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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Another delay seems likely for Wilmington’s Convention Center hotel. At a briefing with city leaders this morning, the developer said it needs another extension.

Hotel developer Harmony Hospitality said today it may need another three months to get the financing straight to move forward with plans to build an Embassy Suites.

“We’re coming out of an economic situation where everybody wants something right now, so the delay is frustrating,” Wilmington Downtown Inc. Executive Director John Hinnant said.

Harmony Hospitality is expected to ask City Council Tuesday night for another extension on moving forward with plans to build the hotel. The biggest hold-up Harmony faces is financing. A majority of the money is supposed to come from foreign investors through a federal program called EB5.

“Money from other countries being invested in projects in the United States, in return for which they get a visa or two,” City Council member Laura Padgett explained.

EB5 is the same program that helped provide financing for the downtown marina project.

Hinnant says although it can be a lengthy process, it has a track record of success.

“I know that the EB5 program has been successful,” Hinnant said. “We see projects happening now in Wilmington with EB5 investments. It just means more patience.”

Padgett says although the waiting can be frustrating, the city’s patience will be rewarded.

“In the end, I think that’s going to be the best choice we could have, and that will be an enhancement to the success of the Convention Center,” she said.

Harmony Hospitality is also still waiting on a secured commitment from Hilton, which owns Embassy Suites.

A Harmony representative would not talk on camera.

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22 Comments on "Search for foreign investors could delay convention center hotel even longer"

2015 years 10 months ago

USCI & other statutory authorities should clear petitions without delays and too many RFEs as current processing time is discouraging to potential investors.

2015 years 10 months ago

Let’em build the hotel, it go over just like ALL those EMPTY Cities they built in CHINA!

Gues George
2015 years 10 months ago

Wow!Still the hotel?I hope the Chinese are not printing funny money,be just like this bunch to fall for another scam.Maybe we could mint one of those platinum coins,and build it our-selves

2015 years 10 months ago

And look up

Sum Mor Doh

I’m sure he’s willing to invest


2015 years 10 months ago

If Chinese investors have that kind of money to invest, they’re not going to need anyone to support them. They also won’t be taking the kind of jobs you seem to be worried about protecting. You’ll probably be working for them, not the other way around.

That should be kind of obvious. You do realize, that not all potential immigrants are destitute, don’t you? Especially the ones who enter the country legally instead of jumping the line.

By the way “American Born”, I wouldn’t be quite so cavalier with that name title. As I seem to recall from my history books, there were already “American Born” people here when we “discovered” America. They probably have a better right to that title than you do.

American Born
2015 years 10 months ago

Sure go ahead bring more foreignors here to this country, like we dont support enough of them already. We got thousands out of work. Its a shame you cant find some United States of America people to help.

2015 years 10 months ago

you hit that right on the head. Actually, I think they get a green card and then permanent status. Not only does the investor get the visa; so does his or her spouse and family members under 21.

If you look at the website, there is a glowing video starring a former council member and a current mayor.

2015 years 10 months ago

Foreign investors may pay for it.
Well, I don’t believe ti will be profitable so they have to offer something else – express lane VISA’s you can call it. “Donate $500K to ‘ol Schoninger and get your VISA in the mail in 3 business days”

It SMACKS of desperation – which is the same smell that was around when we talked about the stadium.
Since THAT debate we’ve had assaults and murders down town – taking the “family fun and entertainment” argument right out of the picture.
We’ve had the Mayfaire is the new down town argument – taking the “great business climate downtown” argument and tossing THAT right out the window.
Now e have another in a long series of delays in the CC hotel.
Do we finally get the picture folks?
Do we?
Wilmington is NOT a center for tourists – THAT is 13 miles away at the beaches. Its not hundreds on Riverwalk – it’s thousands at the sand and water.
Grow up Wilmington accept the fact that we’re second banana to the beaches. We’re a bathroom stop between the airport and Carolina Beach. At least have the decency to clean the rest rooms will you?


2015 years 10 months ago

Well golly gee…. I thought the South was only selling out to New Yorkers.

2015 years 10 months ago

you would know Schoninger, architect of the pay for your visa program, is not from the South. He’s had some difficulties in Colorado prior to arriving in NC.

So what was your point?

Guest Reply
2015 years 10 months ago

(常用词语!!!)= HA!, this is still an ongoing comic relief from City Council!!!
(提示!!!)=(And another thing)….Where in this article does it mention China’s monies except for the headline?!!! Oooops!
(i.e.) 1+1 = 2
The new Ball Park thingy was more exciting then this. Look Saffo…Just turn the Convention Center into a hotel…and try and find investors to build a Convention Center again with hotel tax money. Turn the situation around and approach it from a different angle. Do we have to tell Council everything???
Will the new hotel have “Made in China” on the corner stone?
Honestly…most of the city residents have forgotten about a hotel for this thing ;-)

Guest Reply
2015 years 10 months ago

And another thing….提示!!!

