Old News-Post building Hotel

A bird’s-eye view of the former Frederick News-Post building on East Patrick Street as seen looking north from the top of the All Saints Street parking deck.

The head of a potential partner for a downtown Frederick hotel and conference center said on Tuesday that the project as it is does not appear viable, and urged supporters to go back to the drawing board.

The board of Maryland Economic Development Corp., or MEDCO, is one of five parties that was due to sign an agreement that detailed financing plans and a schedule for the project.

MEDCO’s board previously tabled a vote on the agreement until it received more information.

Some members of Frederick County’s delegation to the General Assembly said last week that they would not support state funding for the project. With that announcement, it appears the proposal will need to be reworked, Bob Brennan, MEDCO’s executive director, said on Tuesday.

“It’s looking right now that this project is dead,” Brennan said in an interview, referring to how the current proposal is structured.

MEDCO is a state entity that borrows money and issues bonds to help state and local economic development agencies and private companies with projects that may benefit the public.

Brennan added that the hotel and conference center, a roughly $84 million project, would be “very good” for the city.

“What I’m saying is the current structure doesn’t appear to be viable, so let’s go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get a hotel, [conference] center for the city of Frederick,” he said.

The agreement — a memorandum of understanding — has already cleared the Frederick County Council and the city Board of Aldermen, but was rejected by another key partner, the Maryland Stadium Authority.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement responded to a request for comment with an emailed response from the city’s spokeswoman, Patti Mullins.

“We haven’t received any official communication from MEDCO that they’ve taken any action, and the city continues to move forward on this project,” the statement from McClement reads.

The fifth and final party in the agreement is Plamondon Hospitality Partners, which is expected to pay $53 million for the hotel.

Pete Plamondon Jr., co-president of Plamondon Hospitality Partners, said in an interview that he was not at all “disheartened” or “disillusioned” by Brennan’s comments, saying MEDCO’s position was clear when its board tabled the vote on the memorandum.

“We’re going to remain focused and see the project to fruition,” he said. “Our path remains going forward with the state.”

The hotel and conference center property is proposed at 200 and 212 E. Patrick St. The property is owned by a business entity formed by members of the Randall family, who owns the parent company of The Frederick News-Post.

Follow Jeremy Bauer-Wolf on Twitter: @jbeowulf.

(32) comments

bosco

The business of government is not business. Let the government facilitate the project, grease the skids, whatever to make it happen with private money and THEN sit back and start reaping the tax revenue immediately. The taxpayers do not need the Plamondon$, the Randall$, and the Young$ picking their pockets to subsidize private enterprise that would be in competition with other hotels in town. Politician$ should not be playing fast and loose with taxpayers money.

chesapeakecountry

No problem. The city can pick up the slack with all their red light camera "earnings".

petersamuel

Pete Plamondon says he is not at all disheartened. He doesn’t care that two state agencies supposedly part of his hotel deal have given it a thumbs down. That the Governor says no more state money will flow to this project, a project in which $18m of $31m of taxpayer money needed upfront is supposed to come from the state? Are city and county officials not concerned that leading state officials say this hotel project is a mess. Might they not also pull their previously promised $13m, $7m from the county and $6m from the City? Is Pete just playing Churchill here. With the U-boats in the Atlantic sinking supply ships and the Luftwaffe blitz of the cities prime minister Plamondon declares bravely: We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in Frederick. We shall fight on the seas and the oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our Deal whatever the costs may be. We shall fight on the beaches of Annapolis. We shall fight on the landing grounds of Baker Park. We shall fight in the fields of Monrovia, and in the streets downtown. We shall fight in the hills of the Blue Ridge. We shall never surrender. And if, which I do not for a moment believe, this city were subjugated and starving of hotel handouts, then our state beyond the seas guarded by the Bay fishing fleet would carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World of Trump with all its power and might steps forth to the rescue.

Jane and Ed

Those of us who have been thoroughly looking into this project, think the next waste of taxpayer dollars will be to pay Crossroads Consulting for a newer market study we believe MEDCO suggested would be important. National expert on conference centers Heywood Sanders said these "studies" are predictions and not to be believed. The city paid 25K for the 2010 "Update and Critique" of the Plamondon paid Pinnacle 2008 study. And in 2013 this city paid Jones Lang LaSalle $335,000 to heavily slant the procurement in favour of Plamondon who had already agreed to use the Randall's old Frederick News Post Property. The city also suppressed a second Pinnacle study which was done for Plamondon, we believe because, it concluded that the market demanded no more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. Given what we understand about hotel Consultants we now imagine that Plamondon did not want to manage a 24000 square foot conference facility. They are money losers all over the country and there is a huge glut of meeting space all fighting for the same market of conference goers. The proponents keep saying that the demand comes from Fort Detrick and the "major employers group" of the Chamber of Commerce, however Fort Detrick consistently says they are not behind the push. The only major employers who repeatedly go to testify in favor of this are the heads of two biotech companies who feel they are entitled to a 31 million-dollar taxpayer gift of a conference facility. They seem to be saying they do such important work, in science, for the government that they "deserve" a swanky new taxpayer subsidized meeting facility in downtown Frederick. How about they get together and buy some property instead of asking the city to buy the FNP property, and they can secure financing for their own conference center. People, in Frederick, unless they think they are going to get money out of this deal, are not in favor of handouts to the wealthiest business owners, at the expense of the public. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498307467136953/

