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Council votes Hotel Indigo out, search to start over

READ MORE: Council votes Hotel Indigo out, search to start over
Wilmington's city council is back to square one, looking for a hotel developer to build next to the new convention center after they voted last night to terminate the city's contract with Wilmington River Group. More and more like the convention center will open without a hotel next door. After one full year and six failed attempts, the Wilmington River Group is out, after signing on to build a $25 million Hotel Indigo next to the convention center. "We ran out of time a long time ago to get the hotel up to be there when the convention center opens,” said Laura Padgett of the Wilmington City Council. City Council voted to terminate the city's contract with the company after it couldn't produce a one million dollar letter of credit after being given six extensions. City Attorney Tom Pollard says under the terms of the contract, the city was within its rights. "I felt like the city had been reasonable in trying to give them an opportunity to do so." All along we've heard that a hotel will accompany the convention center, but council member Ron Sparks is questioning the necessity of a hotel. "If you've been to the convention centers in Virginia Beach and Columbia, none of those convention centers have a hotel as a part of their site and they seem to be doing well." Laura Padgett wants to see a new strong developer come in. "We need to move forward as quickly as we can assessing what we want in the hotel and trying to find another way to get the hotel." Council members now have several meetings ahead of them to figure out their next step. Wilmington River Group's attorney, JC Hearne, was not available for comment.

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If this Convention Center idea was such a brilliant money-maker, then a private developer would have fronted the money and built it. Tax dollars of any sort should not be used for a capitalistic venture. Sell this project now, at a loss, and get out of the development business.

undersized and worthless

The center can't bring in big names like every other large convention center, it cannot hold gatherings for large groups of a state level much less a national level... It is worthless...worthless..worthless.... Here we are the tax payers paying for something that is completely useless. It is not THAT much larger than coastline... I would have been all for paying for a facility that could bring in big names,, that could host state level events.. Heck... The state real estate agent convention has to be held in Savannah every year and this center is too small for those numbers.... It is undersized, underfunded and a complete waste of money, property and tax payer dollars. State level groups will continue to go OUT OF STATE because we don't have anything large enough... PATHETIC! Again.. if it was built large enough it would have been woth it, but it wasn't.. so it is worthless! A complete waste!

Not undersized

I agree with @Guestgal. I don't think your estimation of the convention centers' sizes are correct. Coastline is 10,150 square feet. The total number of square feet in the new convention center is slated to be 107,000 square feet. See this Wilmington Convention Center fact sheet for more size information.

Not much larger???

Where are you getting your numbers? The coastline convention center looks like a barn & is 10,000 sq. ft. The ballroom alone in the new convention center is bigger than that. Not to mention 30,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 6,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space. What's sad here is that it took SIX times and a whole year before the city council wised up & fired the hotel group who wanted to build a hotel that wasn't even big enough to house convention attendees. In fact, the new convention center is large enough to host a big event, but the problem is that there isn't enough hotel space to hold the attendees - even with the existing hotels downtown! I am maybe one of the few who do think the convention center is a good idea, but it won't succeed without a good full-size hotel with it.

Convention Center playbook

A hotel should have been in the playbook as well.One should'nt have been started without the other.Someone saying they will build and then backing out.Balking without recourse.Maybe a campground down by the river will do.What a class act that would be.

Incorrect and Correct

You can have 1 million sq. ft. but if it will only cater to as many people as you can cram in Trask (albiet most likely cheaper) then you are stuck with a location that will.... cater to as many poeple as Trask can hold.... You may not realize it but besides names that could be brought in on a regular basis, the Az Fest is a huge money maker for Wilmington and its residents. I cannot tell you living here for 43 years how many times af has tried to get big names (more big names, more visitors, more cash-flow into the local economy) and cant because of SIZE RESTRICTIONS and LIMITATIONS.... The same will be true with said convention center.. I am all for a convention center.. But one that can hold enough people to bring big conferences and big shows to our local economy... I am not saying something as large as say the L.A. convention center where it takes a half an hour to walk all the way through, but something where larger conferences totaling 9,000 individuals could be held... And this hunny aint it.... Waste of time and money... Our money... I only hope a contingency plan is in place for future, large expansion if warranted...

correct & incorrect

I agree that we would have been better served by something that could support more than just state or regional conventions & wedding receptions, but that's what we have. They were able to expand the size thanks to inexpensive materials right now and the fact that it was coming in under budget. But if there aren't enough hotel rooms to hold the people coming to the event, what's the point. Even with the Hotel Indigo and the Hilton & Best Western, there still wouldn't have been enough rooms to hold the people attending a convention there. I might be too much of a "silver lining in every cloud" person, but I am holding out hope. We need a full-size hotel to go there. I've heard rumors that other businesses and nice hotels are scouting the area as well. But we taxpayers aren't paying for the convention center (unless you're living in a hotel, that is) since it's entirely funded by the room occupancy or tourist tax.

Convention Center

Why didn't they build the Convention Center where all the motels are already? Most Convention Centers are in locations when there are many motels and restaurants in walking distance and not bars.