Nanaimo seeks proposals for conference centre hotel project

NANAIMO – City council launches request for proposals after multiple international parties express interest in property.

The City of Nanaimo will hold a competition for the right to build a conference centre hotel downtown, with “significant interest” in the project.

The municipality announced Tuesday it will send out a request for proposals in the spring 2016 for developers interested in building a hotel at 100 Gordon St.

A market study will also be updated to provide council and developers a better understanding of opportunities and challenges in developing the hotel property and adjacent Vancouver Island Conference Centre, a press release says.

The RFP, decided on in an in-camera meeting Dec. 7, is a response to a level of interest in the property not seen before, said Mayor Bill McKay, who notes it’s significant with multiple, predominantly international parties.

He believes the interest is because of changing market conditions to interest in external investment particularly outside China and promotion of the hotel project by the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.

A number of people have asked for letters of intent to deal exclusively with them and there’s hearsay of different visions, including a hotel-condominium mix, according to McKay, who says council wants to see exactly what projects are being proposed and pick the vision it feels fits best for the community.

He also believes this process will be more transparent than just doing a single-source bidder.

“There’s a number of parties that the city and NEDC have been cultivating for some time. Now it’s time for them to get their thinking caps on and envision something that we think is going to be successful for both them and us. Something that we’re going to be proud of,” said McKay, who believes there could be up to four proposals.

Coun. Gord Fuller is thrilled with the process announced this week, and believes it should have happened a long time ago. It puts the onus on developers to come to the city with ideas instead of the city begging for ideas, he said.

He will be looking for answers, including if the city should be going after a hotel and what developers are interested in building.

“Previously we put it out and reality, we essentially sole-sourced to developers to build a convention centre hotel and we’ve given them all these perks to get them to do it and even with all the perks that we’ve given them we haven’t been successful,” he said. “To me that says something and to me this will make it clear.”

The mayor said the project will still be private and land would be sold with the intent developers will build a hotel. The market study update is expected to take three months.

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read