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Council discusses new options on convention center hotel

READ MORE: Council discusses new options on convention center hotel
Construction on the Wilmington convention center continues to move along, but there are still no plans for a neighboring hotel. City Council met Monday to discuss its options after pulling out of an agreement with Wilmington River Group last month. Council has to decide what kind of hotel will go next to the convention center and some say they want nothing less than a top-notch facility. Wilmington City Council met Monday to discuss its options for planning a hotel next to the new convention center. The city pulled out of a deal with Wilmington River Group last month, after the developer couldn’t produce a proper letter of credit. "We need to take our time, not panic, and move forward in a thoughtful way,” said Margaret Haynes of City Council. Many want to see a full service hotel accompany the convention center. "It has a full time restaurant, lobby area, safety, security for all travelers. You don't have to go out of the hotel to get your needs met,” Haynes said. "In marketing this convention center, we're going to be competing with cities who have full service hotels near or on the site, so to help us in our marketing effort, we need to go ahead and put that in,” added Ron Sparks. Councilman Jim Quinn said they may have to settle for less than they really want because of the economy, but Laura Padgett said they shouldn't sell themselves short. "Having a hotel on site will be beneficial to the long term future of the convention center,” said Bob McClintock of the Convention Center Management Group. Ron Sparks says he'd like to see the bid process start as soon as possible and council members have been hearing from developers asking about the project since the previous deal fell through. "We're going to have a more sophisticated type of program coming here, or convention coming here, if we can have a first class hotel,” Haynes said. The convention center is projected to be financially stable on its own for the few first years, without a hotel next to it. Some say that's even more reason not to rush into anything. Council will take the next two weeks to think over the information that was presented to them today, then meet again.

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govt spending vs. private industry

Straight shooter spelling was not your forte in school..... and math was not the forte of city council members in school !!! It is funny how the only people that are spending money indiscriminately is government. Private industry has to play by the rules and is trying to keep a pulse in this sick economy. If people had confidence in this convention center , a hotel developer would have signed on! The main objective of city council during such dire economic times should be addressing the affordability issue. While many hard working people in this city are trying to manage their budgets , our taxes continue to increase.If you are going to be an advocate for the convention center and city council you need to consult a dictionary.

Incompetence for 200 years

As for the leadership on the local and state level, the Democratic party has had the majority rule since Reconstruction on the state level! King Billy Saffo was a council member prior to becoming mayor and we continue to vote for the same old retreads.They could not run their own personal businesses in the manner in which they manage the city's business. In the meantime while their is no full service hotel ,how are you going to accommodate convention goers with safety, security and convenience. This convention center was a high risk when it was proposed during better economic times. I will provide a solution for having adequate meeting space in Wilmington. A better fit for our community would have been to establish a delegation from Wilmington along with the Chancellor of UNC Wilmington to lobby state legislators to a build a facility on the campus of UNC-W. It could have been a venue for sporting events and nonsporting events and would have been a better utilized facility. As for the property that is being developed now, it could have been developed by a private investor with let's say luxury condos and a marina. We would have the proceeds from this sale in our coffers. You asked what I would do , so there it is !!!! Do not being herded along like sheep! To be successful in business just requires a little common sense!


Guess the Hilton will have to do. Wonder why they haven't put their name in the hat? Hummm. If this convention center was going to boom a ton of hotels would be fighting for that spot. Guess they dont think Wilmington is as special as the mayor does.

Because they don't have to!

The Hilton is the only game in town, check their rates. They are higher than much nicer facilities in other cities. Infact our old Hilton is a big reason why we need a bigger full service hotel for compatitive rates that will help our new center's success.

How about a KOA campground?

Welcome to Wilmington and our new convention center. Tents, cots, air mattresses, coffee pots...we rent everything you need. Clean restrooms and large parking spots for your RV. Can you say, "Bottomless money pit?" Yes, I thought you could....

White Elephant

Our city council DISREGARDED any pertinent information showing that the convention center industry is a dying , uneconomical industry. NO ONE that has any business acumen will sign on with these buffoons to build a full service hotel.Their business plan was flawed from the beginning!People in the city of Wilmington need to ask themselves ,"is this the kind of folks we need in office" ! They have been incompetent on many fronts. They also let our infrastructure crumble over the years resulting in a moratorium they delayed projects throughout the city and hurt the construction industry. Their neglect of our water and sewer resulted in higher water bills because the CFPUA claims they have to get the infrastructure up to par.These people are hoping to be re-elected because they are depending on a low voter turnout throughout the city. Their special interest groups will turn out to vote and continue this failed agenda!

So what's your answer Radar & Common?

Go back to the tired, lack-luster, due nothing leadership of the past 200+ years, (which is the real reason for our infrustructure problems) or do we move forward? Our aging water, sewer and road problems are too often unfairly blamed on our current leadership when in fact it is they who are trying to do something about it. As for the B.S. of lack convention activity, just take a look at Raleigh's new 2nd convention center that is fully booked or New Bern's facility. And yes, we do need to move forward with a full service adjoining hotel complex for our facility to be succesful.

Here's my recommendation

At this point you are in too deep to stop construction and walk away from the convention center continue to build that albatross around your neck. However, to continue this crazy dream of a world-class hotel or worse, to start thinking about dedicating even more money to entice a world-class hotel to locate here is ludicrous. The absence of any hotel willing to step up to the plate tells you that their projections don't agree with yours....and that brings us to the old WW II saying, "They're all out of step but Jim." What's the big info that the City Council knows, but no hotel chain believes? I can't speak of the Raleigh convention centers, but can tell you that New Bern offers a prime example of what you're facing. Look at the scheduled events and tell me how many of them would keep any hotel located at the convention center in business. ( Most of the events over the next couple of months are Navy or Marine Corps balls. We will not attract them, as New Bern is far better situated for both CLNC and MCAS CPNC, plus downtown Wilmington's anti-military predjudices are well-known. These balls also occur within a one-month period every year. There are relatively small, private events such as birthday parties and wedding receptions, several shows that we currently hold quite well at the Coastline Center, or very small conventions such as the NC Septic Tank Association and American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. (Betcha THAT'S a wild crowd!) The NC Symphony? We hold that at Kenan Auditorium...and moving it downtown won't require a hotel. Livingston Taylor in concert? We could probably hold in a local restaurant....and he can stay at the Hilton. Also don't fail to recognize how many events are tied to business or organizations that are based in Eastern NC and even New Bern itself. Those folks don't need a hotel - they walk or drive home. New Bern built the center in an area ripe with existing hotels and Bed and Breakfast accomodations. They didn't dream of the Hotel Pierre or the Willard Intercontinental opening up a new hotel AT the convention center. They anticiapted modestly and realistically, and that's what they are seeing. So here it is, the bottom line for the Wilmington Convention Center: IF THE ANTICIPATED REVENUE WAS TRULY GOING TO BE THERE, HOTELS WOULD BE LINING UP AND YOU'D HAVE A BIDDING WAR TO SEE WHO GOT TO BUILD THERE.... ...but that's not happening, is it?

Voters are Voters

Whether they are part of a group or not, they are voters none the less. I have little sympathy for those who do not vote, on the other hand, especially when they start whining about problems and issues our region faces.

Good planning

Shouldn't this have been secured before the building of the convention center started? Now we are going to have another Motel 6 attached to this product. Way to go city counsel.