Fredericton calls for downtown hotel pitches

Fredericton is seeking proposals to build a downtown hotel to be a part of its new convention centre.

Downtown businesses are optimistic about hotel possibility

Fredericton is looking to add a new hotel near the downtown convention centre. The Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook, right, is across the street from the convention centre. (City of Fredericton)

Fredericton is formally seeking proposals to build a downtown hotel to be a part of its new convention centre.

The city issued a formal request for proposals on Monday afternoon, seeking bids for construction of a 90 to 120-unit hotel, which would be attached to the convention centre by a pedway.

Fredericton has long wanted to compete with larger centres for convention business and many believe the addition of another downtown hotel will help.

Cathy Pugh, the manager of the Fredericton Convention Centre, said a new hotel is exactly what the area needs.

"The hotel is one component of the east end development and it is a very important component." Pugh said.

"It's going to help downtown Fredericton and the Fredericton Convention Centre, which will give us a better economic impact into the city."

The city is hinting that it already has some interest from developers. It hopes the hotel will help create a more vibrant downtown core.

The proposed hotel would not be the only facility near the convention centre.

The Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel stands across the street from the new convention centre.

Fredericton’s $28-million convention centre opened in 2011 and in its first year, it fell short of its targets for attracting events.

The new facility was expected to host 220 events during its first year of operation, but it only held 192 events.

In July, the convention centre’s manager said the original estimate depended on the opening of an attached office tower and a nearby hotel.

Downtown businesses are optimistic

Downtown businesses, however, seem to be optimistic about the plan to add another hotel to the area.

Doug Williams, the co-owner of the Garrison District Ale House, said more hotel space in the city’s downtown will mean more business activity.

"I think it would help drive business at the convention centre. It would help drive, obviously in my business, the restaurant business," Williams said.

"It would be a great addition to downtown."

The city has been working hard to prepare for the additional hotel.

In August, councillors voted to spend $800,000 to buy back three properties along Queen Street for the hotel project. The properties had been bought by a developer as part of the original package deal to build the convention centre.

But the developer opted to build a hotel on Bishop Drive instead.

If a hotel is not built on those properties, Fredericton taxpayers would be on the hook for the $800,000.