Properties of Wilmington. Their plans have been to build a hotel that is “architecturally designed to complement adjacent properties and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The buyer is Virtua Winston-Salem Hotel LLC, an affiliate of Virtua Partners, a private-equity real-estate firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Wednesday, John Reece II, managing partner with Commercial Realty Advisors said the sale “was a very difficult decision due to how well the development process has gone to date and the quality project that will be delivered this December.”

“At the end of the day, we have a number of projects in the pipeline and this will provide the capital to pursue those new opportunities,” he said.

Virtua could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

The hotel will feature a full-service restaurant and bar, swimming pool, fitness center, 2,000-square-foot courtyard and more than 1,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

The 750-space public parking deck will serve as its main accommodation for guests.

Part of the groundwork for the project came in March 2016 when the Winston-Salem City Council approved the sale of the parking deck to the City Center West Associates LLC for $2.3 million. Reece also serves as managing partner of the LLC.

Renovations at the parking deck include a fence around the deck’s ground level; gates and card-access stairwells; entry and pavement systems for credit and debit card payments for daily and hourly parking; and new LED lighting and security cameras.

John Sandlin, president of Clarendon Properties, said in October 2017 that “The Courtyard by Marriott is the premier select service hotel brand and will truly complement the location and downtown Winston-Salem.”

The Courtyard by Marriott will join recently completed downtown projects such as the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel and Hotel Indigo in the Pepper Building, as well as renovations to the Embassy Suites and downtown Marriott in Twin City Quarter. Downtown’s Hampton Inn and Suites is due to be complete next month.

Jason Thiel, president of Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, said in October 2017 the Courtyard project “is yet another indicator of the area’s growth and desirability as a destination spot.”

Mayor Allen Joines said the Courtyard by Marriott “will facilitate our ability to attract meetings and corporate travelers to our city.”

Foothills Brewery founder Jamie Bartholomaus said on October 2017 that the hotel project helped clinch his company’s decision to invest in a new coffee shop, bar and event space connected to the brewpub.


Z-no-digital
After long search for a kidney, Winston-Salem man with end-stage kidney failure finds a donor — his dentist

For most, visiting the dentist isn’t the most pleasant experience, but for Matthew Errett, it may very well be what saves his life.

After a yearlong search for a kidney donor and a battle with end-stage kidney failure, Errett will receive a kidney today from his dentist of 13 years.

“I didn’t expect the surgery to happen so soon, but I’m excited about getting off dialysis and living my life,” said Errett, 25, who found out about the surgery last week. “I’m just surprised he turned out to be the one for me. It’s very nice and generous.”

During a dental appointment earlier this year, Dr. Dan Driscoll learned that he and Errett had the same blood type and began clipping out articles published in the Winston-Salem Journal about Errett’s need for a donor.

Errett — who contracted the E. coli bacteria at a Winston-Salem day-care, necessitating a kidney transplant when he was 2 years old — began searching for a new kidney last year after his kidney declined to about 10% functionality.

As donors for Errett continued to fall through — with one scheduled transplant surgery derailed by the donor developing kidney stones — Driscoll decided to get tested in July to see if he was a match.

“Matthew was very blessed to get a kidney when he was 2 years old, and we’re equally blessed about this happening,” said his father, Greg Errett, who was ruled out as a donor for his son and who has been a patient of Driscoll’s for 20 years. “Dr. Driscoll already knew about dialysis and what it’s like to not be able to give a kidney to someone you love.”

Pay-it-forward

Driscoll’s decision to donate was rooted in his own experience watching his 79-year-old father, John, deteriorate with kidney disease and search for a donor.

Driscoll, a father of three, was tested last year but was not a match for his father, who has Type O blood.

He said he hopes his pay-it-forward gesture in donating to Errett will inspire someone to do the same for his father.

“God graced me with two wonderful healthy kidneys, and every life experience has brought me to this point,” Driscoll, 51, said. “I’d like to think I was this really heroic human being, that even if my dad wasn’t on dialysis that I’d be stepping up to give Matthew a kidney, but I’m human and selfish like anyone else.”

Driscoll said he doesn’t want his benevolence to be interpreted as heroic and only hopes his donation will bring awareness to the need for living organ donors.

More than 100,000 patients in the United States are on the kidney-transplant list, but the number of kidneys available for transplant each year — through dead and living donors — hovers around 20,000, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

The average wait time for a donated kidney is about 31/2 years, but many patients don’t have time to wait.

The same day Driscoll was determined to be a match, Errett’s friend died of kidney failure.

“My dad is already thinking he won’t get one and says he’s lived a good life,” said Driscoll, who works at Enlighten Dental Care. “Seeing my dad suffering does not feel good.”

Driscoll encouraged people to consider donating, noting that the transplant recipient’s insurance pays for the procedure and that as a donor, should he ever need a kidney, he would be bumped to the top of the list.

Today’s surgery will require only a one-night stay in the hospital for Driscoll: a small price to pay for the better quality of life Errett will receive, he said.

