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New Castle County wants to buy Sheraton hotel, convert it to emergency homeless shelter

From Delaware Online

The New Castle County Council plans to discuss and vote on a plan to purchase the Sheraton hotel on Airport Road and convert it into an emergency homeless shelter.

The Sheraton Wilmington South, located just off Exit 5A on I-95, is up for auction beginning Monday, according to a web listing. Bidding starts at $5.5 million. The auction ends Wednesday.

The county wants to use funding from the more than $190 million it has in “reserve allocation” from the more than $322 million it received from the CARES Act during the coronavirus pandemic.

The county, according to an agenda posted for an upcoming meeting Tuesday night, plans to purchase the hotel and operate it as “emergency shelter and temporary housing for our most vulnerable residents, and others as deemed necessary by the Department of Community Services, during and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The hotel, which just underwent a $6.4 million renovation, has 192 rooms and the property is more than 6 acres. It has a long history in Delaware despite being in operation for less than 10 years. The hotel was originally built for $25 million by principle developer Joseph L. Capano Sr. as a Radisson Hotel in 2000, but it sat empty for years after it was found to have been built, in a floodplain, one-third larger than specified in its permits.

A court battle ensued, and the owners filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

Pennsylvania-based Hersha Hospitality Management purchased the building for $15 million and converted it to a Sheraton. It opened in 2011.

It was announced in September that the hotel was going to auction.

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