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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Is the land deal for the site of a convention center hotel a better deal for Wilmington or the hotel developer?

A recent appraisal commissioned by the city shows the land is worth much more than what the city is offering to sell it for.

“If you use the $1.32 million evaluation, it means that at $579,000 the city would only be capturing 45 percent of the lands value,” said Matthew Davis, an attorney for Sotherly Hotels, the parent company of the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.

Sotherly Hotels has spent the past several months challenging the city’s sale of the land for the proposed convention center hotel.

“We feel like our concerns have been validated based on the city’s own new appraisal, which values the property at $1.32 million,” Davis said.

The city picked Virginia-based Harmony Hospitality to develop the hotel back in 2011.

In a statement a city spokeswoman said, “At this point, there has been no finalized agreement or negotiated price for the land the city owns adjacent to the convention center. As a matter of course, appraisals are provided as professional opinion, but the final value of properties are generally determined by what buyers and sellers both agree upon.”

Davis says such a deal would cost taxpayers more than $800,000 in lost revenue.

“Such a steep discount really creates two problems,” Davis said. “The first is it means the city would be leaving about 800,000 in lost profits on the table.”

We tried to get comments from several city council members including Earl Sheridan, Kevin O’Grady and Charlie Rivenbark, but our calls for comment have not been returned.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest Reply Redux

    Look here Y’all.
    The difference between what the land is worth…and what it sells for…will be sent to each taxpayer in Wilmington in the form of a “Rebate” divided up of course from Governor Saffo. So the good news is simply this…you all will be getting your $2.76 check in the mail next year…$2.14 after taxes…and that $2.14 “WILL” be reported to the IRS by Council for your earned income for 2015…or you can shelter it. That idea is in the next paragraph below: So relax…because Council is looking out for themselves…I mean you.

    Here goes: You can also reinvest that $2.14 back into the CC…and have stock in it, and that stock will therefore be the equivalent to Google or IBM stock at the end of the day…in days to come. (KA-CHING)
    See? You can count on ’em after all :-)

  • Guest2020

    There was even less time between the stadium nonsense and the last election. They didn’t care enough then to get out and vote. I don’t see that happening in the future. Wilmington voters have a long pattern of ignoring, forgetting or simply not caring about the misdeeds of the city “leaders”. I just don’t see that changing for the better any time soon.

  • SurfCityTom

    the Council and Puff Saffo have a long running history of promoting other’s endeavors at the expense of city taxpayers.

    The Mayor is a realtor with a focus on commercial property. One would think he would know better.

    Probably the only ones surprised are the Mayor and Council members at the speed with which this became public knowledge.

    Well, 2 years until the next election. Will voters remember and get to the polls?

  • Guest7969

    Aren’t you just SO GLAD you voted these guys back into office! News flash, either someone they know is getting a deal with a kickback..OR they just don’t care.


    Just I have always said, the city council buys high and sells low.
    I wonder what they will ask for the multi million dollar property
    they just bought (supposedly park land). Hey, the Atlanta Braves
    might offer one million for it if they can find a sucker to build a stadium there

  • guest111

    This is another sale like the sheriff’s dept and jail downtown. Millions were lost on that deal. I will never understand why the county let that property go so cheap to the Baptist Church. Idiots!

  • taxpayer

    the City sells this land for less than its appraised value, the Mayor, City Council, and City Attorney should be sued for breach of fiduciary duty.

    Unfortunately, the uproar if this does occur will be short-lived since the voters of this City have very short memories and dismal turnout on election day.

  • Vog46

    “We tried to get comments from several city council members including Earl Sheridan, Kevin O’Grady and Charlie Rivenbark, but our calls for comment have not been returned.”

    If this story is true then ANYONE involved on council who has the real estate background should be forced to resign because many people said before this EXACT thing.


  • Rick Wilson

    The public self-servants strike again……..Is anyone, anywhere surprised by what these people do? Will this sale reduce the value of all property in this area? Why does the Mayor and City Council get to decide to give one proposed business a huge break while existing businesses only get more competition? Why do people attending conventions have to have an attached hotel? If people attending conventions never leave the convention center/hotel, where is the economic benefit for other area businesses?

    If the Mayor and Council would remove their heads from their posterior regions, they would realize what everybody else already knows……The Convention Center is a colossal failure and the adding of an attached hotel will only add another colossal failure. Hopefully the foreign investors they are trying to scam out of $500,000.00 each will do their homework and accept what the Mayor and Council refused to accept……Convention Centers are dinosaurs and will soon become extinct. Any foreign investor that learns this and still wants to invest, then I would question their true motives in wanting to obtain a green card.

    It is easy to gamble with taxpayer funds…….I wonder if the Mayor and Council would be willing to use their own money to build this project.

  • ChefnSurf

    The pathetically apathetic voters of Wilmington have made it perfectly clear to them that they can do whatever they want.

    Time to fasten your seat belts boys and girls, they’re just getting started and it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

  • guest1234567

    Remember your last Mayor? Pushed our money losing Convention Center down Tax Payers throats. The bank whom he just happens to work for gets loan, he gets promoted, moves on and we are stuck with it. Wake up Wilmington and smell the scam !! This is just more of the same.

  • Guesttoo

    I find it funny that the representatives of the ugliest, gaudiest building in all of downtown Wilmington would have anything to say about this. Perhaps they are afraid that someone else will build an uglier building and use lights more garish than they? Or, more likely, they are worried that people with taste will eschew the ugly white palace for more tasteful environs.

    Obviously, a business would be upset if they saw a threat to their exclusiveness and use any means to undermine that threat. This one was served up on a platter that they didn’t even pay for!

    Property values are subjective. Who else is standing in line to buy this chunk of land, even at the $600k offering?


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