WILMINGTON — After attempting to reconcile plans for a 75-foot hotel with concerned neighbors, the developer of the Galleria project says it has no further plans to apply for a special use permit.
A high-end hotel has long been discussed as part of the major mixed-use project on the former Galleria mall property, located on Wrightsville Avenue between Eastwood and Military Cutoff roads. In September, State Street Companies, along with President and CEO Jeff Kentner, submitted plans showing the location of a proposed hotel on the site of the former ABC store; in December, State Street submitted a Special Use Permit (SUP) to exceed the 55-foot height limit of the property’s current urban mixed-use zoning.
Recently, State Street withdrew the SUP application; Kentner confirmed the company was considering moving the hotel to the eastern side of the property. The move would require new technical plans and another SUP application.
However, State Street was apparently unable to find a configuration that would satisfy all neighboring property owners.
“The SUP is dead. There are enough headwinds in the development business and we do not want any conflict with the neighbors so we are abandoning the quest for additional height,” Kentner said.
Kentner said that deciding not to pursue the height increase allowance would mean losing a flagship hotel and would have an impact on the project.
“In our opinion, this is extremely unfortunate because it leads to a substantially less sophisticated hotel product. We had a commitment from a flag that would have exponentially raised the standard for this market, but that commitment was subject to the increase in height. With a limitation on height, the ‘wow’ factor is lost. There is no rooftop bar and the ambiance is not maximized,” Kentner said.
Kentner confirmed the project would go ahead.
“But it will be a nice product. In summary, the height limitation eliminates our ability to attract an upscale hotelier but it keeps the neighbors happy. I guess there is something to be said about that,” Kentner said.
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