- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - Newport Harbor Corp. has sold the Newport Yachting Center, saying it wants to concentrate on its core hospitality businesses and won’t lease the waterfront venue back for concerts and festivals it said aren’t compatible with the city’s noise ordinance.

The decision was announced Tuesday, after the yachting center agreed to plead no contest to charges that 10 summertime concerts violated the city’s noise ordinance.

The center is known for putting on events such as the Newport Concert Series and the Newport Summer Comedy Series.

Alexander Walsh, the Yachting Center’s lawyer, told the Newport Daily News the center spent about $180,000 to buffer three sides of the tent that encloses the stage, install panels to reduce sound and make other changes.

The development firm the Peregrine Group has purchased the property from Newport Harbor Corp.

Newport Harbor Corp. President and CEO Paul O’Reilly said in a statement Tuesday the company wants to invest in its expanding restaurant and hotel operations and regarding the noise ordinance, it could not commit to a long-term lease and invest capital into an area that has such an unpredictable future.

Evan Smith, head of the regional visitors’ bureau Discover Newport, said the diversity of the events at the center drove visitors to Newport. He said he expects the loss to be felt throughout the hospitality industry, which will lead to layoffs locally.

O’Reilly said Newport Harbor Corp. will continue to operate the Newport International Boat Show, the Charter Yacht Show, The Mooring, The Smoke House and the Newport Yachting Center private events business at the Sunset Terrace by leasing back the land from the new owner.

The sale is expected to close in November.

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