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Convention Center hotel land valued much higher than proposed sale price

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Is the land deal for the site of a convention center hotel a better deal for Wilmington or the hotel developer?

A recent appraisal commissioned by the city shows the land is worth much more than what the city is offering to sell it for.

“If you use the $1.32 million evaluation, it means that at $579,000 the city would only be capturing 45 percent of the lands value,” said Matthew Davis, an attorney for Sotherly Hotels, the parent company of the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.

Sotherly Hotels has spent the past several months challenging the city’s sale of the land for the proposed convention center hotel.

“We feel like our concerns have been validated based on the city’s own new appraisal, which values the property at $1.32 million,” Davis said.

The city picked Virginia-based Harmony Hospitality to develop the hotel back in 2011.

In a statement a city spokeswoman said, “At this point, there has been no finalized agreement or negotiated price for the land the city owns adjacent to the convention center. As a matter of course, appraisals are provided as professional opinion, but the final value of properties are generally determined by what buyers and sellers both agree upon.”

Davis says such a deal would cost taxpayers more than $800,000 in lost revenue.

“Such a steep discount really creates two problems,” Davis said. “The first is it means the city would be leaving about 800,000 in lost profits on the table.”

We tried to get comments from several city council members including Earl Sheridan, Kevin O’Grady and Charlie Rivenbark, but our calls for comment have not been returned.

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