If there is one thing clear about the the proposed downtown Frederick hotel project — confusion has reigned about the estimated costs for the 200-room hotel and conference center.

Adding to that confusion is that the most recent cost estimate, which was produced in February by the Forella Group, a consultant hired through the Maryland Stadium Authority, bumps the project cost up to $84 million — $31 million in public funds, plus $53 million put up by hotel developer Plamondon Hospitality Partners.

And that February estimate, paid for jointly by the city and by Plamondon Partners, wasn’t widely publicized or disseminated at the time, although some officials dispute that.

The new projection is $14.2 million, or 20 percent, higher than the $69.8 million figure pitched to state lawmakers in the 2016 legislative session. The projected public cost also rose $5.3 million, or 21 percent, from the $25.7 million discussed during the General Assembly session.

A portion of the February report by the Forella Group was recently shared with The Frederick News-Post.

Proponents of the project say they presented the new information as soon as it was available. But they also acknowledge that confusion about project costs has permeated the discussion. Comments by public officials and community members also show varying degrees of awareness about the new costs.

The terms of the public-private partnership call for Plamondon to pay the cost of the full-service, 200-room hotel. A combination of city, county and state dollars will fund an affiliated conference center and related public infrastructure.

Project partners anticipated the February increase because of rising construction costs, according to Richard Griffin, the city’s economic development director.

Earlier estimates for the hotel project were based on numbers from 2012 and 2014, from earlier studies done through the Maryland Stadium Authority and Plamondon, respectively.

“We knew the [prior] cost estimate was too low,” Griffin said in an interview on Thursday. “We knew we were going to come out higher than what was being proposed.”

The most recent $84 million projection includes the cost of physical construction, land acquisition, consultant work and other “soft costs,” as well as some contingency money.

It does not account for the cost of a planned sixth parking garage downtown. The garage was included when the city approved a memorandum of understanding with Plamondon in December 2015. The city and related parties to the project later decided to cut the garage component, and its cost, from the project.

The city also in December signed an agreement with the Stadium Authority to fund an updated analysis of the construction costs. That $53,800 study, the Forella Group study from February, was needed for the authority to serve as the vehicle through which the city expects to obtain state funding.

Spreading the word

Asked how elected officials and community members were notified that new estimates on the project cost were available, Griffin said he and other project partners testified about the latest estimates numerous times during the legislative session in Annapolis.

For those who did not attend those sessions, Griffin pointed to the updated pamphlets available on the city website and distributed at community group meetings and other local events.

“It’s not as though it’s any big secret,” he said.

However, in March, after the revised Forella report was given to the city and Plamondon, project supporters didn’t testify directly about the total public or private project costs during House of Delegates and State Senate hearings about a hotel funding bill that was before the General Assembly in Annapolis. Testimony submitted by the city of Frederick before the House hearing also did not include project totals, but did attach an economist’s report pegging the project cost at $64 million.

A budget circulated on the eve of a Frederick County delegation vote on the funding bill in February listed $69.82 million as the total project cost.

Griffin pointed to other areas where the figure was updated.

The department in November created a two-page pamphlet, printed and online, summarizing the project. The document included a total cost, as well as the split of public and private funding.

After Forella’s report was submitted in February, the department updated the pamphlet with the $31 million public cost. But the total cost was taken off as part of the February update.

Griffin explained that the private share of the cost was still being determined by consultants hired by Plamondon.

When the private side cost analysis was finished, the department again updated the pamphlet. A version published in May included the $53 million estimate for the private share and the $31 million public cost, but did not explicitly list a total amount of $84 million.

The Forella report itself has not been made public. Griffin explained this was because the estimates provided through Plamondon were proprietary and included estimates from contractors who may later wish to bid on the construction work.

Prior reports and analyses through Plamondon have not been published. But those paid for by the city, including the 2010 and 2012 studies, are available on the city website.

Creating confusion

A small but vocal group of critics continue to criticize various aspects of the project, including the evolving cost.

One of those critics, Peter Samuel, on Wednesday presented city and county elected officials with a different estimate, also by Forella Group. The Jan. 7 report, obtained by Samuel through a public information act request and shared with The Frederick News-Post, estimated the total project cost at $120.8 million, including $27.7 million to build a sixth city parking deck. Without the parking garage, the total would be $93.1 million.

Samuel accused project partners of taking the parking garage out of the project in order to deal with the “financial crisis” posed by the significantly higher estimate. He called the lack of public notice about the new numbers “part of a pattern of shrouding this project in secrecy and happy talk spin.”

Griffin on Thursday said the $120.8 million was a preliminary estimate, one later revised after project partners realized certain assumptions in it were incorrect. Additional information, as well as the decision to cut the parking garage from the project, produced the $84 million estimate now being advertised.

Gary McGuigan, a senior vice president for the Stadium Authority, confirmed in a phone interview on Friday that the January report was not final.

He framed the revised total from Forella in February not as a deliberate attempt to produce a lower number, but as a different way to look at the scope of the project.

Griffin also dismissed Samuel’s accusations about lack of transparency.

He said Samuel’s misunderstanding of the document was one reason why the full report was not made public.

“These reports are not public consumption reports,” he said.

Elected officials weigh in

Griffin insisted the project partners were informed when the new project costs came out. But some state and local officials appeared unaware the costs had changed when interviewed this week.

Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, who was a vocal opponent of the project during the 2016 General Assembly, said he found it difficult to keep up with budget estimates while in Annapolis.

For instance, a Maryland Stadium Authority bond bill — which was ultimately not passed — had hand-written edits to it on the day it was discussed in the delegation’s meeting, he said.

Hough said he’d never heard about the estimates from Forella before this week.

Alderman Phil Dacey said in a phone interview on Thursday he was unaware the cost had changed from the $82.47 million estimate — that price then included the sixth parking garage — that was discussed when the city signed the memorandum last December.

When told about the new estimate, with a higher cost and no parking deck, Dacey said he was not sure how to respond.

Alderman Michael O’Connor also indicated he didn’t know about latest cost estimates. O’Connor wasn’t overly concerned, though.

“I’m relying on our experts at the city to make sure we are kept apprised,” he said. “I trust staff [to share] whatever updates at the appropriate time.”

O’Connor also noted that even the latest estimates were likely to change as the project moves forward.

Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, said it’s not unusual for cost estimates to move around on such large projects.

Young responded quickly when asked whether he knew about an increase to the projected public cost. “Actually it’s gone way down,” Young said, referring to the decline from the January to February estimates from Forella.

He thinks the way the agreement is worked out, $31 million is an acceptable figure for the public funding.

“The price that they have now, it’s still accounted for,” Young said. “The developer is picking up some extra and all the components come together.”

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, meanwhile, was less interested in a hypothetical estimate than the city’s contribution when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.

“Until we sign the actual document for the money, then all this is well and good, but it’s just a pretty picture,” she said.

Delegate Carol Krimm, D-District 3A, noted that despite the increased project costs, the state is locked in to a maximum commitment of $15 million in future years.

“I think that the state is not going to be the source of those extra funds,” Krimm said. “We’ve sort of established what our limit is.”

Additional details on the breakdown of cost-sharing will be provided in the next agreement between the Stadium Authority and the project partners. That document was still being finalized as of this week, according to Griffin. State funding for the project is contingent on execution of the agreement between the city, county, stadium authority and Plamondon.

Project plans call for a 200-room hotel with 24,000 square feet of conference center space with on-site parking and infrastructure improvements at the site of the old Frederick News-Post building.

The property at 200 and 212 E. Patrick St. is currently owned by a business entity formed by members of the Randall family. The Randall family also owns the parent company of The News-Post.

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(74) comments

Yankee

I don't understand why no one has blamed Kirby, Billy or Blaine for this scam.

DickD

Because we kicked their leader, Blaine out and the other two didn't have a leader. lol

kimberlymellon

Actually, per their invoices to the City, Blaine Young initiated and is one of the first 'stakeholders' to hold a one on one meeting with Jones Lang Lasalle. He then signed the resolution for public financing on behalf of the county. So yes, please do blame Blaine for his personal conflict of interest in this matter.

elymus43

The article talked about the city spending $53,000.00 for an updated analysis of the construction costs. City hall it seems wants a STUDY for everything, and then they take little action on anything. Why doesn't the FNP put in the paper about the meetings in Annapolis concerning this hotel mess??? This hotel matter needs to be closed out now. The longer it drags out, the more it gets into the taxpayers pocketbook. Also, it seems the BOA and Mayor are ducking for cover on the hotel. Ron Young, Karen Young and Carroll Krimm need to be replaced in the next election. City hall needs all new people on the BOA and mayor. Sen Michael Hough is doing a great job in Annapolis.

besmartten

Yes kill this thing and Yes enough of the Youngs. How about Ron just getting a real job and get out of our pockets. Next time vote no on young.

jerseygrl42

Isn't it amazing the games people will play when there is money on the line; this very bad idea has more numbers than a Vegas roulette wheel and it was Griffin who announced some months ago that he was separating the parking deck ( needed for the project ) from the project....we suspect to make the numbers appear more palatable to the public ....and all of a sudden we have yet another set of yet more expensive numbers once again w/o the parking deck ...and with the deck we are now over $120 Million.... and the taxpayers piece of the game is now $31 million plus $27.7 for the parking deck or a grand total of $58.7 Million of taxpayer money...almost enough to pay for the 2 new elementary schools desperately needed in order to reduce the schooling of our children in trailer parks....if the idea has any merit , let those who will profit cough up the cash.....otherwise it should be canned!

stevemckay

Absolutely, positively correct jersey!

bicep42

The FNP can't possibly present a fair and balanced story on this since the owners of the newspaper own the site that stands to be purchased for this questionable project at 3X market value.

richardlyons

Sure they can; just read the last paragraph of the article. That makes it all OK

DickD

This whole project has been deceitful and is nothing more than corporate welfare. If it is something they want to do, let them do it without tax money or if tax money is a must, only tax money from the City of Frederick.

BlueDawn666

The info below the asterisks are from Marriott's "Proxy Statement" a/k/a "Schedule 14A", a filing with the Security & Exchange Commission. The entire filing is on the web at:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1048286/000119312516530642/d116969ddef14a.htm#toc116969_27

I am assuming the "W. Mitt Romney" on Marriott's Board of Directors and the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee are one and the same individual. Mitt could probably finance the entire downtown hotel/conference center himself.

The moral of this story is that multi-national, multi billion $$$ private business entities (like Marriott) whose top officers pay themselves millions of $$$ per year in salaries, bonuses, stock option, golden parachutes and other deferred compensation, should not feed at the public trough via corporate welfare/crony capitalism. Seems that most folks would agree with this statement, but yet this boondoggle is being forced upon us......

BstD59

Well said, Blue.

bosco

One has to wonder what the price tag will be by the time the first shovel hits the ground? And one has to ask why the taxpayer$ will be on the hook to line the pockets of the Randall$, the Plamondon$, and even the Young$.

matts853

I've seen this movie before. When people begin to ask hard questions and uncover inconvenient facts, these projects stall beyond recovery. This project won't be bulit, it's too tainted. They need to start over with a new plan to build a small boutique hotel with a different owner/operator that is willing to pay for it them selves. Start fresh with an RFP that is truly fair and open and not predetermined.

DickD

That is something most, if not all, of us would agree to.[thumbup]

matts853

Kudos to Peter Samuel, Jane Weir and other courageous citizens for not blindly accepting the nonsense the proponents have been spewing. Educated citizens are the best politicians. And to all those who denied the $31 M public price tag, even when it was inserted into the proposed legislation, it's time to take the blinders off. This project has been so poorly mismanaged it would be laughed out of any private boardroom.

stevemckay

[thumbup][thumbup]

BlueDawn666

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]...Peter and Jane and many others have done some fantastic work uncovering the TRUTHS about this project.

