Possible Setback For Downtown Hotel & Conference Center

MSA votes not to sign a memorandum of understanding.

Frederick, Md (KM)  The Maryland Stadium Authority has dealt a possible setback to the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center. The board voted on Monday not to sign a memorandum of understanding for the facility.

The MOU stipulated that the Authority would oversee the project, but the board felt that another partner would be better suited for that role.

“The vote in no way changes our commitment to moving this plan forward, ” Mayor Randy McClement said in a statement. “We’ve known from the beginning that this is a complex project, involving agreements between many different entities. We will adjust to this latest development.”

Both the Board of Aldermen and the County Council approved the MOU in October. It lays out the responsibilities of all the parties in the investment and construction of this project. In addition to the city and the MSA, the county, the Maryland Economic Development Corporation and Plamondon Hospitality Partners are  a party to this MOU. This agreement is also necessary to satisfy the conditions of a $1-million state capital grant for the project.

Under this agreement, MEDCO would own the conference center, while Plamondon would operate and maintain the hotel and conference center. The city and the county would provide funding for infrastructure, including parking.

The hotel and conference center is estimated to cost $84-million. Plamondon Hospitality Partners will take on $53-million of that amount.

Some opponents say city officials were rushing this MOU through without thinking carefully about it. Others have said there’s not enough conference business to meet the facility’s high expectations.

Despite the MSA vote, County Executive Jan Gardner says the county still remains on board for this project. “The county will continue to support the City in advancing this transformational project to support jobs, economic development and the vibrancy of downtown Frederick,” Gardner said in a statement.

By Kevin McManus