Group pitches multiplex plan for downtown Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Howard Johnson hotel chain gauging public and city support for multimillion-dollar multiplex.

  • Jun. 15, 2015 10:00 a.m.

Howard Johnson Hotels is pushing forward a proposal to build a multimillion-dollar hotel and sports arena multiplex that could start construction by the end of 2016.

The former Tally Ho Hotel was bought in 1995 to build a conference centre, which was passed up in favour of the site now occupied by the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

This latest proposal was sparked by interest shown by the Western Hockey League in possibly bringing a second team to the Island, but also because the hotel’s parent company has subsidized the hotel’s operations for the last 18 years.

“This is probably our third or fourth version of trying to figure out what to do for redeveloping this site,” said Dan Brady, who manages Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotels in Nanaimo and Victoria.

Brady now has to gauge public support for the project, which is being called the Millstone Gateway.

Brady and hotel owner Brian Martin pitched the proposal to Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and senior city staff on Friday. Brady said he came away from Friday’s meeting feeling good and that the city appears to support the proposal.

The corporation has already purchased surrounding properties for the project, which would include a 5,000-seat arena and six-storey, 166-room hotel on about three hectares along the Millstone River near Comox Road and Terminal Avenue.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said the city wants to see the company gauge public opinion on the project by putting up a website containing a frequently asked questions section.

“I think it’s exciting,” McKay said. “I really like the idea that there’s no public funding required. They might ask us to move some sewer lines, but that’s it.”

Brady said having a second WHL team on the Island represents cost savings for the league to bring teams across the strait, but the league has not indicated it is ready to locate a team in Nanaimo.

Brady also said the existing Howard Johnson is old and needs to be replaced.

“We needed to have that meeting on Friday,” Brady said. “Now we’ll start moving forward. Timetable? It would be nice if we were getting going within the next 18 months.”

Just Posted

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read