For so much truth your eyes may pop out go to this Face Book page
FoFC Downtown Marriott Watch
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498307467136953/

KellyAlzan

And kudos to me too. Because I'm the one that first brought to light the bed bug infestation that will occur on Patrick street subsequent if the hotel's existence

gary4books

You also said nobody visits Frederick. So you want it both ways? I am not surprised. Anything to win. I took the bug comment to be a joke.

KellyAlzan

Correct. Frederick is not a tourist attraction. But I did not say "nobody visits Frederick". Those are your words taking my comments out of context.

Lancaster PA has the Amish culture and farms. We have Latinos and The Villages of Urbana.

harpers Ferry has the (2) rivers surrounded by mountains and national parkland. We have the monocacy.

Annapolis has the water and the naval academy. We have mount saint Mary's with a president making national news in a negative spectrum.

Frederic city has historical buildings. Ok, so does everywhere else.

Frederick simply does not have anything of great significance. We really don't.

gary4books

Kelly: You have been here so long that you do not "see the forest for the trees." Not that you lie, but many people like to visit Frederick and like it better than Harpers Ferry or other places. I do.

KellyAlzan

I disagree.

No one can say who like what better. That's nothing more than speculative opinions.

I think it's say for me to speculate Gary, that you have not seen harpers ferry on any given weekend.

This is like the overheight truck commenters here at FNP. So many people commenting about the overheight trucks on 75, yet they haven't been on that road, or if they have been on it, it hasn't been for years.

Keep it real, keep it real......

pilotguy299

I must be really slow today. The only thing I think I learned from this article, is that the cost of this project ranges from $64million to $120million. I'm not even clear on whether or not additional parking will be built. Not sure that this project has been well thought out.

DickD

You are not alone, pilot. lol

matts853

Griffin and others "knew" about the higher cost but didn't testify directly. That's so nice. In other words, they sat on the report so they could get the money in session. This project is a transparent fraud beginning with the RFP. In my ethical world, Griffin should be fired and this project killed. This is a scandal folks. Time to start over.

Dwasserba

While discussion of costs goes on, costs go up. The "small but vocal" group in opposition would be bigger if more in the county got the fnp instead of the wapo. Air b&b now advertises on tv and that's suitable here. If all the concern is about downtown businesses, they should take in the customers who need a place, not anyone who already houses their own pertinent guests. And no deck!!! Where will taxpaying neighbors park?? Yet we are sure to get this eventually. WOW

Burgessdr

Peter Samuel is being disingenuous.

The November 12, 2015 MOU clearly states total project costs estimated at $82.5 million with public funding sources estimated at $38.5 million (from city and county tax-increment financing, tax revenue from the project, grant funding and $15 million from the Maryland Stadium Authority).

The current estimate from Forella group is $84 million with $31 million in public funds.

Don't you think the current estimate of $84 million total project costs is pretty close to the November estimate of $82.5 million? And shouldn't Peter Samuel be glad that the current estimated of $31 million in public funding is LESS than the November 2015 estimate of $38.5 million?

http://cityoffrederick.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=16&clip_id=2732&meta_id=63003

AnotherFineMess

Oh.. You forgot the new cost is minus the 27.5 million parking deck! So the costs have gone up dramatically! The rumor of the 350 underground spaces has not been included in any proposal and the 27.5 million was the cost for an above ground deck!
Underground decks cost more! They have nixed 650 above spaces for 350 underground. Figure the same price for half the spaces but it's not included or factored in yet!
Can you follow that?
Three card Monte! Ah La Richard Griffin!

stevemckay

Exactly! Now with half the proposed parking spaces gone, one of the primary "public benefits" to justify the $31M in public financing seems to be vaporizing. Perhaps the proponents will revert back to the tired old narrative that there really isn't any public financing. Heh - let em try.

shiftless88

If this project does not bring in sufficient tax revenue then who is left holding the bag? Is the developer on the hook anyway? What if they go bankrupt? Look at the worst-case scenario; is the public on the hook for anything?