DickD

Pretty good, Peter.

jerseygrl42

The idea of taxpayers footing significant piece of the cost of over $100 Million including the parking deck these folks never seem to want to talk about is absurd...why should 4 of the 5 entities which are all taxpayer funded have to assure that Plamondon and Randall families make money ...if it can't stand on its own 2 feet it should NOT be built...its bad enough that the housing developers have been allowed to run amok building homes on virtually every square foot of property in southern Frederick county and in the process forcing school kids to be taught in trailer parks ...but this one is really over the top.....

bicep42

Businesses are always scouring the country and the world for good opportunities. The fact that NOBODY has been willing to invest 100% of their own private funding in a downtown hotel project speaks volumes. Money talks, bull*** walks.

KellyAlzan

I understand Marvin Ausherman had deep pockets. Why not ask him to finance this project?

threecents

I know it is not downtown, but you can get a good deal on the Fredericktown Mall property...

KellyAlzan

Actually the soon to be old Walmart site on Monocacy Blvd would be better. Because it's complete with a river view!

thevoiceoffrederick

How many hotels have been built with private funds in Frederick city/ county in the last 10 years. This is a fog with fleas and the mayor will do what ever it takes to deliver this before he is out of office so he can build a "legacy" that 20 years from now will be known as the biggest finical disaster in the cities history. If this was a finically viable business it would have been finished by a company with a track proven track record. Meanwhile blite continues and your are distracted.

bosco

“Our path remains going forward with the state.”.........How about “Our path remains going forward with the BANK.”??????

DickD

The bank, OMG, you expect them to use their money, not tax money? I am with you, but this whole project is how much the Randalls and Plamondons can rip off the tax payers. Not to mention how much campaign contributions the Youngs will get from this pay to play deal.

kimberlymellon

[thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Daddy Plamandoon gave the Plamandoon Brothers EVERYTHING. Them two ain't NEVER had to get anything on their own. Never.

DisabledFrederickVeteran

If a downtown Frederick hotel / convention center was a good idea Marriott would've constructed one here and maybe had the locals not opposed slots in Frederick you would also gotten your hotel / convention center.

Hammer

The plan, the process, the leadership: One Massive Failure after another!

KellyAlzan

Swan investments. Out of leesburg va. Google them.

KellyAlzan

Want a downtown hotel??

Then do some national advertising for a private investor.

garden whimsey

If the Plamondons want this hotel/convention center, then the Plamondons and their investors should pay for it. Not one penny of taxpayer money should go to their project.

joelp77440

Sad. It will take 40 years before any movement happens just like those empty buildings on Market. Thanks old people of Frederick, keeping things the same for your generation with no mind for mine. Generation X, the forgotten generation.

bicep42

If you want a downtown hotel, then get involved in finding an investor willing to build one at his or her own expense instead of whining about it. Nobody objects to the idea of an appropriately designed and located boutique hotel downtown built WITHOUT taxpayers ' dollars.

stevemckay

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Joel obviously does not have any children in school.

Fredmd21704

That has nothing to do with this project and your comment is so hilarious.

KellyAlzan

Hi beautiful Freddy :)

Let's see.....buy the Plamandoon brothers a hotel with tax payer dollars. Or buy the children some schools with tax payer dollars.

Yes beautiful, my post is relevant. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Perhaps we can go see a movie soon?

Fredmd21704

We the tax payers pay for a lot of building, But where is the outcry on the businesses getting a huge tax break on route 40?

bicep42

Name each business on Route 40 getting taxpayer assistance and tell us exactly how much each is receiving, with citations.
Looking forward to your list.

kimberlymellon

Did you miss that the MSA panned this project and went back to its meeting on financing adequate schools for Maryland's children?

kimberlymellon

[thumbup]

threecents

Joel, you sound like Nancy Reagan saying it's her turn. It will be your turn when you earn your turn.

MAVRICKinc7

Is this how you go about feeling sorry for yourself and using the seniors as the reason Generation X needs to be coddled and pampered more than they already are. If you're going to whine, why not take a closer look at your own generation and ask them why they are still regarded as the "forgotten generation" along with yourself.

Those empty buildings and the blight it brings is what TODAY'S elected leader have allowed to grow and not very inviting to those living outside the Frederick REGION. Frederick is still steeped in FAMILY values and there is not much of a chance FAMILY will ever let go of their HOLD on the Frederick REGION or go to the likes of yourself and your forgotten generation.

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