BG FNP Hotel - MP

The former Frederick News-Post building at 200 E. Patrick St. is part of the property planned to be used to build the downtown hotel and conference center.

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.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

(34) comments

jerseygrl42

Still chasing after other peoples' money; these folks and their supporters have NO shame....just GREED

s72burns

Dumbest line in in the article: "He(O'Connor) added that the developers have also provided more defined cost estimates for how much they believe is needed for public infrastructure improvements..." So the developer is dictating to the city how much will be spent on infrastructure improvements?? I'm sure that will work out well for taxpayers! (sarcasm)

lewisantq

The new proposed Memorandum Of Understanding for the downtown hotel is evidence that the process is moving forward. I was struck by the reduction in estimated public funding which will be required. The new figure of 17.5 million is a forty three percent reduction from the previous 31 million estimate. Surely this reduction would be welcomed by the opponents who have repeatedly objected to "taxpayer money" being used to support the project. Sadly, this massive reduction in public funding has been totally ignored by the opponents. I'm not surprised. Ten days ago, this paper published an editorial titled "The Arguments About Downtown Hotel". The editorial described the controversy about the hotel and recommended a new book, "Our Towns: A 100,000-mile Journey into the Heart of America", by James and Deborah Fallows. This book is about successful smaller cities across the country and provides new evidence that public-private partnerships aimed at strengthening and elevating a city are vital to success. There have been 61 comments posted about that editorial. Only 1 comment address the book, the central point of the editorial. It is hard to escape the conclusion that many of these comments are by "knee-jerk" opponents who have no interest is hearing facts or reading source material that might change their minds. Bob Lewis

AnotherFineMess

Bob, I think you misunderstood the funding issue. There was absolutely NO reduction in public funding REQUIRED. Rather, sources of public funding refused to pony up for a questionable project with constantly moving accountability and open ended cost.

The REQUIRED public contribution has not changed. Although that funding may be obtained from other public sources the end result is the same. A horrible waste of public money. If it was such a money maker Plamadon would have had it built by now and stopped wasting time groveling for a handout.

There are many examples of wise public/private investment ventures, this is a losing proposition from the beginning. NO hotelier was (and still isn’t) interested in building a hotel here because the cost is too high and you’ll never get a return on your investment. Plamadon is being given a sweet deal for building here but they will never be responsible for any loss. The taxpayers of Frederick will carry that ball and chain for years.

gardenwhimsey

I don't want public funding for this project reduced, I want it eliminated. Not so much as one cent should come from the public. It is going to benefit only the Plamondons and it should be paid for by only the Plamondons. If they think they need additional funds, let them seek private investors. They are a private enterprise and they are not entitled to public money.

BstD59

Gardenwhimsey [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] I've said this since Day 1.

nbouqu1

Because the underlying "methodology" of that book was so blatantly shoddy that it wasn't worth commenting on. The actual peer-reviewed literature on the subject says that while yes, every town and city seems to be doing this, it always ends badly.

shiftless88

I am not against public funding for infrastructure improvements like the creek. It broadly helps a swath of businesses and livens up the downtown. I'd probably whine about this less if the parking structure was stand alone next the hotel rather than under the hotel (where it will flood, but also be less useful for public).

threecents

It sounds like a lot of people here would be happier if the parking garage was separate structure, which I believe was the original plan.

petersamuel

This is wrong too: "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." This must be a reference to an agreement involving the City, Plamondon, the County, Maryland Stadium Authority and Maryland Department of Economic Development, a so-called five party MOU. The two state agencies looked at the project, did not like it, and refused to sign up. It never went into effect and has no legal standing. P Samuel

mrsveciii

Is there no parking for the workers? At the pay scale associated with the hospitality industry, they won't be able to afford to park in the parking garages.

elymus43

They keep bringing up this mess, and each time it's something different. The new hotel/convention center is not needed.............................

sofanna

AGREE! And, this article is as clear as mud, like all the rest.

petersamuel

The Frederick News-Post seems determined to downplay the proposed taxpayer commitment. Take this sentence from your report: “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.” According to the project development budget in Appendix B p35 $11.55m or two-thirds of the proposed upfront taxpayer money will go for "Site Development." That apparently covers all the construction work below a "podium roof" to the basement City parking garage. At 160 car spaces that is $72,000 per car space, a ridiculous amount to pay for car parking. (The parking decks are $10,000 to $20,000/car space.) A lot of this $11.55m is going into the foundations of the hotel and the podium or structural roof that will support the hotel and conference center. That's a Podium for the Plamondon hotel, not a public asset. The City by committing to the podium-and-below is taking on the riskiest aspect of constructing this project -- building in the muck of the old creek bed. Cost over-runs beyond the $11.55m are quite likely. And the new MOU states on p3: "The construction and financial risk of completing, opening, operating, and maintaining the Public Podium/Garage shall be borne by the City." This project keeps changing shape, but the one constant is that it remains a boondoggle. P Samuel

Crusty Frederick Man 64

This is what I like about Peter Samuel he has the facts and goes buy them and can do basic math. Where as the city officials have the facts and ignore them and can’t do basic math.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

Opps typing error should have been by not buy. Have to work on my basic typing or run for office.

KellyAlzan

The facts are plain as day. And you mean none of the aldermen/women / city leaders can see this????

If they can not see this, if they refuse to see this - they are incompetent.

