Sheraton South Hotel

New Castle County wants to use CARES Act funds to purchase the Sheraton Hotel near New Castle and turn it into an emergency homeless shelter.

The 192-room Sheraton Wilmington South hotel, visible from I-95, on Airport Road is up for sale. Bidding in the online auction starts today and ends Wednesday, October 28, 2020. The price starts at $5.5 million, less than the cost of the $6.4 million renovation the hotel recently underwent, according to an online auction listing.

County council is slated to discuss the initiative at its community services meeting and vote on the usage of an undetermined amount of COVID funds to purchase the hotel at its virtual meeting Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. It's unclear what price the county might be willing to pay for the property located at 365 Airport Road, an area prone to flooding.

New Castle County received $322.8 million in CARES Act funding. The hotel would be paid for from the county's COVID reserve allocation fund, which stands at $190.2 million, according to the ordinance.

“We must look everywhere to keep our most vulnerable populations safe and protected from the virus throughout this crisis,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “This is part of that effort.”

The Department of Community Services has had to relocate hundreds of people experiencing homeless due to the pandemic to motels and hotel rooms, according to county officials.

"The New Castle County Executive’s CARES Act Task Force, Committee to Assist the Most Vulnerable recognized the lack of shelter options for those experiencing homelessness and the need for reliable sources of emergency shelter and temporary housing to shelter in place, quarantine, isolate, and recuperate from COVID-19 infections, and further, to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public by limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and recommended acquiring and converting hotels or motel for such housing needs," the ordinance states.