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
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.