COUNCIL MAKES MOVE TO GET EAST END HOTEL
“It is our feeling that this is a good investment for the City of Fredericton to acquire the property,” said Mayor Brad Woodside after the meeting. “We will be going out forthwith with a call for proposals for a new hotel development and feel very confident that we, in fact, will have a hotel.”
Council thought it had a hotel developer all lined up for the land adjacent to the convention centre a couple of years ago.
“The call for proposals went out quite some time ago for the hotel property, which included the DiGiacinto property which the city acquired,” said Woodside.
A developer conditionally bought three more properties on Queen Street for $800,000 from Gardiner Realty Ltd. to have enough space to build the hotel, said Woodside. But the developer decided to build a hotel on Bishop Drive, said the mayor.
“We spoke to Gardiner,” he said. “He is willing to give up the property.” Those properties are located at 618, 620 and 624 Queen St.
Woodside said the city can afford the $800,000 despite the tough economic times and will be repaid when a developer builds a hotel there. “This money that is being spent tonight will be flipped back very quickly,” he said. “The city is spending the money on our line of credit. We’re not borrowing.”
Woodside said council is still convinced there’s a market for a hotel in the east end despite the development of several new hotels in other parts of the city in recent years.
“Everything that we did was contingent on the package and that was the convention centre, the parking structure, and, of course, the hotel,” he said. “We’re missing that one piece of the puzzle.”
Woodside said the city has already been in contact with the other two developers that responded to the first request for proposals for the site. “There’s also other interest that’s coming forward,” he said.
The mayor congratulated council for having the foresight to make the investment. “It could sit there empty for quite some time (if the land is not acquired),” he said. “That’s not acceptable to us, it’s not acceptable to the people of Fredericton and the business community. “We are going to see that that property is filled in.”
In the meantime, city staff has beautified the empty lot adjacent to the convention centre with sod and trees.