Who doesn’t like a nice hotel?

by YES! Weekly staff

Turndown service, high thread-count sheets, those great little bottles of high-end shampoo and lotion — we can all agree that luxury hotels are fabulous.

As to whether downtown Greensboro is in need of one, there is some difference of opinion.

But now that a few downtown Greensboro big shots have signed on with real estate developer Bridget Chisholm, Guilford County School Board member Deena Hayes, Guilford County Commission Chairman Skip Alston and the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association — a coterie that includes chef and entrepreneur Brad Semon and businessman Milton Kern, who ran for mayor in 2007 — it looks like this project has enough additional star power to move through the pipeline.

But then there’s Dennis Quaintance, a Greensboro hotelier of some repute, who told the News & Record that the numbers don’t work for a downtown luxury hotel. Quaintance, who opened the O. Henry Hotel and, later, the Proximity Hotel just a few miles from downtown without the benefit of low-interest government loans, should be given some consideration, as should the hotels that already struggle to fill rooms in a city not known for tourism.

True, things are changing around here. The ACC Museum, pending upgrades to the Natural Science Center and the opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, among other projects, will surely raise our profile among travelers. But this is not Orlando.

The new proposed location in Center City is better than the original site across Lee Street, but the move raises some troublesome issues. For one, we thought the impetus for the project was the dearth of economic activity in Ole Asheboro, the landscape of which will remain unchanged.

For another, we question why the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association is still a player in the deal, in line to collect a piece of the hotel’s theoretical profits even though it will not exist in that neighborhood.

Chisholm told YES! Weekly that the neighborhood association “bring[s] to the table a spirit and a connectivity of how we model what is in the best interest of this community.”

We have no idea what that means. In fact, it is still unclear what tangible contributions the neighborhood association will contribute to the project, though Chisholm elucidated what Ole Asheboro stands to gain from its ownership stake.

“Homeownership builds equity that can be leveraged into other kinds of ownership…. This is about wealth creation at the community level, not just at the individual level.”

Undoubtedly, Ole Asheboro will reap long-overdue benefits from this downtown luxury hotel — if it’s successful. But still it makes little sense to us why the neighborhood association gets a piece of the action for an enterprise that will exist in a different neighborhood.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration