Officials today cut the ribbon on the Westin hotel on the Riverfront, the first new hotel to come to downtown Wilmington in 30 years.
The 180-room hotel is connected to the Chase Center and hotel supporters hope the new suites will attract more conventions, meetings, weddings and other special events to the city.
“With this hotel being an anchor here at this facility, this place is going to have all kinds of conventions and be a destination point,” said Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams.
Michael Purzycki, executive director of the Riverfront Development Corporation, has been working on the redevelopment of the Riverfront for nearly 20 years.
He said they’ve always wanted a hotel on the Riverfront but getting the right one took years to secure. In the meantime, developers pursued other projects including the Chase Center, Penn Cinema and the Riverfront Market.
He called the opening of the hotel another one of their “milestone projects.”
“The Chase Center now has vastly greater potential because all of the sudden we can say to people ‘come here and have your conference, your small convention, your association meeting,’ we could never do that before, said Purzycki. “We can say to visitors ‘we’re a visitor destination, come visit us.’ We used to say, ‘come visit us, but stay somewhere else.’”
The state has provided support to Riverfront projects since the beginning of the redevelopment and Gov. Jack Markell was on hand for the opening ceremony.
“The progress in this city over the last 10 or 15 years is incredible,” said Markell. “Places that were all boarded up are now fully occupied, you see what’s happened here, and all of the company’s that have moved in here at the riverfront.”