Wilm. leaders to discuss plans for convention center hotel

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - City leaders will meet Monday to discuss the latest effort to build a hotel next to the new convention center in downtown Wilmington.

According to Mayor Bill Saffo, since the contract was terminated with developers of the Hotel Indigo, others have called expressing interest.

"We are going to see what we think we can live with, within city council," said Saffo.  "I would personally like to see a full service component.  We have a first class convention center and a great city."

Saffo said leaders will look into the possibility of having a hotel with a limited operation - meaning a building that would have rooms, but may not have a restaurant or meeting place.

Kip Damrow with the Wilmington Hospitality Assoc. disagrees with that idea.

"When associations or groups are planning conventions, they want one convention center hotel," said Damrow.  "That's why we need a full service hotel right next to the convention center where the groups can go between the hotel and convention center."

Regardless of the type of hotel, Mayor Saffo is certain the convention center will have a hotel.

"As the private sector picks up with their financing and financing becomes more readily available for the project, it's going to happen because we have a lot of interest down here," said Saffo.

While the convention center is set to debut in a year, there is still no timetable when shovels will hit the ground for a hotel.

"I haven't talked with anyone specific, but I have heard that there are some folks, various folks who are interested in trying to do something with the hotel," said Earl Sheridan, city council member. "So we'll have to just kind of think about that and how we're going to precede."

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