Leaders - stop being pushovers and open your eyes.

sofanna

If "they" keep part of the FACTS hidden, they will get away with whatever 'they' want to do, as usual.

threecents

People in this forum generally have called for less govt aid. They got what they wanted, and this is a result - a future parking shortage.

shiftless88

I don't believe that is true. Nothing is stopping the city from requiring, or the Plamadon's building, more parking spaces.

sevenstones1000

And can we not forget one other thing - the design itself is spit ugly. An eyesore right smack in the middle of town.

KellyAlzan


this just gets stupider and stupider.

so the plandoon brothers cant afford this, and say they need state money.......but they have the money to add rooms, buy more a/c / heat units, but more beds, buy more televisions toilets showers and carpeting???

and worsening the parking and adding more rooms??

this is just stupid

Comment deleted.
shiftless88

[beam][beam][beam][beam]

CDReid

Yes Kelly, we know, you posted the exact same thing at 9:30 Tuesday night.

AnotherFineMess

160 parking spaces? Keep in mind that hotel, restaurant and “meeting space” management will occupy many of those spaces leaving even less for hotel guests. Oh.. meeting space, almost forgot, can potentially host 700 more people with NO PARKING!

Sure you can park in one of the many downtown garages, once you figure out you can’t park at your UPSCALE hotel. You’re not familiar with downtown so you’ll drive around for the next 20 minutes trying to get into a garage. Not sure what’s “upscale” about that but I’ll not be staying at that over priced, under serviced, over rated and over hyped debacle.

In several earlier FNP articles there were concerns that the project was not going to be profitable unless someone else’s money was used. 2 studies were done actually. It will be unprofitable for many reasons. Location and lack of transportation options, lack of convenient and reasonably priced parking, lack of a draw! Yes Frederick is a nice place to visit but you can take most of it in in a day and after you get past all the pan handlers in the creek you’ve seen it all! Using someone else’s money doesn’t fix unprofitability!

Using public money doesn’t make a bad idea profitable. A lack of convenient parking makes an unprofitable hotel less profitable. NO convenient parking for a conference center is is yet another really stupid idea.

Good for Frederick? I doubt it! It will be heavily subsidized to pack the hotel for the first few years then it will settle into a general lack of occupancy and Plamadon will sell leaving a often vacant behemoth for the taxpayers to clean up.

And NO, everybody is not going to Uber and bike to the hotel so we don’t need parking anyway.


Dwasserba

Well spoken. We just stayed at The Hotel at UMD (its actual name) in College Park and as you pull up, the valet stand has a big sign: VALET PARKING $30. Odd of us to balk after booking at these prices (it is gorgeous and walking distance from campus besides having shuttles) but the deck appeared to be attached and we aren't disabled. I stood with the luggage while my hus parked and returned. No problem, and we knew where our car was. So I read this earlier and thought, this may require *forced* valet parking. The deck is full, you don't know the town, you've driven all you want to...not a happymaking circumstance.

AnotherFineMess

Ahh Valet Parking! Many have said this is the solution BUT, valet parking requires a pool of reserved parking spaces somewhere. Valet parking to support the meeting space is not an option.

When you flood the DHC with conference attendees, most from out of state, they’ll park where they want, reserved or not because they’ll be gone in a day and who cares about that ticket anyway. Any available parking spaces, reserved or not will quickly be gobbled up like those on the Eagles lot.

Remember, NO hotel chains were chomp’n at the bit to build downtown because it’s not profitable! It was the City of Frederick that wanted a hotel just to keep up with the Jones’s.

In less than a decade the solution for lackluster attendance and faltering revenues will be to sell to a casino operation and fill the vacant conference center with slots.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

I didn’t see anything in the article about the cost of the water pumps that will be needed in the underground parking garage to pump out the water from 100 year flooding that happens every 3 years now. Water doesn’t run up hill on concrete and blacktop. DUH ! Um never mind those pumps will have to be turned off to save the waste water plant from over flowing. My bad sorry.

KellyAlzan

My kind of thinking [thumbup]

Dwasserba

199 rooms and 160 parking spaces...well that's...too bad

BstD59

I have disagreed with the building of this hotel from the moment I understood tax dollars would be used to build it. This latest wrinkle should make many more sit up and listen. Why should the taxpayers fund a hotel that now is going to have less parking which means if the hotel project is successful other businesses and residents will have even less parking available to them. They are helping to pay for this white elephant (willingly or otherwise) and now they are the ones who will pay not only in dollars but in inconvenience. Think about it folks, does it make any sense to increase the amount of guests the hotel can house at one time but lessen the available parking for the increased amount of guests? Shame on those that approve this change.

sofanna

TOTALLY AGREE!!! For some reason our elected officials are pushing this project to be completed no matter what it takes. It's absolutely stupid to add 39 additional rooms when there aren't enough private funds to even complete the project. More than once, residents have discussed their displeasure (and anger sometimes) regarding the use of public funds ~ which regardless of what we are told, will end up using our tax dollars.

I would rather my tax dollars go to the MUCH NEEDED FCPS budget that serves many more individuals than this hotel will.

NO ONE is looking objectively to the BIG PICTURE. It's appalling when supposedly intelligent people get selfish and greedy at the cost of those less fortunate.

KellyAlzan

this just gets stupider and stupider.

so the plandoon brothers cant afford this, and say they need state money.......but they have the money to add rooms, buy more a/c / heat units, but more beds, buy more televisions toilets showers and carpeting???

and worsening the parking and adding more rooms??

this is just stupid

jerseygrl42

How right you are....all about other peoples money

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