Frederick County To Provide Money Toward The Proposed Hotel & Conference Center

The Council agreed to contribute $2.52-million for land purchase.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – In a 5-2 vote on Tuesday, the Frederick County Council agreed to provide $2.52-million toward the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center. The money will be transferred to city which will use the funds to purchase land for the hotel; officials say it will not go toward the construction and operation of a hotel.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater made the passing motion. “I do believe that is the cleanest proposal that’s come before us. I think that the way the proposed MOU {memorandum of understanding} is written does obviously protect  the county if anything should not go as planned.,” she said.

The money will be placed in an escrow account. And if the proposed hotel and conference center does not come to fruition, the county will get its money back with interest.

Councilman Phil Dacey voted against it. “I can’t support a direct subsidy from the general fund essentially to a hotel developer,” he said.

Plamondon Hospitality Partners plans to construct and operate the hotel and conference center which is expected to be located along Carroll Creek and include the former Frederick News-Post building on East Patrick Street.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Chief Financial Officer Lori Depies told the Council Plamondon has not asked for this money. “Under the last Board of County Commissioners, we agreed to participate with the city in this project,” she said. “I want to make sure that everyone listening understands that Plamondon Hospitality Partners has not asked the county for money. This was an agreement and an MOU under a prior form of government that we agreed to participate with the city.”

Councilman Dacey took issue with that. “Last week, they certainly were asking for two-and-a-half million dollars. To try and say that the Plamondon Hospitality Company was not asking for the two-and-a-half million dollars, I think, is disingenuous because last week, they were certainly asking for two-and-a-half million dollars,” he said.

Also voting in opposition was Councilman Steve McKay, who pointed out that supporters of the project say it will be an economic boon to the county. “But it will only be that boon if it’s economically viable and successful in and of itself,” he said. “And if it is likely to be that successful, then I question why it needs public funding.”

Councilman Kai Hagen voted in support. “This is as close to a risk-free deal as you get. And anybody who has any doubts about that, it’s not just me offering some level of confidence and conviction. It’s in the clear language,” he said.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer called this hotel and conference center project a “game changer” for the city and the county.

By Kevin McManus