Nanaimo city council approved a 10-year tax exemption for a hotel project next to the conference centre downtown.
Councillors voted unanimously at Monday’s meeting to approve a revitalization tax exemption agreement for PEG Developments’ Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 100 Gordon St. According to a staff report, the municipal tax exemption is valued at $450,000 per year.
PEG project managers Eric Peterson and Kevin Perry updated Nanaimo councillors on the plans for a nine-storey, steel-and-concrete structure with 155 hotel rooms, pool, spa, bistro and patio.
“I hope I’m not premature in saying this is a bright, bright day for the City of Nanaimo,” said Coun. Bill Bestwick.
Nanaimo councillors expressed satisfaction with the design plans.
“That’s a nice-looking building. I think it’ll suit our purposes, especially with 155 rooms to help with the convention centre. It’s been a while coming,” said Coun. Jim Kipp.
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Peterson said PEG is continually assessing development opportunities and said the CIty of Nanaimo’s tax exemption for the project was a deciding factor.
“Without a tax incentive, this project would not have gotten done. Without parking being supplied, this project would not have gotten done,” Peterson said.
He said the hotel will cost more than $25 million to build and when it is done, it will create 15-20 full-time jobs and another 10-15 full-time equivalent jobs.
Perry said PEG has identified O’Neill Hotels and Resorts as the tentative hotel operator and a franchise application has been submitted to Marriott. He said a project team is in place consisting of design consultants, architect, civil engineer, landscape architect and structural engineer.
“We see this as a hotel to serve the needs of the convention centre…” Perry said. “They mentioned that this has been a really big problem for them to not be able to get the larger national conventions to be able to come to this city due to lack of hotel room space.”
Peterson said the goal for a new hotel isn’t all about “stealing business” from existing hotels.
“There is some of that, sure, but it’s creating a bigger pool, it’s creating a bigger demand, creating a bigger pie, not just taking a piece of that pie,” he said.
Coun. Gord Fuller said he’s skeptical about how much impact the hotel will have on the conference centre, “but the one thing I’m not skeptical about is Nanaimo, and Nanaimo needs those rooms, because once people come here and if they do go to conventions, they’re going to see what a beautiful city it is.”
The tax exemption bylaw, adopted in 2012, was created to encourage new hotel and motel investment, promote a higher standard of overnight accommodations, enrich the visitors’ experience and reinforce a commitment to the long-term development of the tourism, according to the City of Nanaimo. Earlier this year, a six-storey hotel at 15 Front Street was also granted a 10-year tax exemption.