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
Dallas headshot 300x300

How To Be Sure You Are Leaving Your Business In Good Hands

Dallas Romanowski - Cornerstone Business Advisors
Alycephillipsnew2

Trustees Can Face Tricky Technical And Personal Challenges

Alyce Phillips - Old North State Trust LLC
Robindavisccu1 1011944433

CCU’s Approach To Data Security: Everyone Plays A Role

Robin Davis - Corning Credit Union (CCU)

Trending News

Businesses File To Be Essential Amid State Stay-at-home Order

Christina Haley O'Neal - Apr 6, 2020

Grant Program Launched To Help Downtown Wilmington Businesses

Cece Nunn - Apr 6, 2020

BIZTALK: Banking On Crisis Loan Programs

Staff Reports - Apr 6, 2020

In The Current Issue

Flurry In The Wake Of Fed Moves

As the Federal Reserve took action in mid-March to re­store public confidence in the U.S. economic system, two local financial advisers prov...


Area Attorneys Chosen For 2020 Super Lawyers List

Another legal industry accolade that comes out each year is the Super Lawyers list, which is a publication of Thomson Reuters....


Survey Seeks Workforce Info

Businesses around a six-county region are being encouraged to participate in an analysis of the workforce and employment challenges in South...

Book On Business

The 2020 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2019 Health Care Heroes
August 26, 2019 Power Breakfast: A Healthy Sale?
2019 WILMA Leadership Accelerator
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`