2015 years 10 months ago

that Mayor Hairspray Saffo and John Hinnant would disagree. I, on the other hand, agree completely. The Convention Center is, and will be, a money-sucking behemoth on the taxpayer’s backs for a long, long time.

Mr Reality
2015 years 10 months ago

Don’t you think by now if this site was worth the investment there would already be a hotel there? The convention center is dark most of the time. Downtown is crime central and is really not attractive at all.
You need a total overhaul.

Peyton Garrett
2015 years 10 months ago

This is what this deal has become. Is there not a domestic entity that is able to build a hotel without having to bend over backwards, jump through hoops and not have to bring in foreign investors. How in the world did the US get to this point. All of this should have been ironed out years ago and the convention center should not have been built without an anchor Hotel already in place, including the financing so construction could be completed at the same time. Forget Spanish as our second language, The Chinese are here, We owe them enough already. And now, a prime piece of Wilmington is warranted?

2015 years 10 months ago

(Allegedly heard, that is)

– “OK, Let’s get this secret meeting over real quick before someone finds out!”
– “Darn Billy, what’re we gonna tell’ em this time about that stinking hotel?”
– “What we always do Charlie, that everything’s almost lined up and that it’s just about good to go. Hey, we’ve bull-crapped them so many times already, we can’t stop now!
– “But Billy, we told them something like that back on August 21st, last year and we told them something like that about 82 times before!”
– “Earl, stop your whining, either get in line with the rest of us or I’ll sic Kevin on you!”
– (Kevin barks menacingly at Earl) “Good boy Kevin, good boy!”
– “We’ll, I told them that it takes a long time for an EB5 exemption, and you just can’t control it”
– “Oh Laura, you’re always trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth just to save your own skin. We all know by now that we should have asked Harmony about it.”
– “Margaret, Margaret …Wake up!”
– Oh stop it Laura, just because I called you out; that’s no reason to wake her. You’re just being mean!”
– “Yea, especially since Billy made that dumb commercial for Schoniger, now everybody knows we should have known all about EB5’s by now!”
– “Shut up Neil! Your job is to vote with the rest of us and just keep excavating that secret bunker so we have a place to hide.”
– “Oh Gee, I almost forgot, how are we going to explain that Harmony still doesn’t have a commitment from Hilton. They were supposed to have that in place months ago?”
– “No problem Billy, I’ll just tell them I’m a lawyer and smarter than them; just like I did during that stadium debate.
– “Yea Kevin, like that really worked, you idiot!”
– We’ll if you just hadn’t looked so darn smarmy we would a won that thing! And don’t even get me started on the poofy blow-dried hair your still wearing!””
– “Hey did someone just hear a noise near the door? …….”
– “Oh crap! It’s open a crack! Someone might hear us!”

-CLICK …..

2015 years 10 months ago

Another great post – thanks.

The hotel will get built. But if it took this long to find $33M I wonder how profitable investors think a hotel will be down town? If it were to be wildly profitable there would have been construction already – thats why I think there’s a problem.

Foreign investors……….wow


Rick Wilson
2015 years 10 months ago

My vote for post of the decade…………Was there any smoke flowing out of that crack in the door………?

Guest 10101
2015 years 10 months ago

Who really knows. In any case, this is probably closer to the truth than we’ll ever really know.

This post is a good reminder that ALL of these people should be removed from local government. To do anything less is irresponsible.

2015 years 10 months ago

Funny! Wish I had thought of that.

Perhaps a little “crack” coming out of the crack ……….

2015 years 10 months ago

The only reason to invest in this debacle is for an express lane entry into the States. If you’ve got the dough, it’s not really that high a price for an entire family to get into the country. They’ll probably do a mental write-off of their hotel losses against the cost of the express lane family Visa.

As to the hotel itself: Can’t think of any good reason to invest in a property “downtown”, which is dying, that’s essentially attached to a property like the convention center, that’s also dying.

Who, in their right mind, would chain themselves for life to a giant white elephant that’s in the process of expiring? After the beast finally expires, you’d have to shoot yourself to escape the decay.

All of this could have been avoided if they had just listened to the voters in the first place and never built the convention center.

2015 years 10 months ago

I think the Chinese are to smart to invest it what would probably be a sinking ship. No hotel, as it looks.


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