Print
Real Estate - Commercial

Convention Center Hotel Dispute: Appeals Court Rules In City's Favor

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 16, 2015
Update: this version of the story contains Harmony Hospitality's response to the court's ruling.

The state Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in the city of Wilmington's favor in a legal dispute involving the planned convention center hotel, city officials announced Tuesday.

At issue was a 2006 legal agreement that outlined how the privately owned hotel could be built. Last year, the Wilmington City Council approved an agreement with Harmony Hospitality Inc., to buy land and construct a 186-room, full-service Embassy Suites Hotel next to the Wilmington Convention Center. Sotherly Hotels, owner of Hilton Wilmington Riverside, had challenged the city's agreement to sell the land to Harmony. The sale was upheld in Superior Court, but then appealed to the N.C. Court of Appeals.

“We’re ecstatic about the court’s strong opinion concerning the strength and validity of the city’s legal position on this issue and we’re ready to move forward," said mayor Bill Saffo of the Tuesday ruling. "We will work with Harmony to move as quickly as possible to begin construction on the hotel so that we can begin to realize the economic benefits of this important project.”

Much of the city’s legal argument hinged upon the economic growth the hotel is expected to bring, including an estimated $6.4 million in property and sales tax revenues over the next 10 years; 346 hotel construction jobs; and 207 jobs when the hotel is completed.

In February last year, a lawyer for Sotherly said in a letter that the city was violating the 2006 decree with its proposed “below market purchase price” offered to Harmony.
 
The court filed the ruling Tuesday stating that primary arguments of the appeal were “wholly unpersuasive," according to the city's announcement.  

"In what the city’s legal advisors call a very strongly worded opinion, the court went on to state several times in the 22-page ruling that the city does not violate the original 2006 legal agreement because 'Wilmington is not subsidizing or underwriting the hotel,'" the release said.
 
The city also said Tuesday that while the plantiffs could, within 35 days, ask the N.C. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the ruling, the city’s legal advisors pointed out that the court agrees to hear only about 5 percent of appeal petitions.  

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Harmony Hospitality's president, Page Johnson II, said that his company will "move swiftly" to develop the new Embassy Suites Hotel. "We have instructed the civil engineers to move as quickly as possible to obtain site approval," he said.
 

Story On The Map

Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Jeremytomlinson enfuse headshot

Defend And Invest You Technology Strategy For 2022

Jeremy Tomlinson - Enfuse Technology Solutions
Dallasromanowski headshotcopy

The Common Element Among Unique and Successful Businesses

Dallas Romanowski - Cornerstone Business Advisors
Mikestonestreetcropped 862150530

Questions About Filing Your Association's Federal Income Taxes? We've Got Answers

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)

Trending News

National Retailer Coming To Former Earth Fare Space

Cece Nunn - Jan 24, 2022

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier, Tiki Bar Under Contract 

Johanna F. Still - Jan 24, 2022

WeWork Plans To Buy Common Desk

Johanna Cano - Jan 25, 2022

Firm To Convert Student Housing; Area Racks Up More Apartment Sales

Cece Nunn - Jan 25, 2022

Joe Loves Lobster Rolls Closes, Sandwich Shop Filling BSL Store

Scott Nunn - Jan 26, 2022

In The Current Issue

Beer Garden Rising From Deep Roots

The home of a former Esso station is expected by early this summer to open as The Eagle’s Dare, a bar and beer garden....


Working To Embrace Sustainability

Climate change, development and growth are cutting deep into society’s psyche, and hospitality industry leaders want to be a part of the sol...


App Enhances Guest Interactions

After taking a personal trip that included a stay at a hotel, Jose Quiros was surprised to find that the hotel industry was still using trad...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100