Driscoll said he has watched his father struggle with dialysis since June 2018 and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“Dialysis isn’t a death sentence, but it’s not a spa treatment either,” he said. “It’s like having to get the oil on your car changed three times a week and then sitting in isolation and being really tired.”

‘Get back

to living my life’

Errett is well-versed in the hardship of dialysis and has been undergoing hemodialysis, a process that cleans his blood, every other night for the past few months.

Not having to partake in the grueling 41/2-hour process and dealing with the ensuing fatigue is one of the many perks of getting a new kidney.

“My first goal after surgery is just to get well, get out of the hospital and then, after recovery, get back to living my life,” said Errett, who became legally blind at age 8 after complications from anti-rejection medications. “It might not be a big deal to a lot of people, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to go to the Asheville Pinball Museum.”

Errett said he plans to make the best of the new kidney by reenrolling at Winston-Salem State University after having to take a semester off during dialysis.

He hopes to get involved in the university’s theater productions and dreams of one day opening a jazz dinner club in Winston-Salem or pursuing an acting career, he said.

His mother, Carmen Caruth, said she is grateful to Driscoll and all the people who were tested as possible matches.

“The response has been unreal. People we didn’t even know were reaching out to get tested,” Caruth said.

“It really has opened my eyes to the depth of compassion that people have and the level of generosity that there is out there.”

The many people who were not a match for her son could be the match someone else needs to live or get back to normalcy, she said.

While a kidney transplant is not a forever-solution for Errett, it is expected to last about 10 years, she said, adding that his first kidney donation lasted him almost 23 years.

“It feels like this has been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s a good happy ending to a long journey.”


Andrew Dye/Journal  

Dr. Dan Driscoll (left), a dentist, will be donating a kidney to Matthew Errett, who has been his patient for 13 years.


Business
Wake Forest Baptist confirms no plans to sell assets in Atrium partnership

The affiliation negotiations between Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Atrium Health will not end with a sale or merger, according to Wake Forest Baptist’s top High Point executive.

The systems announced April 10 they had signed a memorandum of understanding “to create a next-generation academic health-care system.”

Highlighted in the potential partnership is the opening of a second Wake Forest School of Medicine campus in Charlotte — a long-sought goal of Atrium officials and Charlotte civic and elected officials.

“Obviously, we are having discussions with Atrium about a partnership, but it has nothing to do with an acquisition or merger. That’s not what’s happening,” Dr. James Hoekstra, president of High Point Medical Center, told the High Point Enterprise.

Hoekstra also serves as associate dean of clinical and academic network development for Wake Forest Baptist.

“The actual agreement we are looking at is really closer to an affiliation than anything else,” Hoekstra said. “Wake Forest is never going to be bought.”

Terry Williams, chief strategy officer for Wake Forest Baptist, said Wednesday in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal that “assets are not going to change hands in terms of selling” between Wake Forest Baptist and Atrium.

“Some of what was said I would have articulated differently, but it’s not easy to put a term on the hybrid relationship we are forming with Atrium. There’s not one like it in the region.

“There will be partnering with certain levels of integration.”

Wake Forest Baptist acquired the High Point hospital in August 2018 from UNC Health Care. Atrium and UNC Health ended a few months earlier their high-profile attempt to merge.

Williams said Hoekstra’s comments were addressing primarily where High Point Medical Center fits in the Wake Forest Baptist-Atrium negotiations.

“There are no plans, no discussions at all about changing ownership in High Point,” Williams said.

Williams said the two systems plan to disclose more details about their partnership in the coming weeks.

Wake Forest Baptist has said the medical school board and management would remain in place and that the medical school and main campus would remain in Winston-Salem. Although the groups have not set a deadline for formalizing a collaborative agreement, the goal is to debut the Charlotte medical school campus in 2021 or 2022.

The open-ended nature of negotiating a potential medical partnership between Wake Forest University and Atrium has raised concerns about the future of Wake Forest Baptist and its medical school in Winston-Salem.

The local concern about the Charlotte campus is that it could eventually draw resources from the Winston-Salem campus or even lure the medical school itself from Winston-Salem. Wake Forest Baptist is the largest employer in Forsyth County with more than 13,000 workers.

Baptist officials have said such scenarios were speculative and not based in fact.

The groups said in a question-and-answer post April 10 that “the goal is that upon signing a definitive agreement together, Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest University will immediately convene a team to start the work of bringing a modern, innovative, cost-effective and sustainable top-20 school of medicine to the Charlotte area.”

However, the groups have not ruled out a much larger collaboration during their period of exclusive negotiations.

On Aug. 14, key Atrium Health executives and board directors toured Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem and the more than $700 million in capital investments. The Atrium team was led by chief executive Eugene Woods.

“It’s incredible what you have built here and what you have in motion,” said Edward Brown III, Atrium’s chairman. “If we don’t take advantage of this opportunity, we’ve blown it.

“We’re confident that the leadership team here (in Winston-Salem) and in Charlotte will be able to take the best from both systems for the upmost benefit of both of our communities.”


