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Wilmington City Council green-lights funding for convention center construction

READ MORE: Wilmington City Council green-lights funding for convention center construction
The Downtown Convention Center is one step closer to becoming a reality. Wednesday Wilmington City Council approved more than $6 million to begin phase one of the construction. In the end, City Council agreed to fund initial construction but there was a debate among City Council members. The current convention center plan is without a hotel and some members say that's not the convention center plan they want to see go forward. "For the last few days I have wrestled with the issue of whether or not this was really the dream I signed on to support," Council member Laura Padgett said. "And it really isn't." Padgett is a long-time supporter of the convention center. However, she expressed concerns that approving funding to begin construction without plans for a hotel wouldn't be the best thing for a project that's been in the making for nearly a decade. Instead, she asked council to wait to see the hotel portion of it rebid. "We've gotten this far and we've spent a lot of money and a lot of time but we but we don't have a first class, first quality hotel," Padgett said. The original developer, Armada Hoffler, backed out of an agreement to provide a first-class hotel. Currently there are several companies interested in building a hotel here but no firm deal is in place. Some council members say when convention center construction begins, the hotel portion will follow. "Lets get our convention center, we've had enough vacillating and and arguing it's time to take action and do something," Council member Jim Quinn said. The funding passed by a six-to-one vote. Pat Delair was the lone no vote. In the meantime, the project manager says the construction could begin as early as a month. That construction would include leveling the dirt pile, and building the parking deck. The ordinance will have a second reading on November 20.

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That bunch of egg-heads in

That bunch of egg-heads in Wilmington have been talking about a convention center for the last 25 or 30 years and have spend thousands of dollars on surveys to see if would be Beneficial for New Hanover county to have one. They all came back saying that it would not be to the best interest of the county to have a convention center and that it would not support its self. But as usual they keep doing stupid things.

Politics at it's worst

City Council now has their heads in the cookie jar with this convention center. I think it borders on a criminal act. Taxpayers money is now being spent on something totally different than what was first presented. "Lets get our convention center, we've had enough vacillating and arguing it's time to take action and do something," Council member Jim Quinn said. How arrogant. And for Laura (poop pipe) Padgett and the others to vote to move forward with this "White Elephant" just shows how inept they really are at running a city.

Who is the contractor?

With Hoffler out of the picture...Who is the contractor on the intial 6 million? Anybody from the City of Wilmington, or at least New Hanover County? If we are going to spend the money, are we going to keep it local???


There is not a contractor in this area big enough to do a job like that. They are also not commercial builders. (to this extreme) They are always out of state or if your lucky you may find one in Raleigh.

not big enough????

you are uninformed we have at least 4 contractors in this area qualified to construct this project the problem is the under paid workers that will have to build this project

No hotel first? Sounds like

No hotel first? Sounds like the beginning of another Mayfair without the roads to get you there. Where did the $6 million initially come from any way to start funding this fiasco..hotel taxes already collected???

no hotel first

If you didn't vote, shut up!

Not a big enough convert hall - WASTE of money..

One of the original goals in planning was to design a concert facility so that large name entertainers would come to Wilmington. This would lower ticket prices for large names during the Azalea Festival and many other times throughout the year. Looks like because of very poor planing and design we'll be crammed into Trask until a private group does it right..... If you build this... they will not come............ There is NOT enough room in the current design. The plan is pathetic.

Re: Not a big enough convert hall...

Yes, that was the original plan. Now it's bait and switch. It has been recently lightly stated that there will be no concerts at this convention center. This convention center is not for "we the people", it is for them, "big business"

Are you kidding? no one

Are you kidding? no one wants it but city council members..

Re; Convention Center

What happened to the Convention Center publicly supported a few years back? You know, the big one with a hotel. What we are building now is merely a small meeting space with a parking deck. This is not a convention center. Once again, Wilmington City Council is rushing through something to get it done without regard to what's best for the city. We need the downtown infrastructure complete before this is built. If we can't afford to build a large enough convention center (that doesn't look like an airport hanger,) and one that attracts a top-tier hotel, then we don't need to be building one at all. Why do these people have a problem with waiting for the right time? Save the hotel-tax money for a few more years and then build what we really need: a convention center - not a small unattractive meeting space.

What a fine group of

What a fine group of spendthrifts we have in the Wilmington City Council. I read where Laura Padgett commented that the voters have spoken & supported this project. Get a clue. The voter turnout was dismal. I'm so sick of Wilmington politics that I only voted to try and get rid of some of the dead wood (Pat Delair excepted--she kept things interesting). Voters like myself were in the minority---most people stayed away from the polls and the only ones that voted, well, who knows why they voted like they did. Look around right now---the economy is not conducive to this white elephant. Will we have to ring the center with Porta-Johns because the sewers are backing up? Mark my words right now---this 'project' will spend millions & NEVER make money: and of course the Wilmington taxpayer will be the one footing the bill. And people--PLEASE get out there & VOTE.

Gosh!!!I moved away 7 years

Gosh!!!I moved away 7 years ago and you people still talking about the convention center in your small little town....You people would go crazy if you moved to F.L...Talk about growth...Doese not even compare