A report says 'there is a demand.'
The City of Frederick plans to move forward with a downtown hotel and conference center. A study prepared for the Maryland Stadium Authority was released on Thursdayat City Hall.. It says a hotel with 200 rooms and 15,000 square feet of meeting space could bring in $1.9-million in tax revenue, and create 280 jobs, not all of them affiliated with the hotel. "We think, as the study will show, that this project has potential for significant economic benefit," says Michael Frenz, the Executive Director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
The report says the hotel could have a $25-million economic impact.
The study was an update one completed in 2010. It came at the request of the City of Frederick, with technical assistance grant funds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
The city was acting on behalf of the Hotel Advisory Team, chaired by Earl Robbins. "A full service hotel with sufficient meeting space to hold business conferences and events was deemed critical to retaining, expanding and attracting businesses and jobs to Frederick," he says. "Something we all hold dear: the ability to live, work and play in Frederick."
But Robbins points out that this hotel will not be built or operated by the city. "The proposed full service downtown hotel is to be privately owned, and operated with no annual subsidy from the government," he says.
But supporters of the project acknowledge that it will need some government support, such as in the area of infrastructure.
The study was prepared for the Maryland Stadium Authority by Hospitality and Gaming Solutions, and Crossroads Consultants. While saying that the project will benefit Frederick, Susan Sieger with Crossroads says a lot of it will depend on whether there's an interest from hotel operators. "We can go through this and see everything on paper, but if no one truly expresses an interest in developing it, that's also a tell tail sign," she says. But, she continues, "several national brands have expressed an interest in potential development."
The City of Frederick will be moving forward on this project. Economic Development Director Richard Griffin says the city will put out a request for a proposal this fall, around October, for a builder and a hotel operator. "The intent is that by the end of 2012, we'll have selected a site, a development team, and we'll be well on our way to putting together a project that is tangible in the sense of the fact that we can start to put numbers to construction and design," he says.
Griffin also says the construction on the project could begin in 2014, and be completed by 2015. He calls this an "aggressive" schedule.