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About 240 Developers Have Requested Forms to Show "Expression of Interest" in the
 172 room Hampton Marina Hotel, Owned by the City of Hampton, Virginia
By Matthew Sturdevant, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 4, 2007 - HAMPTON -- -- Hampton may be able to sell the former Radisson hotel early next year, having drawn interest from several developers and hoteliers as the Dec.14 deadline for proposals draws near.

The city's Economic Development Corporation took ownership of the former Radisson, now called Hampton Marina Hotel, on Oct.1, after settling a lawsuit against the previous owners, Olde Hampton Hotel Associates.

Hampton sued Olde Hampton for $3.335million in May, for money loaned to the hotel during a public-private partnership that lasted more than 20years. In settling the lawsuit, the city's Economic Development Corp. took ownership of the hotel along with about $16million in liabilities.

The city has marketed Hampton Marina Hotel, located at 700 Settlers Landing Road, and a parking garage at 720 Settlers Landing Road, since early October.

The city contracted with a broker and an attorney to solicit requests in two ways: either a hotelier could buy the property and operate it as a hotel, or a developer could rebuild the property for some other use.

After the deadline for proposals and bids, a broker-attorney team will make recommendations to city staff and the Hampton City Council will make a final decision.

In order to make the deal more attractive to a developer, the city is also willing to sell a visitor's center at 710 Settlers Landing Road, said Assistant City Manager James A. "Pete" Peterson.

The hotel is assessed at $12.1million, the parking garage at $3.09million, and the visitor's center at $2.287million. If the assessed value is comparable to market value, the hotel and parking garage could sell for about $14.39million, or all three properties could sell for $17.48million.

However, the hotel hasn't been reassessed in the past two years, partly because of the uncertainty of its future and partly because the city did not get income statements for those years, said City Assessor Richie McKeithen.

The former Radisson has drawn some interest since the city has tried to sell it, said David Mumford, the broker hired by Hampton to market the hotel.

"There is regional interest and there is national interest," Mumford said.

About 240 developers have requested forms to show they have an "expression of interest," said William W. "Bill" Harrison Jr., an attorney hired by Hampton to work with Mumford on selling the hotel. In addition, 17 different parties attended a preliminary conference for people interested in bidding on the property, Harrison and Mumford said.

Interest in buying the hotel is partly due to the alternative expense of building a similar hotel from scratch, Mumford said. The former Radisson may need millions of dollars in renovations, but the total cost of renovations and sale price would still be less than the cost of building a hotel with the same materials, due to the rising cost of construction materials, Mumford said .

Mumford said he thinks it could cost $150,000 per room to build the Hampton Marina Hotel today with all its amenities and on its waterfront location along the Hampton River. The hotel has 172 rooms, which would be $25.8million at Mumford's estimate.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

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