DickD

You think the amount of our taxes, taken out of our pockets, being less than previously, should make us happy? [sad]

Burgessdr

Peter Samuel, Jane Weir, Carrie Larson, Patrick Allen, and their band discredit themselves with their continual trash talking of ALL city, county, and state officials, ALL businesses associated with the project, ALL non-profit organizations that support the project, and ALL consultants that have provided studies. Even the Frederick Preservation Trust, who is supposed to deal with just historic preservation issues, has discredited themselves by trash talking city officials.

Their arguments on the facts are generally ineffective, so they resort to being abusive and trash talking. If they truly believe there is corruption and ethical violations, rather than just ranting and raving, they should make official complaints against government officials and employees and let an ethics committee or a judge sort it.

But they wont, because they are just trash talkers.

jthompson

I acknowledge that after nearly 25 years in local government elective office, my idea of where the line is drawn between fair comment and trash talk is very different from the average observer of Gubmint. As long as the criticism does not rise to the level of calling a Gubmint official a "Nazi" or a "murderer", the policy choices made by our elected officials are fair game for the grist mill. Those who engage in political, lobbying, campaign finance and public relations activities to facilitate the transfer of tens of millions of dollars of public funds into the coffers of private, for profit business entities should not anticipate a ticker-tape parade in their honor.

Burgessdr

Trash talking is not an acceptable form of political discourse, it is just mean-spirited and petty harassment. Sorry that you believe it is acceptable.

Apparently you think it acceptable to continually say that the Mayor and BOA, County Executive and Commissioners, and State Delegates and Senators are corrupt, engaged in conspiracy, unethical, dishonest, secret, deceptive, greedy, lining their pockets, big rigging, etc

These people are just sad little creatures. And have contributed ZERO to the City of Frederick or Frederick County.

matts853

It's painfully obvious that a select few, beginning with the Youngs, are misrepresenting the project and suppressing facts. Let's be honest, Ron wants this to cement his legacy in the city and he and his supporters are clearly willing to do whatever it takes to jam this square peg in a round hole project in people's faces. With so many other elected leaders outside of his inner circle who are unaware of the ever increasing costs, It is certainly fair to question the integrity and ethics of the Youngs, Krimm, Griffin, Mayor, et al. This kind of politics makes me sick.

DickD

Burgess, I have no desire to contribute any tax money to the City of Frederick.

DickD

Thank you jt. They will not get a ticker parade.

Dwasserba

Say "trash talkers" again

Burgessdr

Sad little creatures that continually trash talk and never contributed anything positive to the City of Frederick nor Frederick County. There are those that do and then there are those that do nothing but rant and rave and naysay.

matts853

Who's trash talking now?

BstD59

It sounds to me that all of these so called 'trash talkers' are contributing very much so to the benefit of both the county and the city. They are waving the red flags to caution the taxpayers that this hotel project is not what some [trash names withheld] politicians, entrepreneurs, developers and their attorneys claim it to be. I call that a very positive contribution and I thank them for it.

DickD

You sound just like the ex President of Mt. St. Mary's. [thumbdown]

gary4books

"Trash" is way too harsh. People want to know why not to build a hotel and the answer from some is about bed bugs, missing visitors to Harpers Ferry, detoured visitors to corn fields and fear of "corporate welfare" which do not add up to much over a hill of beans. Just explain all who have businesses in Frederick should not have more customers and how that is welfare. I call that good planning and a bit of a boost that may not make a lot of money but can help many people.

BlueDawn666

So Mr. Burgess I understand how hard it is to see us spreading the truth, you know Speak a little truth and people lose their minds...and you seem to be losing your collective mind. WE have done nothing but uncover the truth and make sure those truths are known, I do not appreciate being called a trash talker, nor do the others that have work tirelessly to uncover the truth. I am have a hard time understanding how uncovering the truth is trash talking, perhaps you could enlighten us all?

Seems us truth seekers are making an impact on this project and there are still more truths that are being uncovered..Speak a little truth and people lose their minds....try Mr. Burgess to hold on to your mind cause we are going to blow it.

