Is the city buying the Quality Inn?
Hampton isn't directly buying the older hotel on Coliseum Drive; it's being bought by the Economic Development Authority. Governed by a citizen board, the EDA is charged with administering land sales and development. The board approved the purchase of the Quality Inn at its meeting Sept. 18, 2018.
The action will further two of the city's development goals:
- The need for more modern, quality hotels to support the nearby Hampton Roads Convention Center and Hampton's growing sports tourism.
- Accommodating new development in the booming Coliseum Central district.
For the record, the money for the sale is coming from the city. The purchase will be funded by public funds that City Council appropriated to the Economic Development Authority on Sept. 12 specifically for Coliseum Drive redevelopment.
Q: Why not leave the hotel there?
A: Developers have identified older, rundown properties on Coliseum Drive as deterrents to investment in other properties in the district. Some of the older hotel properties in the area, including the Quality Inn, have been attracting crime. The city needs a larger commercial base to increase annual tax revenue without impacting residents — and to provide jobs.
Q: What will the Economic Development Authority do with the property?
A: The property includes the hotel, which will close as soon as the sale goes through, and a commercial building with offices that are rented to a variety of businesses. The Economic Development staff will visit each of those businesses and work with them to find new locations in the city. As soon as feasible, the buildings will be demolished.
Q: So we will have a big empty lot?
A: Not for long. As the economy improves, we are starting to see the market for vacant land in the area grow. The city’s staff already has had conversations with developers interested in building in the Coliseum Central area, where there is very little vacant land.
Q: Will it be another hotel?
A: We don’t know. That depends on the interest from private developers and the market. We do know that the area around the convention center needs more hotels to increase the convention business and its tax revenue.
Q: Is business in the area really booming? How do we know there is demand?
A: Peninsula Town Center continues to expand, adding new buildings. Some that have opened since 2017 are Smashburgers, Mission BBQ, First Watch, 80/20 Juice Bar, Twisted Crab and Juan’s Mexican Restaurant. Floor & Décor is a new superstore for flooring. Sky Zone indoor trampoline park is under construction. And the Element Hotel and a new apartment building are going up on the former Macy’s site. In Riverdale, we will still get a new Kroger and some other retailers that haven’t been announced yet.
Q: What is the price of the Quality Inn?
A: The EDA will buy the hotel for $5.635 million. That’s within 2 percent of the assessed value of $5.518 million (assessments are done at a certain point in time, so they lag the current market). To be sure it was a fair price, the EDA hired a third-party expert who confirmed the value.
Q: But it will be worthless once the hotel is gone. How does that make sense?
A: Hampton is an old city, with very little land left that can be developed. The only way we can get new development is to tear down older places and rebuild. The goal is that any new development would be worth more, increasing the commercial property (and other) tax revenue that help pay for city services.
Q: Are the Hooters, Waffle House, Red Roof Inn or Holiday Inn Express included in the purchase?
A: No. These properties are separately owned and are not part of the purchase.
Published Oct. 18, 2018