Some Council Discuss MOU For Downtown Hotel & Conference Center

The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to vote on it Thursday night.

Frederick, Md (KM)  The memorandum of understanding for the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center generated some discussion Tuesday at the County Council meeting.

The agreement is between the Frederick City, the County, the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) and Plamondon Hospitality Partners to build the facility at the former News-Post building on East Patrick Street. The hotel is expected to have 207 rooms, and the conference center, which will be owned by MEDCO, will have 23,500 square feet of space.

The project is estimated to cost about $84-million, with the bulk of that being provided by the developer.

MEDCO will be providing tax increment financing bonds to cover $2.8-million. A grant of $1-million from the state’s capital budget will also be coming to Frederick County.

Councilman Kirby Delauter said he’s concerned about MEDCO being involved in this project, noting that the entity has financed the Chesapeake Bay Conference Center in Cambridge, and Rocky Gap, which have struggled. “And we want them get involved in the downtown hotel,” he said. “And if that’s not bad enough, now we’re going to the Chamber of Commerce to put up letters of credit for a developer for a project that, in my opinion, is the biggest disaster since buying back the nursing home.”

“The nursing home itself was never sold so we never brought it back,” Councilman Jerry Donald responded. “We brought it back into county hands. If we did have to sell it, we would have to bring a whole lot of money to the table to sell it.”

He also disagreed with Councilman Delauter’s  claim that the project was a “disaster.” “In this case, there is a bond that is floated. In this case, $2.8-million. It will be done by the state, not by us,” Donald said. “But the improvement in the value of the property that tax will go toward paying that TIF. After that, all that property tax money will be coming into us.”

Council President Bud Otis said the Chamber has said it has no connection to the letter of credit.

The Board of Aldermen are scheduled to vote on the memorandum of understanding on Thursday evening. The County Council will vote on it  on Tuesday, October 25th.

By Kevin McManus