by Sam Hieb
Backing off from the Skip Alston-Deena Hayes dramatics surrounding the proposed downtown Greensboro hotel, the N&R’s Joe Killian writes a supposedly run-of-the mill article on the Guilford County bond authority’s meeting with hotel supporters.
Relatively routine, right? Wrong. For starters, private hoteliers Mike Weaver and Dennis Quaintance showed up to keep an eye on things. That’s when the sparks flew.
Eric Pristell, a lawyer representing the project, said the group would be able to reveal which national hotel chain would act as the “flag” for the hotel by the time it goes before state review.
Pristell said there was no need for the county bond authority to scrutinize the project as closely as banks and investors ultimately will.
“You’re not an underwriter,” Pristell said to the authority board. “That’s not your role.”
….Weaver warned that should a downtown luxury hotel fail — an independent study presented to the City Council last week suggests the business plan is not sustainable — it likely would be bought by a less prestigious chain, sit empty or be demolished.
George House, part of the hotel project’s development team, said Weaver was out of line.
“I’m sitting here listening to my competitor lecture you on your responsibility not to let our project go forward,” House said.
House traded barbs with Weaver throughout the meeting. House rose to his feet after Weaver questioned whether the city would have to pay for improvements to the downtown area to make the hotel possible.
“This is the kind of gamesmanship we have to deal with every day!” House exclaimed.
Weaver didn’t mention the other option should the hotel not make a go of it —– requesting local government subsidy. A possibility, is it not?