WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Harmony Hospitality Inc. broke ground on a new convention center hotel Friday.
The developer, along with city officials, met at the site where the 186-room, full service Embassy Suites Hotel will be constructed.
"It's going to bring a lot of people here for the conventions and for the convention center, but it's going to be a great asset and addition to downtown Wilmington," said Mayor Bill Saffo. "This has been in the works for over five years."
Saffo said Friday the city lost conventions because there is no hotel with the center.
The privately owned $36 million hotel will include a full-service restaurant, roof top bar, pool and additional meeting space.
Malissa Talbert with the City of Wilmington said construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks. The hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2017.
Wilmington City Council approved the agreement with Harmony Hospitality in December 2014, which was delayed several months due to a legal challenge from Wilmington resident Glenn Wells and the owners of the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.
In July 2015, construction was cleared to begin after an appeals court ruling found the city in conformance with a 2006 legal agreement that outlined how the hotel could be built.
The hotel is expected to bring in an estimated $6.4 million in property and sales tax over the next 10 years, 346 construction jobs, and 207 jobs after construction is completed.