City council extends agreement with Harmony Hospitality - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

City council extends agreement with Harmony Hospitality

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -Council members agreed to extend the city's contract with Harmony Hospitality, the private company building the convention center hotel in downtown Wilmington.

The memorandum of understanding will be extended through April, an additional three months. This will give the developer more time to complete its financing.

A representative from Harmony told council at a meeting Tuesday night that the group is spending $32.5 million on the project. Of that, $9 million will come from a federal program called EB5.

Harmony reps explained they needed the extension with the city because there is a hold up at the federal level with getting paperwork approved to get money for the hotel through the program.

The federal program gives permanent residency to people who invested at least a million dollars (or at least $500,000 in a designated zone) to a new commercial project in the US.

The program allows those foreign investors to bypass the eight year waiting list for a green card and bring their families to America.

Only certain areas can utilize EB5 money. Wilmington is eligible due to the unemployment rate.

The program has been in place since 1990, started by President George H.W. Bush.

Harmony Hospitality plans to build a $33.6 million, 186-room Embassy Suites. According to the City of Wilmington, the proposed 163,000 square foot hotel would include a second story, full service restaurant and 6,000 square feet of meeting space.

The all-suite hotel would be about the same height as the nearby Hilton Hotel.

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