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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After talking about it for years, it looks like Wilmington City Council may be taking huge steps toward two projects. The city held a news conference this afternoon to discuss the details.

The Convention Center has been opened for more than a year. It now looks like it will soon get a hotel. But that’s not the only big news released today.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo announced the city will consider an agreement with Harmony Hospitality to build a full-service 194-room Sheraton, Embassy Suites or comparable hotel. Last spring, the city approved the proposal from Harmony Hospitality to build a Convention Center hotel. This next step, though, outlines the specifics of the proposal.

The mayor’s other announcement was about baseball. City Council will consider negotiating with Mandalay Baseball Properties and the Atlanta Braves to explore a public/private partnership. That could mean an increase in taxes.

“It might be a tax increase to pay for it,” Saffo said. “I’m not gonna sugarcoat this thing, but of course we’d have to have a public forum, public input to see where the public stand on this, because the public might be very much against it, but we’ve had a lot of people that have indicated they’d be very supportive of it, but it does come with a cost.”

The city is also going to reach out to surrounding counties.

We spoke with New Hanover County Commission Chair Ted Davis about a possible partnership with the city. He says he would not agree to using any property taxes to fund the stadium.

City Council will vote on these projects at their meeting next week.

Comment on this Story

  • jj

    They would do the samething they did with the convention center. It was voted down twice and they built it anyway.

  • Guest7969

    I THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU NC Legislatures for stopping annexation! NHC..DON’T YOU EVEN THINK about getting involved in this crap!

  • Guest7969

    Show me one baseball park in the US that doesn’t suck off of taxpayer subsidies….

  • Guest1165

    This is even more stupid than building the convention center. The streets can’t handle the traffic, no pro team has been able to make a go of it here, and who will go when it is the middle of July and all the mosquitos are coming over from Eagle Island.
    The Council is getting ready to raise the property tax rate now, anyway. Saffo and the rest of the council need to go. How much do they think we can stand?
    This is just plain stupid.
    Follow the money…

  • Guest461

    Put it to vote? Do you mean with the same lazy, apathetic city residents that couldn’t even get off their duffs to show up and vote in a new mayor?

    That’s exactly the type of support Saffo is depending on. It’s already proven.

  • DM

    Voting sounds like a great idea to me. Here is the problem with that though, when you put a specific project to a public vote it takes away the power that politicians worked so hard to achieve.

  • Guest Reply

    Here he is looking at his laptop monitor:

    Here’s what’s on the monitor:

    I’ll take Boardwalk for $40,000,000…then annex Park Place!

  • Guest77

    I hope it is built. It would be a major draw to the area.

  • ILMNative75

    King Saffo is at it again. He and his court jesters continue to spend, spend, spend while out the other side of their mouths they are saying they have to lay people off or departments need to cut their budgets even more. But wait, that’s right – he’ll just raise taxes to pay for all this. Sounds like another ‘king’ I know, only this one lives in DC and a much bigger house!

  • Guest Redneck Across the River

    Wilmington is becoming more of a joke every day. Geez……..you got Berger, Saffo and whoever the clown is that wants to charge for parking in the deck 24/7. When are you guys going to take some action and let these idiots know enough is enough?

  • SurfCityTom

    put the ball park in Pender or Duplin county? Cheap land; easy access to I-40 means broader fan support. The kinston Indians are gone; no competition.

    I forgot, the city would be unable to unload some overpriced river front property.

    I guess common sense and economics do not prevail.

    What changed? Did they agree to comp Barfield on hotdogs and peanuts?

  • guesty

    Let the city residents put it to a vote. Plenty of opposition was voiced against the convention center yet the city council decided to build it anyway. Let the citizens that would pay for it vote on it.

  • John

    What a great idea it is to raise taxes on us at this time. We have 500 households that don’t even have running water due to the brains behind the water department. Now let’s see how many people we can push over the edge by raising taxes. Stupid, self serving and a horrid group we have running this city. I love baseball but if they are so sure it will work then let these guys finance it. Would love to be with them at the bank when they ask for the loan….can’t you just imagine how loudly the bankers would laugh at them.

  • ilm4life

    City residents love their taxes. The higher the better. Forget the public forums, just build the thing already.

    Let’s play ball.

  • Peyton Garrett

    First of all, I hope it is more Privately funded than publicly. I have a lot of Questions. If We build it, what is the lease to the Braves and for how long? What is the city’s cut of Beer sales, concessions, parking and so on. The Braves would have to be locked in for at least 20 years with some kind of escalating lease. Same with concessions and any other income derived. Just what is the deal. NO MORE GAMBLING WITH THE TAXPAYER’S MONEY. It must be financially beneficial or I would walk. I also would like a cut of ticket sales. If it is going to be a partnership then risks should be shared.

  • Guestin

    then let saffo and the people who want to support it do it not the taxpayers, what are we your piggy bank saffo.

  • Guest757

    The people in this area are being taxed to death.. They can’t handle an increase. Please we are dealing with our water company already.

    Stand your ground New Haonver Commissioners,,

    The people in the city voted Saffo in now deal with him..

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Go for it! Just don’t involve the county residents in this latest shakedown.

    Just this week Saffo was talking about the looming budget problems and before they’re even solved, he’s looking for the next opportunity to raise taxes for an extravagance no one needs.

  • Brian

    If Mandalay will sign a contract that they will repay all tax money used at a rate of 6% interest, then I say go for it. If they can’t pay for it without tax revenue, then it isn’t sustainable, and probably shouldn’t be built.

  • Guest54

    We do not need a Damn ( excuse my French) baseball team or field. Taxes, both sales and gas are killing us already. We need to put our foot down on these big spending politicians and tell them enough is enough! So far, the only people I know that want this field are Saffo and his henchmen. Do you own the property that is proposed to be built on?

  • Guest461

    …with too many open, local fields…no games, little interest. But go ahead and build it, with the “..BUT it does come with a cost.” concession. I would give it 2 seasons at the very best, then it turns into another set of kiddie soccer fields. We do have a history of “baseball” here, remember? They were all TOTAL failures with only one season…

    Another Saffo venture, handprint/star in the sidewalk…at the taxpayers expense.

    Here’s the good part, watch carefully:

    The citizens of the city didn’t even show up to get a new mayor, let’s see if the same apathy will apply to an obvious, “reach into my pockets and take all you want…” approach.

    This could get very interesting!

  • Guest CommonTater

    As long as the voters keep putting these “people” in there they will continue to “look after us”. Thanks saffo…….. really…

  • Robert Green

    Regardless of the public’s input,Billy Ball will be rammed down the citizen’s throats, just like the convention center.Google the pitfalls of public/private financing of ball stadiums and it is bad business.A liberal like Saffo will always keep his hands in your pockets.It is never enough.With around 15% voter turnout for city elections,Billy figures while you are flipped back in the recliner sweeping the crumbs off your big belly and drinking a cold one watching “Dancing With The Stars” or the ole ballgame, he will hang another burden around your neck.Once the novelty and excitement wanes,you,Joe Blow taxpayer, gets the bill with no guarantees of the longevity of the team’s stay in the Port City or relief from additional tax hikes.On the local,state and national level,you have witnessed what the liberal mentality gets you…the hand of government digging deeper into your pockets.


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