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Latest dispute over convention center hotel

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – They haven’t even broken ground yet, but there is a lot of debate over the new proposed convention center hotel.

The owner of the Hilton Wilmington Riverside has sent another letter to council members disputing the new convention center hotel.

“If it cost less to get in the deal, you are doing to be able to do business at lower prices which again puts the Hilton and others existing hotels at a disadvantage,” said Matthew Davis.

Davis is a Wilmington attorney who represents Sotherly Hotels, the parent company of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Wilmington.

In a letter sent to City Council, Hilton wants the council to take a step back in the sale of the proposed hotel.

“There is a substantial issue as to the evaluation of the property. They have it at $579,000 and we have it at $2.8 million,” said Davis.

Mayor Bill Saffo does not agree.

“I have looked at the information their attorney sent over here and what I have found absolutely appalling was that the appraiser used no sales, no comparable sales within the City of Wilmington,” said Saffo.

Saffo says it has taken years to find a credible developer to build the 186-room Embassy Suites and doesn’t understand why questions are being raised now.

“To wait almost literally to the day before our meetings to have this tells me all I need to know about the operation and that gentleman that owns that hotel,” said Saffo.

Saffo says the new hotel will bring more conventions and organizations to our community.

The public will have the chance to speak on the land sale at Tuesday’s city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Wilmington City Hall.

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Crazy thought

"“I have looked at the information their attorney sent over here and what I have found absolutely appalling was that the appraiser used no sales, no comparable sales within the City of Wilmington,” said Saffo."

Here is a crazy thought $affo, go to the New Hanover County Tax office website and look at the current tax value of the property. It might take a little initiative and time, but if you put on your big boy pants you can do it.

Property worth

Wait Magic Bill. If this piece of property is only worth $500k, why was the City willing to pay so much of the land to build a ball park? Where did you get your appraisal from if " was that the appraiser used no sales, no comparable sales within the City of Wilmington"

Mayor Bill Saffo does not agree.

Of course slick billy doesn't agree, yet a simple search of tax records shows all the properties in that area are worth millions of dollars. But then again, he is the same mayor that said he didn't support tax funded baseball and then proposed a tax to pay for it. He is also the same mayor that allegedly committed adultery and was kicked out of his house by his wife. He changed the address on his voter registration card to mommy and daddy's house.

Please write in Ricky Meeks at the upcoming election, at least he is not already bought like saffo.

Oh boy-

"Saffo says it has taken years to find a credible developer to build the 186-room Embassy Suites and doesn't understand why questions are being raised now.

“To wait almost literally to the day before our meetings to have this tells me all I need to know about the operation and that gentleman that owns that hotel,” said Saffo."

THIS tells me everything I need to know about city government.
Yes Bill, it HAS taken years to find a developer - why? Why did 4 previous ones pull out? Perhaps they see a failed convention center? Maybe they see a bad business move here? They have an independent outlook on Wilmington, whereas you and council do not.
Perhaps they can see that a hotel will have no effect on the number and size of conventions here. Perhaps they can see how technology using the internet have replaced meetings? How company CEOs can address ALL their employees through webcasts?
Do you know what Bill? One thing that the larger cities have that we don't have is major sports teams that can play and attract patrons to sporting events held in those multi-purpose arenas. Ours is not multi-purpose - it is singular in it's purpose. It is, and remains, an over-priced, underutilized, ego-centric testament to older "meeting theory" that has fallen on hard times, and is being replaced by newer technology.

Yes Bill - you built it in spite of opposition to it and for years have claimed that the lack of a hotel is hurting the CC. Really? Do you really think that? In spite of all the testimony given by convention operators world wide who say mass meetings are dwindling in number? No Bill, sorry but after all these years the hotel will NOT help the convention center. Mass meetings are going the way of the rotary dial phone and you (WE) failed to see it.
You tried to project Wilmington as something it is not and that is a large city with offerings that would attract large conventions. We don't offer that much to attract the ever decreasing number of businesses and organizations wanting to hold conventions. They prefer the bigger metropolitan areas.
Mayor Saffo the convention center was a mistake - we tried to tell you that but you did not listen. 4 attempts at a hotel should have shown you and council that this was a mistake. The answer here is NOT to add to the mistake, but to learn by it.
The fact that you haven't tells me all I need to know about the state of politics, and politicians in Wilmington.

Vog

Oh no

Our convention center will be different from every other convention center across the country and will somehow make money. Uncle billy said so therefore it must be true. And we all know uncle billy doesn't lie or cheat.

CC Hotel

Mayor Saffo continues to try and prop up a terrible investment with the CC hotel. It is not private when they will receive a subsidy like the land price from a government. The Hilton has a right to bitch......but I still do not understand their own corporation trying to undermine them. A legal argument I would have is this; if the city sells this land for this amount, will this be the tax value of this property? If the answer is yes, then everyone with similar property should demand the same (greatly reduced) tax value............if the answer is no, the property will be taxed on its current value in spite of the sale price, then the Hilton should prevail with its suit. Either way, Mayor Saffo looks like the cowboy trying to ride a dead horse, and I'm sure the Realtors and other property owners will not be happy. I am also curious as to what other perks the CC hotel investment group will receive.

The Convention Center has been and will continue to be a failure. It was built in spite of all valid research showing they were no longer profitable. The money it robs from the room taxes could/should be spent on worthwhile projects, not ego driven losers. It was claimed that the CC would bring revenue to existing businesses............if this is true, then why does the CC have to have a connected hotel to be successful. If the people attending conventions never leave the premises, how does this help existing businesses? All Convention Centers compete with one another for business.......it stands to reason that cities whose Convention Centers are already paid for can offer much better deals than those still making payments........unless the next plan will be for the taxpayers to subsidize money losing conventions so the Convention Center can have the appearance of being used. It is way past time to cut the losses and bury this dead horse.....it could/should be made into a monument to glorify what happens when government ignores the people, research, and common sense to build their own playpens.

Dear Mayor Saffo,

To ask "why questions are being raised now" would indicate to me you haven't been paying attention. Questions about this land sale have been raised since it was first brought to light. Or...is there something you and City Council don't want us to know?