Plans for Frederick’s proposed downtown hotel and conference center now call for less parking, more rooms and a potential reduction in some public infrastructure improvements.
And at a meeting Wednesday, members of the public will get a chance to weigh in on those changes and others included in a revised draft memorandum of understanding members of the Board of Aldermen are slated to discuss. The document also maps out the cost-share estimates and development details for the planned multimillion-dollar project slated for 200-212 E. Patrick St.
The new document will replace the most recent agreement city officials and developers Plamondon Hospitality Partners inked in October 2016 and includes all of the information and approvals obtained to date.
The draft “gets us to the next place we need to be,” Mayor Michael O’Connor said Tuesday.
Plamondon Hospitality Partners Co-President Peter Plamondon Jr. did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
Besides an increase in the number of rooms — from 180 to 199 — one of the main changes in the latest document is a decrease in the amount of public dollars estimated to come jointly from the city, Frederick County and the state of Maryland. The previous agreement estimated $31 million, while the latest one projects $17.5 million.
The reduction is a result of state legislators declining during the 2018 General Assembly session to authorize $11 million in future grants that officials were hoping to use for a second level of parking.
The project is slated to include one level of parking for a total 160 spaces. O’Connor said the city’s land management code requires the developers to include roughly 120 spaces for the hotel, which leaves about 40 for the public.
“We obviously would like more parking on-site if we can do it,” O’Connor said. “But we’re, at this point, constrained by the dollars we have available.”
The expected state allocation is now $5.75 million, which requires approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works before its release.
“There’s still some hurdles to get through before that’s available, but at least it’s in a budget,” O’Connor said.
He added that the developers have also provided more defined cost estimates for how much they believe is needed for public infrastructure improvements with the mindset that less money is available.
“All of it is geared toward trying to get these estimates for public infrastructure with the best resources available,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor also said that a larger state contribution is not out of the question. Because the final financial agreements, which determine the ultimate funding details, are not set for approval until fall 2019, a chance still exists for new elected officials to come in after the November election and get more funding for the project. He called the possibility both “an opportunity and a risk,” as new officials could have different levels of support for the project.
According to the draft agreement, the developers will pay all costs related to development and construction of the hotel, conference center and retail site, as of May 2017. The public money is set to pay for all public portions of the project, including site acquisitions, parking and utilities, as well as road, streetscape and park improvements. Through April 30, 2017, the public entities are set to reimburse the developers for any costs incurred for development of the conference center as well, as prior cost-share agreements mapped it out that way.
The developers are estimated to provide $55 million for the hotel and conference center and $7 million for the renovation of the historic Frederick Railroad building, which most recently housed The Frederick News-Post’s headquarters, for the retail site. They are also set to enter into a 99-year lease for the land for a total of $12 million. The city is set to purchase the land, and officials have conducted appraisals to obtain a third-party evaluation of the value, according to the document.
The document also maps out a cost-share for the mitigation of the historic elements of the site, which was not included in prior agreements.
The mitigation is needed because of the planned demolition of the former Birely Tannery building on the property and projected disturbance of the surrounding historic site as part of the project development. A working memorandum of agreement between the city, the developers and state agencies will map out the details, while the document set for discussion Wednesday specifies the breakdown of costs.
According to the document, the city will pay land-related mitigation costs, including archaeological ones, while the developer will pay internal costs, such as the display of pictures, signs, and narrative markups or posters within the hotel. No dollar amounts are included for the costs, as the mitigation agreement is not inked yet.