Developers behind a proposed downtown Nanaimo hotel could consider alternative measures if they can’t get shovels in the ground by the middle of this month.
Utah-based PEG Developments has plans to build a $23-million nine-storey Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 100 Gordon St., a vacant piece of land across from the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Construction on the hotel was expected to start earlier this year, but PEG has delayed the project because of rising costs. If construction doesn’t begin before Dec. 31, PEG’s building permit will expire.
In an e-mailed statement to the News Bulletin, Ali Monson, PEG’s director of public relations and marketing, said that if construction hasn’t started before Dec. 16, the company could begin exploring other options.
“We may look at proposing some alternative measures at that time. While having to apply for another round of steep permit fees could impair the viability of the project, we are committed to exploring creative solutions and, where possible, working with the city to find compromises that will allow the project to move forward,” Monson said.
A meeting between PEG and the city has been scheduled for Dec. 16.
If PEG fails to begin construction on the hotel before the end of the year, it will have to apply for a new building permit and will be required to pay development cost charges. The firm will also be forced to submit revised design work that meets the province’s 2020 building code.
Monson said PEG continues to “push” towards breaking ground on the hotel project before Dec. 31 and that she can’t disclose further details regarding the company’s alternative measures.
“We are not going to speculate until we can connect with the rest of our stakeholders,” Monson said.
PEG bought the Gordon Street property from the City of Nanaimo in 2017. As part of the deal, the city has the option to repurchase the property for $750,000 if PEG hasn’t begun construction by Dec. 7. Any decision to repurchase the property would be made by council.
Coun. Ian Thorpe said while council could buy the property back, he doesn’t think that will happen without a lengthy conversation and input from city staff.
“This is just my opinion, but I don’t see us rushing to exercise that option,” he said.
Thorpe said councillors have n0t received any updates on the project and don’t know “what is going on” with PEG other than what has been reported in the media.
“Now, we’ve got some deadlines looming and I have not heard anything different, but certainly, it is fair to say that we are all worried,” he said. “It’s been very disappointing that nothing has happened at this point and the longer it goes on, the more you begin to wonder and doubt.”
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