Wilmington responds to convention center hotel challenge


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Submitted: Fri, 02/28/2014 - 1:57pm
Updated: Fri, 04/04/2014 - 1:07pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington is responding ahead of the latest court fight over the hotel at the Wilmington Convention Center.

The city says it has been told an attorney for Glenn Wells, a taxpayer who has been wrangling with the city for years over the deal, will file a show cause motion in New Hanover County Superior Court today about the Convention Center hotel.

In the motion, Wells asks the city to show why it is not in contempt of an August 2006 consent order based on a compromise reached between Wells, his fellow plaintiffs and the city. The deal includes a provision that “(n)o public funds of any nature shall be used to acquire, build, equip, operate or otherwise underwrite or subsidize the Hotel or its operations.”

In his show cause motion, Wells says the city’s sale of property to the hotel’s developer for $578,200 is substantially less than the value of the land appraised last fall for $1.32 million. Wells argues that means “$741,800 in public funds are apparently being used to underwrite or subsidize the Hotel, in violation of the Order.”

In a news release the city says it is limited what it can say about the pending legal matter, but it did issue a statement.

“We are very disappointed to learn about this motion, especially since there has been such overwhelming public support from citizens across our community who want to see this important economic development project completed,” the statement reads. “The city believes very strongly that we are in full compliance with all state laws and the 2006 consent decree and we are confident that the court will rule in our favor.”

Harmony Hospitality plans to build a $33 million Embassy Suites next to the Convention Center. Mayor Bill Saffo has said it could bring in $800,000 a year to the city.

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8 Comments on "Wilmington responds to convention center hotel challenge"


Rudy
2015 years 8 months ago

Although many people do not agree with the convention center ever being built, it is there now and will never be considered a success until a hotel is there. I’m tired of these other hotels crying that they will lose business. They obviously haven’t done their homework! With that convention center hotel comes more business, more business means more rooms. More rooms than that one hotel can manage. It’s a win win situation for every hotel in this county. I just can’t fathom that they would not be behind it. I will however never recommend any of the hotels listed in this suit to anyone I know or to any tourist that asks for a place to stay. Their arrogance will cost them in the future. I ask everyone to join me in saying “Enough is enough, QUIT being a BULLY! Suck it up and help make this a better place to live and visit.”

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 8 months ago

I guess a lot of citizens of Wilmington are completely wrong in defending not having taxpayer money wasted on Bill Saffo’s “Free For All” days in office.
The citizens are wrong…you are right Rudy.
Or is that Bill Rudy Saffo writing in???

“Enough is enough, QUIT being a BULLY! Suck it up and help make this a better place to live and visit.” (Unquote)

Que this Rudy…Wilmington will never be what you say it can be with the current City Council. Either you haven’t a ten cent clue…or you are related to one of its members…(or both). Also remember this…when you have Ice Storms/Gang Shootings/Police Corruption…your Mayor says very little to nothing. But as soon as one of his spending wims is questioned by law…he says Plenty! Say anything to you?

10101
2015 years 8 months ago

“especially since there has been such overwhelming public support from citizens across our community who want to see this important economic development project completed”

I seem to recall the “city” saying that about the Convention Center, that giant white elephant that’s currently gobbling up taxpayer money (oops sorry, I meant room occupancy tax), and also about the ball park (oops sorry, I meant the multi-use center).

I guess that when voters reward council members for malfeasance by re-electing them, Council no longer even feels the necessity to put a new spin on their old bullcrap.

Guest2020
2015 years 8 months ago

“I guess that when voters reward council members for malfeasance by re-electing them, Council no longer even feels the necessity to put a new spin on their old bullcrap.”

The lack of voters was more to blame than the actual voters. If the citizens of Wilmington had bothered to show up at the polls, this would be a different story. I was appalled at the lack of concern that Wilmington showed at the last elections.

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 8 months ago

Quote:
“We are very disappointed to learn about this motion, especially since there has been such overwhelming public support from citizens across our community who want to see this important economic development project completed,” the statement reads.

(But Wait! That’s Not All)

“The city believes very strongly that we are in full compliance with all state laws and the 2006 consent decree and we are confident that the court will rule in our favor.” (Unquote)

That sounds like the Police of Boiling Spring Lakes defending Vassey ahead of time, when “other” was found out by a court of law.
You folks in Wilmington put these idiots in office…impeach them out before your bank accounts are “Completely Handed Over to City Council”.
This hotel ordeal reminds me of when I lived in Wilmington, and noticed that sign…”Coming Soon” in reference to a movie theatre near Monkey Junction (that never came to be).

Concerned Taxpayer
2015 years 8 months ago

I had a number of family members who stayed at the Hilton last year. The lobby might be “shiny and pretty”, but the guest rooms were awful. The issue is that Hilton can not abide with legitimate competition in the downtown hospitality market. I can guarantee that the opening of the new Courtyard by Marriott is going to deeply impact the number of room stays at the Hilton. The Hilton is a tired, old, poorly maintained hotel. Its design is out of date (hard to imagine a river-side hotel on that site without balconies! amazingly flawed from inception). Sadly, the Hilton has not raised its game and now finds itself faced with real competition. As a Wilmington tax-payer whose moneys will be used to fight this suit I will tell all friends and business associates coming to town to stay anywhere but the Hilton. What a bunch of bullies!

wilm city here
2015 years 8 months ago

right please take a vote you will find out theres not many who wants this hotel. i hope they put a stop to it. so mayor take a vote you find out we dont want it

J Anon
2015 years 8 months ago

This city knew from the get go that hotel rooms were needed before the convention center. Gun shows cannot sustain this poorly planned white elephant. We hired outside companies to tell us what we wanted to hear. Professionals of the industry warned the city this was a mistake. They went ahead and built it anyway. Hotel will bring in $800.000??? Where is this number coming from. The same people that said build the convention center. Downtown is a very dangerous place! It does not attract the right clientele. Sorry this project is way off base and downtown needs to go in another direction. A hotel is not the only answer. It may help. A 33 million dollar 188 room project, Someone do the math. How can that possibly bring in $800,000???