The funds will help pay for property acquisition.
Frederick, Md (KM) – Frederick County is being asked to help with funding for the proposed downtown hotel and conference center.
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor made a presentation about the project Tuesday night to the County Council which is planned for an area along Carroll Creek to include the former News-Post Building on East Patrick Street. It’s expected to contain 200 rooms and meeting space, something he says the city has needed for years.
He asked the Council to provide the city with $2.52-million, which will be used with city’s contribution of $1.8-million dollars for property acquisition. “The estimated $70-million hotel and meeting event space will be privately financed by Plamondon Hospitality Partners. So to be clear: this support and the city’s support is for the land acquisition, not to own or operate a hotel,” he said.
If the project fails, he says, the county will get its money back with interest.
Other presenters told the Council this hotel and conference center will provide property and income tax revenues for the city and the county. “The project has been evaluated by third-party consultants over the past few years, and each time, the consultants have determined that the project is both feasible based on market demand, and that will generate enormous economic benefits for the community,” said Richard Griffin, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Frederick.
Councilman Phil Dacey says he supports a downtown hotel for Frederick, but is opposed to using taxpayer funds to pay for it. “The County is going to be out two-and-a-half million dollars that we could spend this year on hiring teachers, or we could spend this year on the Sheriff who wants a substation in Monrovia. But instead we are going to spending on subsidizing the purchase of land which is going to held in escrow for a certain period of time,” he said.
But Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater says that this project will generate a lot of tax revenue for the county. “When you look at the return on investment for the county, and over time, the millions of dollars of revenue that we will get that we will be able to put toward schools; and we will be able to put toward roads and other services that people want, it is a win-win,” she said.
Councilman Kai Hagen said the risks to the county are minimal. “This is, to me, from the county’s point of view, a much wiser, safer, less risky proposal that essentially comes down to a virtual risk free,” he said.
And the developer the project, Pete Plamondon, Jr, said his company, Plamondon Hospitality Partners, has a lot at stake. “We’re the ones assuming the most risk. This project has to work. This is a legacy project for the city. Our company has here for 42-years. It’s not going to fail,” he said.
The Council is expected to vote on this request next Tuesday. Any citizens who wants to comment on this request can make their opinions known at the start of the meeting at 5:30 PM.
By Kevin McManus