City breaks ground on convention center

WILMINGTON -- Monday was a big day in the city of Wilmington, one that's been in the works for years. City officials broke ground for a new convention center. The ground-breaking officially took place at four p.m. Mayor Bill Saffo was clearly excited that this day had finally come. Saffo mentioned the more than 1,200 jobs and tax revenue that the center will bring to the city. Saffo says the room occupancy tax, which is paying for construction, has already exceeded projections for this year. Dale smith from the convention center task force says the task force has two jobs: to advise city council, as well as inform the public. Smith says the convention center is being built with input from the public. Funding for the project first came about in 2003 when the North Carolina state legislature created the three percent room occupancy tax that is paying for construction. The mayor's convention center task force was created that same year. The location was selected in 2004 and that was the year negotiations with developers started. Then in 2005 Armada Hoffler was approved to build a Marriott and convention center. A lawsuit in 2005 halted plans for a while. Local hotels filed the suit claiming it was unconstitutional to build the convention center with tax dollars then lease it rent-free to a private entity. The city settled in 2006 in hopes of moving forward with the project. This past May the city pulled out of its deal with Armada Hoffler after the company said it wouldn't be able to build a full-service hotel. After that, the city solicited new hotel proposals. The city is still in talks with two of those companies. A city spokesperson says if an agreement can't be made with one of those companies, requests may be sent out again.

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First scheduled event 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh5b0Yw_-kQ
Hell no, keep that trash out of the city! He had his chance, didn't show up so now keep all that garbage 'music' out. I use the term 'music' because calling it noise would offend the sound jackhammers make!
This convention center is a great day for Wilmington! Finally a place for regional meetings, national conferences and a gathering point for our community that is sufficient in size, scope, and a place that is right for us. The leaders, all of us, who have worked towards this have had the vision of the COMMON GOOD to see this through and it is something this community can value for decades to come and build to expand and grown into the future. Well Done! Well Done! Well Done!
The convention center isn't about the common good. It's about greed: The greed of "leaders" who have corrupted the political process and exploit apathy to line their own pockets. I love Wilmington and I'm sick of greedy "leaders" conniving to spend money and corrupt politicians ripping off taxpayers. I go to lots of conventions. Few conventions will come here from elsewhere. Sure, the crooked developers, Realtors and Chamber of Commerce will enjoy their new taxpayer funded dinner hall. FACT: Wilmington is too difficult to get too, too expensive, and lacks the hotel and accomodation capabilities to draw many "outside" conventions. Common good? More like incredible, sinful greed. Thanks Realtors!
Realtors had nothing to do with this, get your facts straight, just because the mayor is a Realtor , this convention center was proposed long before he came into office.
you people deserve everything that will happen to you---after all, didn´t you re elect this saffo guy?
Who did not attend? Was Ms Tomey there, before becoming a member of the council? The "new" design contains a meeting room for only 1500? That eliminates 99% of all organizations, and 100% percent of concerts and other entertainment. Change the name from "the quonset hut" to the "white elephant". 80% of the voters of Wilmington appear to be fools.
Your faces look so positive....yet it has already been proven that this is a not a money maker...supported by tax dollars from visitors. I am a native...and yes I care about my "home town" but what I see happening here year to year really makes me want to find somewhere else to raise my children. I do not feel as though me as "born and bred" is welcome anymore. If the higher ups would take heed and listen to the people that have always been here and know what the value of this place stands for (through history...and the "old times")...which is what origanally brought all of the you here to begin with...then maybe...just maybe...we can salvage Wilmington...otherwise...you might as well turn the other way and forget about everything that you stand for. Lets catch up on the infrastructure and keeping our "own" in business before we start handing it out to others!!!
The evening before I made sure my dog got to walk around out there and take a poop. I sure hope one of those tax money wasting bigwigs stepped in the poo. That's what I think of the convection center, with all that HOT AIR what else is there to call it?
Congratulations Wilmington. You've just committed to paying more than $60 million in higher taxes so your elected officials can get a nice photo op and a bronze plaque patting themselves on the back for building something.
The Headline should read: "City Council Breaks City Budget on Convention Center" man I'm sure glad I don't live in New Hanover county anymore they rake you on the taxes
Let the waste of money begin!!!!!
The way everyone is covering the groundbreaking I guess you want the people of Wilmington to be happy. Well, lets see we are getting a convention center that nobody really wants. Lets face the facts, we don't have the draw to get people to Wilmington like Myrtle Beach has. Ok now some are going to say our beaches, but lets look at it from a whole. Myrtle Beach has a lot of great golf courses, they have wonderful shopping and now that they started the amusement park we really can't compete. Now in the long run when the convention center falls, the city will just up our taxes to cover their mistake. Now I understand why the new home growth is in Brunswick County. The people in this city and the county are tired of paying for mistakes.
I do not agree at all with the convention center, and I sure as heck don't want wilmington to be like Myrtle Beach. Don't even compare the two!!
Looks like these people in New Hanover County would be working on their sewer lines first instead of building this gigantic White Elephant...Glad I live in another county Good luck Wilmington....I give it 5 years max before they figure this one out
There is so much to love about Wilmington. The one thing I really love is that all the people that are so negative leaving comments about projects like only represent a small portion of Wilmington. I'm so glad that not everyone is as negative as you guys. There should actually be a list made of all the people that can't stop talking negative about this project. Then at the door of the Convention Center if you're on the list, your not admitted in....because if the project is a success, I'm sure you'll be the first to say "I'm so glad they built this". I also disagree with the "I'm a native and know better statements." If the natives of Wilmington cared so much about this City, then why does so much of the city need to be cleaned up. Sewers are bad. Streets need repaired. A large part of the historic buildings have been razed. Huge population living in public housing. Crime in low-income area. The city is going to grow if you like it or not. If you really think things are that bad....the stop leaving comments on here and call Uhaul. Wilmington is a great place...and great things are gonna happen in the city.
"leaving comments about projects like only represent a small portion of Wilmington." Is this why it wasn't put to a vote? "stop leaving comments on here and call Uhaul." Yeah, that's real positive. If people don't agree with you they can just leave right? This convention center that is now something totally different than what was first proposed.
Wilmington use to be a great place to live. But with so many people moving here, the city would rather spend their time pondering over a convention center than the sewage and traffic problems. It is a known fact that other cities found a convention center to be a lot of expense for nothing in return. It does not live up to expectations. But our city chose to ignore that just like thery ignore other problems.
Last I checked they are working on the Sewers. Are they not allowed to work on more than one project at a time? Also, they wouldn't be able to use the hotel money to fix the sewers...so we'd end up just losing that money that's helping to pay for this. What are your sources for these Convention Centers that aren't doing well...or are you just going by the rumors and bs that others are saying?
And they couldn't use the hotel tax money on a convention center either, until the Legislature told them they could.
Wilmington WAS an OKAY place... and higher taxes are gonna happen in the city. There, fixed that for ya.