Manager: Unpaid taxes 'no hang-up' for Metropolitan Hotel revamp

tbarton@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 4, 2013 

Plans to spruce up the Metropolitan Hotel on Hilton Head Island will proceed unabated, despite delinquent-tax notices posted on the front of the building, according to its general manager and a business partner.

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Plans to spruce up the Metropolitan Hotel on Hilton Head Island will proceed despite delinquent-tax notices posted on the front of the building, according to its general manager and a business partner.

"We get those every year," manager Chris Roberts said with a laugh. "It's business as usual. We go to the county and pay before the tax sale comes up. Historically, we pay the tax bill a week or so before the sale every year."

The Metropolitan's owner, H2 Associates, has until Oct. 4 to pay the $989.32 tax bill for 2012, plus penalties, or the property will be auctioned at the county's tax sale, according to the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office.

It is not unheard of for a strapped business to pay its taxes at the last minute to avoid a tax auction, according to the Treasurer's Office.

New California Hotels Corp. announced June 13 it would partner with H2 Associates to renovate the 78-room hotel and convert its annex into a hostel and housing for foreign students here on work visas.

Remo Polselli, CEO of the Laguna Beach real estate development company, said renovations will occur as planned.

"In the last four years, the taxes are always paid on the last week before the" tax sale, Polselli said in a phone message. "That is not an issue. It's no hang-up. It's nothing whatsoever. ... The taxes have always been paid ... and renovations are going to be going forward, now that the (tourist) season has ended. In fact, some members of the investment group will fly into town later this week."

Polselli said construction was expected to begin in late October and be completed by spring.

Plans have not yet been submitted to the town.

Nearby residents complained this summer about the appearance of the hotel and its annex. When the partnership between H2 and New California was announced, some were hopeful -- but also skeptical -- the work would occur. Plans have been announced and fallen through before, they say. They were also concerned about Polselli's past legal and financial problems. He was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison in June 2003 and ordered to pay $2.9 million in restitution on three counts of felony tax evasion.

A tax sale is the forced collection of property tax. Before a property is sold, three tax notices are mailed. The sale is an open auction. The current year's taxes are added to the delinquent amount as a starting bid and are collected as part of the bid.


Map locates Metropolitan Hotel

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

Related content: Revamp for Metropolitan Hotel, annex announced; skeptics remain: June 15, 2013 Hilton Head residents question checkered past of new Metropolitan Hotel partner: June 19, 2013

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