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Rendering of the Hotel Ballast Wilmington lobby. (Photo: Sotherly Hotels Inc.)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Change is coming to perhaps Wilmington’s best known hotels.

Owner Sotherly Hotels announced Friday a 10-year franchise agreement with Hilton to rebrand the Hilton Riverside as the Hotel Ballast Wilmington.

It will be a part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton which is a portfolio of upscale hotels.

The hotel is currently undergoing a $8.5 million renovation. The conversion to Hotel Ballast should be done by spring.

“We are pleased to enter into an agreement with Hilton to extend the relationship at our Wilmington, North Carolina asset,” Drew Sims, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said in a news release. “This action is consistent with our strategy to rebrand our assets to offer a unique local experience for our guests. In this instance we retain the power of the Hilton reservation system, via its new Tapestry Collection by Hilton, while modifying our product and service to emphasize the history of Wilmington through the application of Southern Hospitality. We believe this will result in an opportunity for higher rates, leading to more profits for our shareholders.”

According to Sotherly Hotels, planned guestroom upgrades include hardwood floors, elevated bedding packages, and high-end marble bathroom finishes, while the hotel’s meeting spaces will receive new furniture, carpeting, and lighting.

The hotel opened in 1970 as the Timme Plaza Motor Inn. Hilton Hotels acquired the property a short time later and renamed it the Wilmington Hilton Riverside in 1970.

The announcement comes as an Embassy Suites nears completion just up the street at the Wilmington Convention Center. Other hotels have recently opened downtown with more in the works.

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