McKibbon Group Drops Hotel Plan
McKibbon Hotel Group wont develop the city-owned property on Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. MHG Vice President Wes Townson notified the city today of the company's decision not to move forward on the Haywood Street project.
In a letter to Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson, Townson wrote, "Pursuant to Article B, Section 2, (a) of that certain Contract for Purchase and Sale of Real Property between the City of Asheville and McKibbon Hotel Group...we hereby terminate the agreement."
John McKibbon, chairman of McKibbon Hotel Group, explained his decision regarding the Haywood Street project:
"We're not going to develop the property on Haywood Street because of the lawsuit filed in March of this year by the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton Asheville and the Indigo Hotel Asheville. We would have proceeded with the project had the lawsuit not been filed.
I believe the lawsuit lacked factual and legal basis and amounted to contractual interference. However, knowing that the lawsuit could drag on for a year or more, we began to look for an alternative site. The delay also gave other developers an opportunity to get started on their projects before ours could begin.
We have asked the hoteliers to reimburse us and the city for the legal fees we each accrued in dealing with the lawsuit, but they have refused to do so. We have also asked them for a letter explaining why they filed the lawsuit and have received no response. We will continue along these legal avenues independent of our decision regarding the Haywood Street property."
City Manager Gary Jackson in a short written statement said, "City staff will begin the process of reassessing opportunities for this valuable public asset. This is a keystone property that is well positioned to create new opportunities and grow the citys tax base. As we move forward, the Downtown Master Plan will be our roadmap. The plan is the result of two years of active public engagement and will be an integral part of our assessment. In the interim, we will move forward with removing the blighted structures on the property."
In August 2013, the MHG-Tower partnership announced its intent to redevelop the BB&T properties in downtown Asheville. In addition to it's interest in the BB&T properties, MHG has more than 75 hotel properties throughout the United States, including the Aloft Hotel Downtown, Courtyard by Marriott and Springhill Suites in Asheville.