NANAIMO — While the ghosts of failed hotels past have created many skeptics, there's yet another sign a hotel behind Nanaimo's downtown conference centre will come to life.
This week, Utah-based PEG Developments submitted their final building permit application for a $22-million, nine-storey hotel at 100 Gordon St. The scope of the project also increased for a third time, now calling for 172 rooms. PEG originally proposed six-storeys and 118 rooms before increasing the room count to 155 in November of last year.
Project manager Kevin Perry told NanaimoNewsNOW the decision to increase the number of rooms came after reassessing the local market.
"It was clear that there is ample demand to justify the cost of building additional rooms," Perry said.
The City said they hope to issue the permit by the end of October.
Perry said if that holds true, they aim to break ground on the project before the end of 2018. "Our timeline for construction completion will be approximately 20 months from the time that we receive our building permit."
Two hotel proposals for the previously City-owned property failed to become reality. Chinese company SSS Manhao applied for a building permit but never finished the process after missing several construction deadlines.
Perry was asked what he would say to Nanaimo residents who simply don't believe a conference centre hotel will ever come to fruition.
"The site at Gordon Street has had a history of potential projects with ambitious design ideals but were ultimately economically unfeasible. The Courtyard by Marriott hotel is different — it is rooted in tasteful design that is practical to build and sustain. Our partnership with Marriott Hotels, the world’s largest hotel chain, is another differentiator (sic) between our project and the projects proposed by previous developers."
Council previously approved a 10-year property tax exemption for the hotel, estimated to save the developer roughly $4.5 million. To earn the exemption, the hotel must be open by December 2020. An agreement tied to the sale of the land also gives the City the option to repurchase the property if PEG has not spent $1 million on physical improvements to the property by December 2019.
On Twitter: @domabassi
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