Burgessdr

How many houses and apartments that people live did you help happen? How many jobs did you create? How much business tax revenue did you contribute to the City of Frederick and Frederick County? What did you do to help the Carroll Creek project? What did you do to help the revitalization of historic Frederick? What have you done to help tourism in the city? What did you do to help the rehabilition and reuse of abandoned warehouses and factories in the city?

How many endless nonsensical pages of blogs have you produced trashing everything and everyone?

gabrielshorn2013

Might ask you the same questions Bub. The Carroll Creek project provided flood protection to downtown, with the added benefit of cleaning up the downtown area. What benefits are the result of building this hotel at significant taxpayer cost, and costs to existing hotel owners? All I can ee is benefits to two families at our expense.

Burgessdr

You missed the entire point (not surprising). The Mayor & BOA, County Executive & Commissioners, State Senators & Delegates, business leaders, Griffin and DED staff, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Partnership, and Tourism Council are competent people that are Doers - they all have contributed and made City of Frederick and Frederick County the robust place it is today. On the other hand, there are people that are just Complainers, not Doers. They contribute nothing. Zero.

Burgessdr

There are "Those that Do." Then there are "Those that Cannot Do.". So they complain and blog about "Those that Do."

gabrielshorn2013

Still don't know what you have done.

BlueDawn666

[scared][scared][scared][scared][lol][lol][lol]

DickD

You might do something legally, but it can still be deceitful and this project reeks of deceit.

jthompson

The "Demand Analysis" seems to resemble the following pattern: i) Gubmint pays money to a consulting firm; ii) consulting firm pays some of the money to a college professor; iii) the college professor assigns the task of preparing the report to some graduate students as a class assignment; iv) graduate students come to a conclusion supporting the views of the entity paying for the report (Gubmint) that can be neither proven nor disproven.

petersamuel

This is a comprehensive and fair report except for one issue — car parking. Contrary to Mr Griffin, I did not “misunderstand” the Forella report of January 7 that he tried to suppress in violation of the Public Information Act. I noted in speaking to elected officials last Wednesday night that since the Forella report he had been forced to look for savings though he had told no one about it. The most obvious saving he made was to dump Parking Deck 6 and its 650 public parking spaces. Instead he proposed onsite hotel parking for 350, most underground. It seems most unlikely the $84 million will cover the cost of underground parking onsite. Griffin should come clean on this. Peter Samuel

DickD

Thank you very much, Peter, for your effort, it is greatly appreciated. We'll have to put you on our payroll, as the taxpayers owe you $31 million, if we get rid of this boondoggle. How about running against Ron Young, in 2018?

BstD59

There is a stronger need for someone like him in the city, Dick. McClendon is a do nothing, know nothing mayor [shame on me, there I go trash talking again] and the city desperately needs someone at the helm who can lead and put the city back on the map. [Note to Burgessdr: and now I'm contributing something positive to the city, a search for a qualified individual to run for Mayor.]

DickD

Yes, Bst, but if he runs against Ron, I can vote for him. If he runs for Mayor, I can't. We didn't elect Ron Young to give our tax dollars to the Plamondons and Randalls.

kimberlymellon

Here's a link to the Forella Construction Cost Report (FNP should have posted it): https://1drv.ms/b/s!Akqm3hhXMLQ-kzsTa7HKn4OkYpkS

kimberlymellon

Griffin's comments bring to mind an old Jack Nickelson movie quote, "You can't handle the truth!" Which must also be why this UMB/PALS study filled with cautionary red flags and the suggestion that the costs should be glossed over with marketing tricks will be the only way to garner support from key stakeholders (public) isn't published on the City's website either. Here's the link found in a document search: https://www.cityoffrederick.com/documentcenter/view/4832

AnotherFineMess

The FNP constantly refers to 'on site parking' for this debacle when, for a complex that may host up to 1000+ people, employees, hotel guests, conference center attendees, 2 restaurants, gift shop, health center etc. there will be ONLY 110 'onsite' parking spaces!

Now the additional parking has been removed to reign in the skyrocketing costs for the 'upscale' pipe dream, how will it survive without adequate parking?

IT WON'T!

