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Council discusses new options on convention center hotel


Construction on the Wilmington convention center continues to move along, but there are still no plans for a neighboring hotel.

City Council met Monday to discuss its options after pulling out of an agreement with Wilmington River Group last month.

Council has to decide what kind of hotel will go next to the convention center and some say they want nothing less than a top-notch facility.

Wilmington City Council met Monday to discuss its options for planning a hotel next to the new convention center. The city pulled out of a deal with Wilmington River Group last month, after the developer couldn’t produce a proper letter of credit.

“We need to take our time, not panic, and move forward in a thoughtful way,” said Margaret Haynes of City Council.

Many want to see a full service hotel accompany the convention center.

“It has a full time restaurant, lobby area, safety, security for all travelers. You don’t have to go out of the hotel to get your needs met,” Haynes said.

“In marketing this convention center, we’re going to be competing with cities who have full service hotels near or on the site, so to help us in our marketing effort, we need to go ahead and put that in,” added Ron Sparks.

Councilman Jim Quinn said they may have to settle for less than they really want because of the economy, but Laura Padgett said they shouldn’t sell themselves short.

“Having a hotel on site will be beneficial to the long term future of the convention center,” said Bob McClintock of the Convention Center Management Group.

Ron Sparks says he’d like to see the bid process start as soon as possible and council members have been hearing from developers asking about the project since the previous deal fell through.

“We’re going to have a more sophisticated type of program coming here, or convention coming here, if we can have a first class hotel,” Haynes said.

The convention center is projected to be financially stable on its own for the few first years, without a hotel next to it.

Some say that’s even more reason not to rush into anything.

Council will take the next two weeks to think over the information that was presented to them today, then meet again.

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Story summary

videoConstruction on the Wilmington convention center continues to move along, but there are still no plans for a neighboring hotel.

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