Update 6:30 a.m. — City Council unanimously approved the resolution as part of its consent agenda during its Tuesday night meeting.
WILMINGTON — As Wilmington continues to grow and attract new developments, especially those in Downtown, finding parking will become increasingly difficult, even with the city and county-owned parking decks. But the general public could be losing 50 spots from a city-owned parking deck if City Council agrees to rent the spaces out of the Wilmington Convention Center Parking Deck to Aloft Hotel.
City Manager Sterling Cheatham submitted a resolution to council for approval of the agreement which would grant Wilmington Hospitality Associates, the developer of Aloft Hotel the spots for a 30-year term. The hotel would also have the option of renewing its contract with the city for two 10-year periods as well.
While the city would effectively lose 50 parking spaces, Wilmington Hospitality Associates would be required to pay for the spaces, the cost for the first five years will be $78,000 annually totaling $390,000 over that period.
The selling of reserved spaces to private entities is nothing new in Wilmington, reserved spaces can be purchased by individuals or companies. Since the hotel would be purchasing so many spaces it would qualify as a bulk long-term user and would be subject to parking rates set by council.
If the city ever needed the spaces back for special events, the agreement does grant the right to buy back the spaces as needed, provided the hotel is not using them.
According to Councilman Paul Lawler, the allotment of these spaces would not have an impact on operations of the convention center.
“In the agenda briefing Monday Morning I asked staff if this dedication of spaces to Aloft would have an impact on convention center operations. Staff responded that it would not. The City has a similar arrangement with the convention center hotel dedicating spaces in the deck to that hotel (Embassy Suites),” Lawler said.
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