Nfld. & Labrador

Module city: Alt hotel installing pre-made rooms, set for spring opening

The construction of a new hotel in downtown St. John's is about to look more like a Lego project.

Traffic delays, closures while more than 90 room modules installed on base of hotel

Construction of the Alt Hotel is continuing in St. John's, and one of the owners says it's still on track for a spring opening. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The construction of a new hotel in downtown St. John's is about to look more like a Lego project.

Work on the four-storey Alt Hotel will be causing traffic delays and interruptions through March, but one of the owners said it won't be long before the building is complete.

I think we've seen the worst of the construction.- Hugo Germain

Sections of the hotel have been prefabricated, and 90 hotel room modules are being hoisted and attached to the base of the hotel.

"The room inside is pretty much finished," said Hugo Germain, director of development with Group Germain Hotels, which owns the Alt Hotel chain.

A construction worker on the Alt Hotel project in downtown St. John's. (Gary Locke/CBC)

"Inside the units there's pretty much nothing else to be done except making the bed and bringing the various toiletry items and everything like that. The rest is all done, so you can imagine the amount of waste that we're not going to be generating through the finishing process of the hotel."

Winds on Friday prevented the workers from hoisting other modules onto the structure, but work is expected to continue over the next several weeks.

'A lot of simplicity'

The City of St. John's has a traffic delay and lane reduction notice in effect for the corner of Water Street, at Job's Cove and Harbour Drive, where the hotel is being constructed.

This will be in effect from Jan. 25 through to March 1, Monday to Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except during peak hours of from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Signal Hill in St. John's is one of the views some guests at the Alt Hotel will have, once construction is complete. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Germain said it might be inconvenient at times, but construction will be quick to clean up, thanks to the module technology.

"That will bring a lot of simplicity as far as quality of the product being done on site," he told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

"After the modules, we're going to be finishing the roof, we're going to be sliding in some mechanical shafts, but the rest, the amount of in and out from the site will be very little … I think we've seen the worst of the construction."

Once construction is completed, Germain said people will still be able to see the harbour, thanks to the main floor with glass walls, as well as plans for a coffee shop and restaurant on the Job's Cove side.

"We tried to preserve that side because the sight is so amazing that we need to make sure we maximize that aspect."