Frederick city officials and members of the business community are encouraged by a market study that affirms the need for a full-service hotel in downtown Frederick.
The report, an update of a 2010 feasibility study, will be presented today at City Hall and available online this afternoon on the city’s website.
Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development, said although there are some differences between the 2010 and the 2012 reports, both support the project.
“The most important aspect is that both studies found that market demand is sufficient to support it,” Griffin said.
The most recent report, from Crossroads Consulting Services in Florida, cost $25,000 to compile, and the city received a $20,000 state grant toward the cost. The report identifies the same possible downtown locations for the hotel: the site of the former Frederick News Post building, 200 E. Patrick St.; the block housing the post office on East Street, the parking lot behind the MARC train station, and the site initially proposed as a mixed-use development, the Galleria Center, on All Saints and East streets, next to the Delaplaine Center; the corner of South and East streets; and the Potomac Edison Building on East Patrick Street.
The city has partnered with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Frederick Partnership and the Frederick Tourism Council on the project.
Mayor Randy McClement (R) said the business community, particularly the city’s largest employers, is the driving force behind the plan for a downtown hotel. And although he had not a chance to review it before The Gazette’s press time, the mayor said he will be happy if the “numbers hold from the last time.”
“This is a positive move for the city, and definitely something that is a request from our business community,” McClement said.
He emphasized the city is not financing a hotel. The report recommends a 160,000-square-foot, 200-room hotel with banquet and meeting space, including a ballroom.
The business community, particularly have been pushing the idea of a hotel and conference center for years, Alderman Carol Krimm (D) said.
“They have talked about missing opportunities because we don’t have a facility like this in Frederick,” Krimm said. “Not having such a facility to accommodate businesses is a detriment to attracting other major employers.”
Alderman Karen L. Young (D) said in an email the report offers “compelling” economic and fiscal impacts, including an estimated 280 jobs, $16 million in direct spending, $9 million in personal earnings and $1.9 million in state and local taxes.
“These projections certainly warrant an extensive conversation about the viability of tax incentives and nominal contributions towards an engineering study and land acquisition,” Young said.
About a dozen national hotel chains already have expressed interest, Griffin said. The city will be asking landowners who have property that would fit the criteria to submit details and availability starting this week. In the fall, the city will ask for hotel development groups to submit proposals.