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Developer Abandons Plans to Renovate Prince Charles Hotel

A developer has notified city officials that he is abandoning his plans to renovate the Prince Charles Hotel and preparing to have it auctioned.


In a related matter, the hearing in a Cumberland County lawsuit for back taxes against the hotel’s owner, King David LLC, has been postponed until January.


David Levinson, the developer of Anderson Creek Club in Harnett County, said he will not pursue his plans to renovate the historic building in downtown Fayetteville.


He said an agreement with the city requires him to divest his shares in ownership of the building and have the hotel auctioned, tentatively set for January, if he determined he could not renovate it. The city had given him a Dec. 27 deadline to decide.


“It’s totally not feasible,” he said. “It’s my decision alone to make on whether it’s feasible.”


Levinson’s lawyer, Lonnie Player, said Friday that “a notification of nonfeasibility has now been sent to the city.”


Levinson, 78, had hoped the city would contribute about $2million to the cost of his plans for renovating about 80 of the hotel’s rooms into sellable “micro” suites of condominiums and offices. He initially pegged the cost at $4.5 million, which he said was feasible, but he later learned that vandals and thieves had caused about $2million in damage to the empty building. He wanted the city to pay the difference.


Levinson said he wanted to meet with the new mayor, Nat Robertson, after the elections before making a final decision. He wanted to find out if Robertson would support his proposal for the city to contribute about $2million to the cost.


“He made it crystal clear that the city was not going to contribute any money to this project,” Levinson said.


Robertson said Monday he told Levinson that he did not think the council would support spending public money for a hotel project.


Robertson said he still hopes the hotel could be saved and renovated, if it’s auctioned to a new owner, but city officials should not “stand in the way of development downtown if plans come up for a better use of the property.”


Meanwhile, a Superior Court judge has continued until Jan. 6 a hearing in the foreclosure action brought by Cumberland County against the King David limited liability corporation for back taxes and fees totaling more than $86,000.


Levinson said he is a co-owner and the manager of King David. He said the other co-owner is John Chen, a Brooklyn developer who used to own the hotel outright before he filed for bankruptcy protection last year.


King David LLC became the new owner through a reorganization plan approved by a U.S. bankruptcy court earlier this year.


Last week, a lawyer for the county asked Judge Mary Ann Tally to grant a motion for summary judgment against the hotel’s owner.


A Raleigh lawyer for the company asked to have the motion heard after the holidays, and Tally granted the delay.


In an email Friday, Player said an agreement approved earlier this year requires Levinson to “relinquish his ownership and management” in King David LLC “to Mr. Chen, and he is doing so.”


However, Levinson will retain ownership and control of another company, King David Land LLC, that owns the vacant land next to the hotel on Hay Street.


“My client is not obligated to auction that property, and it will remain the property of King David Land LLC,” Player said of Levinson.