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
Drewsmith copiersplus headshot

Printing In Color Doesn’t Have To Be A Luxury

Drew Smith - Copiers Plus
Tidewaterinvestmentco merrettemoore headshot

Looking Beyond Your Financial Advisor For Private Company Investments

Merrette Moore - Tidewater Investment Company
Jasonpathfinder3

Aligning Your Investments And Your Heart

Jason Wheeler - Pathfinder Wealth Consulting

Trending News

NCino Sports Park? City To Consider Sponsorship Agreement

Cece Nunn - May 3, 2021

Biotech Startup Names New CEO

Johanna Cano - May 4, 2021

Fintech Company Forms Alliance With Money-transfer Network

Jenny Callison - May 3, 2021

Driftwood Apartments Under Contract With Cape Fear Collective

Staff Reports - May 4, 2021

Bites And Sips At Catawba Brewing In Wilmington

Jessica Maurer - May 5, 2021

In The Current Issue

Building Health Care Innovators

Those with an interest in innovation and solving health care problems can exercise their entrepreneurial spirit and earn a certificate while...


Coping With Ongoing Appliance Shortage

An appliance shortage stemming from multiple factors, COVID-19 being the major one, has been going on for the better part of a year and does...


Lewis Farms Continues The Berry Business

As many farmers in Southeastern North Carolina turned to tobacco, one local family remained true to its truck-farming roots....

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