A North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the City of Wilmington on the embattled Convention Center Hotel.
The opinion of the three-judge panel, published earlier Tuesday, was unanimous.
When the City of Wilmington agreed to sell a parcel of land near the Wilmington Convention Center for a hotel to private developer Harmony Hospitality, City resident Glenn Wells and the owners of the nearby Hilton Hotel cried foul. Their claim: the City was selling the land below market value – subsidizing a private company with public assets.
Last year, a Superior Court Judge upheld the validity of Wilmington’s land sale – ruling it did not violate the earlier terms of a 2006 Consent Order – which laid out the rules of engagement for the convention center hotel deal. The plaintiffs appealed, and a three-judge appellate court panel ruled the same way.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says he’s ready to move forward with Harmony Hospitality as soon as possible to begin construction on what will be an Embassy Suites Hotel.
The plaintiffs could ask the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal, but city legal experts say that only about 5% of appeal petitions are heard.