ONLY ON 3: Saffo says proposed hotel ship would require funds the city doesn’t have


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The new convention center has brought in a good amount of visitors but one man says his idea will attract even more folks to the center and the rest of the Cape Fear. John Voet says his hotel ship is what Wilmington needs. He’s proposing docking the ship downtown along the river walk. But for now, Mayor Bill Saffo says the city will not be moving forward with Voet’s proposal.

“The biggest issue from my perspective is, whether it’s John or anybody else, is the infrastructure you would have to improve to bring any kind of vessel in. It’s money the city just doesn’t have right now,” Saffo said.

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That’s not what John Voet wants to hear. He says a downtown hotel ship is right for the Port City. “Wilmington and our waterfront should be taken advantage of. This is what people come here for.”

The mayor agrees it may be a great addition to downtown but he says besides the need to fund new infrastructure for the ship, he has some personal reasons why he’s hesitant to move forward. “The ships that I saw, I felt that the rooms were too small,” Saffo said.

But Voet says space is no issue and Wilmington visitors and residents will be missing out if his ship can’t dock downtown.

“It brings in outside visitors, it brings in the new prospect of event planners to book our convention center. It brings in something for Wilmingtonians to enjoy on a daily basis for special events be it weddings, be it special dinners, be it going and having a drink on the waterfront. And it’s also good for economic development on downtown as well.”