Tuesday night City Council voted and the convention center is a go. Council approved more than $6 million to begin construction on the project. In less than two weeks crews will start work on the site. Even without the hotel the Council voted to begin leveling the ground and the foundation for the parking deck. Proponents of the project say Tuesday night's vote a significant step forward. "Tonight's a tremendous victory for the people that have been working for this for a long time," Convention Center Task Force Chair Dale Smith said. Money to fund construction on the Convention Center project was given a stamp of approval by a vote of six-to-one by Wilmington City Council. Pat Delair was the only council member against it. This was the second reading for the ordinance. Once again, Laura Padgett, a long-time supporter of the Convention Center voiced concerns about going forward without a hotel. "I still have some heartburn over construction on this project beginning on the parking deck on the Convention Center without the hotel," Council member Laura Padgett said, "In moving forward, to put in the pilings and the foundation, at some point that's not going to be do-able, and at some point, it seems to me that's going to be an additional disincentive to the hotel." The original developer, Armada Hoffler, backed out of an agreement to provide a first-class hotel. Members of the Convention Center Task Force say a number of interested hotel developers are now coming forward. "Since the council approved this two weeks ago we've had seven hotels contact us that are interested, so they we're just waiting to see if this city was really serious about this," Task Force Chair Dale Smith said. Groundbreaking on the first part of construction is set to begin December 3. That's when they'll begin leveling the site and they hope to start setting the foundation by the first of the year.
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