Local
Cooper vetoes legislation that requires N.C. sheriffs to honor ICE detainers on jail inmates who might be in U.S. illegally

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill passed by the N.C. General Assembly that would force North Carolina’s 100 sheriffs to comply with detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on jail inmates who are suspected of being in the country illegally.

“This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina,” Cooper, who previously was the N.C. attorney general, said in a statement. “As the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status.

“This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties,” Cooper said. “Finally, to elevate their partisan political pandering, the legislature has made a sheriff’s violation of this new immigration duty as the only specifically named duty violation that can result in a sheriff’s removal from office.”

Cooper returned to the bill to the clerk of the N.C. House, which had voted 62-53 Tuesday to approve the legislation, House Bill 370.

ICE detainers can keep people in jail for longer than they would normally would be, based on their charges.

Among Forsyth County’s legislative delegation in Raleigh, state Reps. Debra Conrad, Donny Lambeth and Lee Zachary, all Republicans, voted for the legislation. State Reps. Evelyn Terry and Derwin Montgomery as well as state Sen. Paul Lowe, all Democrats, voted against the bill.

The N.C. Senate voted 25-18 on June 24 to approve an amended version of the bill. State Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, was absent and didn’t cast a ballot on the legislation.

The legislation outlines a process in which a judge or magistrate would order whether an inmate should be held on the detainer request based on whether the inmate is the same person identified in an ICE request.

Under the legislation, the inmate could be held for up to 48 hours after a prisoner would otherwise be qualified for release on bond. The bill would allow a Superior Court judge to remove a sheriff or police officer who didn’t follow the legislation’s provisions and failed cooperate with ICE agents.

Krawiec said Wednesday that she had left the Senate chamber on June 24 to present one of her bills to a House committee and missed the Senate vote on HB370.

Krawiec said she supports the legislation.

“This bill simply requires sheriffs to do their job and comply with ICE detainers,” she said in an email. “Almost all of the sheriffs in our state are already complying. This bill would treat illegal immigrants the same way citizens are treated who are in our jails.

“I am disappointed that the governor has chosen to side with criminals instead of choosing law and order and the safety of our citizens,” Krawiec said. “He has proven himself to be a ‘sanctuary governor’ and that is not in the best interests of North Carolina.”

Lowe said he shares Cooper’s concerns about the bill and supports the governor’s veto.

Lowe said he particularly dislikes the bill’s provision that sheriffs could be removed from office for not complying with the legislation.

“All of the sheriffs want to keep us protected,” Lowe said.

Zachary questioned whether Cooper had read the bill.

“If he has read the bill, he would see that it requires sheriffs to see if there is a detainer for a defendant before the defendant is released, possibly to never show up again for court,” Zachary said. The bill “may not be perfect, but it is aimed at those sheriff’s that ‘thumb their noses’ at immigration laws.”

Conrad, Lambeth, Terry, and Montgomery couldn’t be reached Wednesday for comment.

Republican legislators maintain the bill would protect public safety and that it targets jail inmates who have been charged with crimes and who are living in the U.S. illegally.

Several Republican House members have pointed to the case of Oscar Pacheco Leonardo, 33, who was arrested in Charlotte on June 14 on charges of first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor. He was deported in July 2006, officials said, but later re-entered the country, a felony under federal law.

Upon his arrest, ICE issued an immigration detainer — a request from the agency to hold him in jail until ICE officers could assume custody. But two days later, on June 16, Pacheco was released from the Mecklenburg County jail after posting a $100,000 bond. ICE officers arrested him directly on Aug. 9.

Sheriff Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County said that Pacheco’s release from jail was consistent with his policies. McFadden was elected in November 2018 as he campaigned on a platform of ignoring these voluntary ICE detainer requests

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said that Leonardo’s release from the jail was an outrage.

“This is bigger than politics, this is about public safety,” Moore said in a statement.

“And while I am not surprised the governor decided to veto it, I am immensely disappointed.”

Democratic legislators say the bill is unconstitutional and unnecessary and would keep undocumented immigrants who are crime victims from reporting offenses to law-enforcement agencies.

Civil rights groups and immigrant advocacy organizations also oppose the legislation, saying that it’s unconstitutional and unfairly targets urban black sheriffs who have said they will not work with ICE agents in their counties.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina praised Cooper for vetoing the bill.

“House Bill 370 seeks to undo the will of voters across the state by forcing democratically elected sheriffs to do ICE’s bidding and help the Trump administration carry out its brutal deportation agenda,” said Alissa Ellis, the ACLU’s regional immigrants’ rights strategist.

Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. of Forsyth County opposes the bill but has said he would comply with the legislation if it became law.

“The three criteria I use to weigh my decisions are: Is it moral? Is it legal? And is it right?,” Kimbrough said Wednesday. “In light of those three questions, I did not agree with the proposed bill and I support the governor’s decision.

“In the county of Forsyth,” Kimbrough said, “we will continue to treat every person who lives here with respect. We will provide the highest level of service and protection, as we have always done.”