ATLANTIC BEACH - The former Sheraton hotel was auctioned off late Wednesday morning. The Newport Group Inc., a company based out of Augusta, Georgia, purchased the property at the Carteret County Courthouse. The company was the only bidder; about 25 people attended the auction. The property was purchased for $4.56 million.
This comes a year and a half after the hotel was damaged by Hurricane Irene. Extensive repair was done on the hotel, but legal troubles have lead to the hotel's foreclosure.
Cotton Construction U.S.A. Inc. field a civil complaint in Carteret Superior Court, alleging the Sheraton never paid $1.7 million. The company was hired after Irene caused severe water damage inside the hotel and to the roof.
Now, tourism officials are excited for what a new owner of the building could bring to the area. Some local business owners are also excited. They think it could help revive tourist visits to the part of the island. Newport Group Vice President of Operations Marty Matfess says it is still early to devulge details, but they do have a definite plan for the building.
"We do plan on opening it as a hotel in the very near future." said Matfess. "We are really excited about it, it is a beautiful hotel the locations great being on the beach is just wonderful."
There is a 10-day period where another bidder could purchase the property; after that period, the Newport Group will be the owners. The new owner hopes to reopen the building as a hotel, but no plans have been released.
The Newport Group also owns the DoubleTree in downtown New Bern.