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Marriott Owner Eyes Miller & Rhoads


Procaccianti's proposal comes while the mayor continues to chastise Chicago-based ECI Development Services. That company has long planned to turn Miller & Rhoads into an upscale Hilton, but it has failed to secure financing for the project. Recently, ECI, a company of Chicago developer Gary Beller, has been working with a new partner on the project, New Orleans-based Historic Restoration Inc.

ECI has long maintained that financing the hotel's development — with a price tag of $70 million — wouldn't be a problem. But construction has yet to begin and ECI has not taken ownership of the property, which is owned and managed by the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority. The project is more than a year behind its original deadline for completion.

Pantele, who has spoken with an attorney for Procaccianti, says he isn't choosing sides. He just wants to see the Miller & Rhoads property developed.

"Two offers are better than one," Pantele says. "I just want to see that building get done. It's a trophy property."

Bill Farrar, Wilder's press secretary, says he is unaware of any new proposals, including Procaccianti's, but says the mayor is open to considering other options. In recent weeks the mayor has expressed frustration with both ECI and the Broad Street Community Development Authority.

The mayor suggested earlier this month that the city might be forced to take legal action in order to alter or void ECI's contract with the housing authority.

Although the CDA has no dominion over the Miller & Rhoads development, the proposed hotel was a key component in the decision to award ECI with a separate downtown development contract a little more than two years ago — $66.7 million in infrastructure and streetscape improvements along Broad Street, which were completed earlier this summer. As part of its compensation to issue the bonds and complete the work, ECI received $2.18 million in fees and $879,458 to cover expenses.

Procaccianti has already spent more than $12 million renovating the Richmond Marriott. The developer also owns the Sheraton Richmond West and the Norfolk Marriott Waterside, along with 22 other hotels across the country, including hotels in Chicago, Miami and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Details of Procaccianti's proposal were unavailable. Neither Procaccianti nor his attorney returned messages for comment by press time. — Scott Bass

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