Lineberry said he met with partners Bob Melton of RGM Erectors and financial advisor Larry Edwards on Monday morning when the decision to drop the project was made. Lineberry said he called partner group Mended Wings Productions later that day to inform them of the decision.
While many factors played a role in the decision to pull out of Carroll, Lineberry said one of the final straws was one of the tenants pulling out of the project last week because “it has drug out for so long.”
Lineberry’s group was the only interested party to make a proposal to develop the 91-acre county-owned land by the original April deadline. But after public concerns were raised by citizen Mike Goldwasser, Lineberry agreed to scrap his original proposal and suggested the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority extend the deadline another 45 days, the original timeline he was given. The Carroll County IDA ultimately elected to seek a commercial real estate firm to market the land, but Lineberry’s suggested deadline wasn’t followed. After meetings between all parties, county officials met and agreed upon a timeline of April 2009 on whether or not to sell the land.
Lineberry said the long wait ultimately made the project unfeasible in Carroll County,
“I told them time was of the essence and too many things have caught up with us here. We lost one of our tenants that was going to locate here. We can no longer be a part of the project on the 91 acres,” Lineberry said. “Mended Wings was just one entity and we lost one of our tenants because it has drug out so long. They called us last week and said they couldn’t wait any longer. That made two tenants that pulled out, which made it no longer feasible. I had a good mix of businesses that were going to locate out here and support one another. Every business would be connected in one way or other to support each other. You lose a couple of them and you really don’t have anything.”
Lineberry said no one thing led to the end of the project in Carroll County. It was a multitude things added together.
“But you have to use good business sense and go on. I hate it for citizens of Carroll County and those that supported us,” Lineberry said. “It wasn’t our land, we were just trying to buy it. We will have to move on and try to make our projects work someplace else.”
As for the future intentions of Mended Wings Productions, Lineberry said he was unsure of where it may try to build the Mayberry Opry Theater now. It could go towards Northern Virginia or in another direction in Southwest Virginia.
“They do have a couple of options they can explore that has nothing to do with my team,” Lineberry said. “I had a personal interest in making this work in Carroll County and it was such a good fit. We regret it, but there comes a time in every project where you have to use good reason and good business sense and it was time to move on.”
Lineberry said his group gave the project an honorable effort in Carroll County and he has no regrets. He said if he had it to do all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. Still, he said he was surprised at the way the county handled the situation.
“It’s county-owned land and it’s been here for many, many years. I thought they would be delighted, especially when they asked me to make this work out. They brought it to table,” Lineberry said. “I thought we were working on good circumstances, but it turned out to be unusual circumstances. It breaks my heart to get so close to a project that would have worked well in the county and it didn’t happen. All the right elements were here, the support of the majority of the people and the land. It wasn’t going to cost anybody in the community anything and it would have created jobs and tourism. Everything we needed was here and we had the money to build the projects. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
While Lineberry wouldn’t give a name of the tenants that pulled out of the project, the proposed Mayberry Opry project was to include a 100,000-square foot outlet mall as well as a five-story hotel chain. The idea for the Opry itself was to showcase country, gospel and bluegrass music in a nearly 25,000-square foot facility on the site.
Carroll County Administrator Gary Larrowe had not been contacted by Lineberry as of Monday, therefore he said it would be premature to comment on the decision.