It’s a little smaller than what’s been discussed in the past.
Frederick, Md (KM) It’s a major development in efforts to get a downtown hotel and conference center in Frederick. A design plan for the project was unveiled on Thursday morning.
The plans developed for the Plamondon Hospitality Partners, the operators of the facility, call for a four-story building with 180 rooms, about 20,000 square feet of conference space and about 160 to 170 parking spaces. Past discussion has said the center will have 207 rooms, and 23,400 square feet of conference space.
But Mayor Randy McClement says the design will probably undergo changes before construction begins. “The project is going have to go through planning. The project’s going to have to go through Historic Preservation Commission. But the intent is to work with them to see if this is the design that meets their specifications and standards,” the Mayor says.
The hotel and conference center is expected to use part of the former News-Post building on East Patrick Street, and the site of the historic Bierly Tannery on Carroll Street. “It provides great re-use of the train trolley section of the existing building that’s going to stay. It will be the retail space but they’ve got that set up very nicely,” McClement says.
The former News-Post building was once a trolley station.
The Mayor also emphasizes that no public money will be used to pay for the construction, operation and maintenance of the hotel and conference center, although the city will own the land and collect rent from the hotel’s operators. He says if the project fails, Plamondon Hospitality Partners will take the loss. “The operations and the maintenance and the long term maintenance and the capital improvements that have to with the hotel and the conference center are wholeheartedly Plamondon Hospitality Group,” he says.
City officials say public dollars will be use for land acquisition, grading and site preparation, utilities, on-site parking and road improvements.
The Mayor says public parking garage will be located under the hotel and conference center, but it won’t be entirely an underground garage. “The natural slope of that property allows for the builders to put the garage down underneath what would be the upper levels, but without actually having to go down into the ground and do it,” McClement says.
He hopes a ribbon cutting for this hotel and conference center will take place in 2020.
In the past, the cost of the project has been estimated at $84-million, but the Mayor says he’s not certain of cost at this time. “All of this has been up to this point has been really trying to figure out the best way to put together a budget and find out where that financing is coming from. This has finally reached a point where we have a good commitment from the last partner we’ve been working with which was the state. And we have those dollars that we feel fairly confident that we got,” says Mayor McClement.
By Kevin McManus