|By Aaron Applegate, The Virginian-Pilot,
Norfolk, Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 15, 2012--VIRGINIA BEACH -- The City Council on Tuesday officially killed the controversial deal to build a four-star Hyatt hotel near the Virginia Beach Convention Center, an action that opens the door to other proposals.
While the public-private partnership was all but dead after losing political support earlier this year, the City Council's action was needed to end exclusive negotiations with Armada Hoffler, the development company that would have built the hotel.
As part of that deal, the city would have contributed nearly $67 million up front to build the $109 million hotel. Some of the money included loans the developer would have been expected to repaid.
City tourism officials say Virginia Beach is losing convention business to other areas because the city lacks a hotel next to its convention center.
Tuesday's decision means the City Council can begin considering other convention center hotel proposals, and at least one company has expressed interest in submitting one. Officials with Harmony Hospitality Inc. have said they soon will unveil a plan to renovate the existing DoubleTree by Hilton hotel they own near the convention center for use as the facility's official hotel. A Harmony spokesman said the company had no comment Tuesday night.
In a preliminary plan outlined last year, Harmony officials said they would spend about $25 million to expand and upgrade their hotel while seeking $5 million to $10 million in city funds for an enclosed walkway between the hotel and the convention center, plus other infrastructure improvements.
The Virginia Beach-based company owns 11 hotels in the region.
The City Council unanimously agreed to the resolution to terminate its agreement with Armada Hoffler. Council members did not comment on the decision.
Aaron Applegate, 757-222-5122,email@example.com
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