Quaintance's downtown hotel envy

Dennis Quaintance, e-mail to Greensboro Assistant City Manager Andy Scott, Jan. 12:

“My jaw hit the floor a couple of different times when I learned that the financial mechanisms in play were different than you explained to us. I’m not really angry about this. My guess is that it was just an honest misunderstanding. It was just what you thought was so. Yet I am disappointed in that if we’d known earlier what we know now, we probably would have gotten busy and put together our own project (smaller initial phase), three variations of which have been in the work for years. My bet is that it was just an honest misunderstanding. We probably would have had enough time if we’d started earlier. I want to explain my feelings about that and make sure that we are ‘clean.’ If we’d started back in the early winter, we’d likely be ahead of this other project now but since we sat on our hands, they have lapped us and will possibly suck a lot of the various allocations away prior to our being able to belly up. Plus, even our long-term investment idea of making sense out of a smaller project that surely wouldn’t make money for years but would be justified with the eventual expansion potential and lower basis, wouldn’t work if new inventory is added to the market. (In fairness, if this other project had stayed on Lee Street, we probably would have stayed on the sidelines because entering then might have made us look like a party pooper from the Old Asheboro Neighborhood Association’s perspective. We are sincerely respectful of their point of view.)"

This makes it clear that Quaintance and fellow hotel developer Mike Weaver are envious of the proposed downtown hotel project, would have liked to have done it themselves, are concerned that Chisholm's group will corner a lot of the bond allocation, and could be contemplating submitting their own request for bond allocation if they can get the city council or the industrial authority to kill Chisholm's deal.

I'm organizing my notes, and plan to contact Quaintance to ask him for clarification.

UPDATE: Ed Cone writes: "The competitive aspect is pretty well understood." Richard Barron has cited the above-referenced e-mail in a Jan. 30 News & Record article. The e-mail is buried at the end of the article and heavily qualified by Quaintance's explanation that he was speaking hypothetically rather than outlining a concrete intention.


Ed Cone said...

It's not just that the email has been mentioned before, but that Quaintance was on the record about his interest before the email was even sent.

"Quaintance was interested in putting a smaller hotel downtown, but the City brushed him off because he didn't have a plan in place by mid-December."

Published at my blog January 6.

Jordan Green said...

Sure. I'm not really interested in debating who reported it first, or whether Quaintance has been on record about this. But I think the full text demonstrates the extent to which Quaintance has a stake in this deal. And that has so far been under-emphasized in much of the reporting on this controversy.

It appears to me that Quaintance and Weaver have contradicted themselves somewhat, on one hand arguing that the proposed hotel is not viable and on the other that it will put the Marriott at risk. Notwithstanding Quaintance and Weaver's arguments to the contrary, according to the HVS report, it's the O. Henry and Proximity hotels that are the primary competitors with the new hotel, not the Marriott.

Ed Cone said...

It's not about who reported it first, but that it's been on the public record for a month already, and Quaintance was the one who put it out there to begin with.

Highlighting the competitive angle is useful, to a point. But ultimately the question is about the viability of the proposed project.

Unknown said...

It doesn't matter who is proposing it -- it's a bad idea. And using the recovery bonds is just plain wrong. If anything this should serve to defeat any future request by Quaintance or others for a similar project using the recovery bonds. Of course, if anyone wants to go after this project with private money -- good luck. That's just not what is going on here. Tax free bonds impact us as taxpayers. If there was no cost to taxpayers, why not let us all issue tax free bonds? Because the govt doesn't get the tax income on those revenue streams. How about letting me not pay taxes next year?