So while everybody is having a hissy fit over the costs, the very plain and simple fact that is this hotel/conference center simply can't survive if people can't find very convenient parking, not 2 blocks away, sometimes it's full parking!

From the early days it was a major concern by everyone (even reported by the FNP) that the profitability of this project was in question. Using public money doesn't make it profitable! It just means the loss is shifted to someone else's pocket! With the public funding 40%+ of the cost and Plamadon getting 90% of the profit, that doesn't exactly make this profitable!

The tax payers of Frederick are being taken to the proverbial cleaners!

DickD

Is the FNP just trying to irritate all of us? Using our taxes for corporate welfare to benefit the Randalls and Plamondons and now rubbing it in? Down with the Young for supporting this!

gary4books

Paid or not, the opposition to the hotel may delay events. Sooner or later, there will be a hotel for downtown visitors and many will say "Who knew we would have visitors?" Most opposition runs from "Downtown is a desert" to "too many people will bring bed bugs and traffic - the horror of it all." And most other arguments are just plain words for profit, I suspect.

KellyAlzan

That's not the issue at hand. Therefore a moot point

Dwasserba

Yeah where's my "profit"...just saying, hotels are well situated here and plentiful, a conference center is coming to the south that costs only its owner, visitors come by the thousands already for events and somehow aren't sleeping in their cars or the streets. Times change, tastes change. Costly enclosed malls are white elephants, who could have imagined that. Will urban millenials put up their guests at an upscale hotel or the air b&b next door? Which businesses will fill the rooms? Should do ok for weddings. But skimping on parling will make the neighbors hate you and us lazy locals shop somewhere else.

shiftless88

Gary, you seem like a smart guy so I can't understand why you constantly mis-characterize this as an issue with a hotel.

stevemckay

This post demeans the many people concerned about this project and, in the process, demeans yourself Gary4brooks. To insinuate that opponents are being paid is insulting. The people that I know, who have tirelessly investigated this boondoggle, do so out of a sense of public outrage. The primary problem with this project is, and always has been, the public financing of a private, for-profit enterprise. I have no problem with a downtown hotel/conference/convention/a big room with a buffet table center - I just don't want to pay for it. If there is a true market, then let the private market pay. There may have been an argument for the public to pay for the parking garage, as long as the public was assured access to it, but guess what - that's off the table now because of the ballooning cost estimates. So exactly what will the $31M in public financing pay for now?!

matts853

[thumbup][thumbup]

DickD

Thank you, Steve.[thumbup]

gary4books

I was trying to find a reason and advocacy for profit is a tradition in some places. Otherwise they were just opposing a hotel out of reasons that make little or no sense. I would avoid going that direction. There is a reason that the hotel is not there - it is a project with a low profit projection. The best reason to build it is to help all the other businesses near it. That is a public benefit and not "corporate welfare." Many cities do it.

shiftless88

Again, it is NOT the hotel? Why do you insist on repeating that?

Burgessdr

Why is it the citizens of Monrovia, Jefferson, Middletown, and Washington County are expressing outrage, and the businesses in Downtown Frederick are expressing praise?

kimberlymellon

Why is it that a recent transplant Yahoo from W.V. to downtown Frederick feels he has more say about how Marylanders spend their tax dollars than those who have owned property and businesses in the state for the majority of their lifetimes?

BstD59

Gary - Maybe there will be a hotel someday downtown, maybe not. But I would hope that if there ever is it isn't built with money that has lined the pockets of politicians [ANY politician]. I also would hope that it isn't built with tax dollars. If the Youngs, McClement, Plamondons, etc want a hotel fine, but they can bloody well build it without tax payers money. They can't? Well then maybe it shouldn't be built at all. If one agrees that a downtown hotel is going is going to profit the citizens in the long run then I say they have short vision.

gary4books

I might agree to "wrong vision" but why "short vision?" I expect more customers in the area staying longer and spending more at local businesses. They benefit. It is good to support them.That just confuses me. When some post so many notes and few make any sense at all, I tend to suspect there is a pay for comments fund some place. And by the by, the money is from those who stay in hotels.

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