Frederick’s proposed downtown hotel and conference center will have fewer rooms, more parking spaces and a new plan for splitting public and private funds, according to the latest design.

Developers Plamondon Hospitality Partners joined architects with Bates Architects and several state, county and city officials and unveiled a 3-D design model and renderings of the project to an excited crowd Thursday at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center.

The multimillion-dollar hotel and conference center is planned for 200 and 212 E. Patrick St., which is the site of the former Frederick News-Post building and the historic Birely Tannery.

The design unveiled Thursday proposes four floors with 180 rooms, roughly 20,000 square feet of rentable meeting space, and about 160 underground parking spaces, which Pete Plamondon Jr., the co-president of Plamondon Hospitality Partners, said will all be public.

It also includes improved access from East Patrick Street, complete rehabilitation of the former News-Post building and demolition of the Birely Tannery building at the rear of the property.

Earlier renderings included five floors with 207 rooms and plans for about 100 parking spaces.

A new segregation of public and private dollars

Mayor Randy McClement and County Executive Jan Gardner proudly pointed out that the project, which will use public and private dollars should it come to fruition, no longer allocates any taxpayer funds for construction or operation of the buildings.

“The plan today clearly separates public and private dollars,” Gardner said.

The previous rendering and plan, which developers released in 2014, slated public money for the conference center, while Plamondon was set to fund the hotel.

The developers are set to pay for all construction and operation costs of the physical structures, McClement said, while the public funds will be used for land acquisition, site preparation, utilities, and on-site public parking.

Plamondon said the total price of the project is about $80 million. He pointed out that the number is still a budgeted amount and could change as the project gets closer to construction.

The city, county and state are set to chip in about $31 million combined in public money, while Plamondon is set to contribute the remainder.

The public funding is a combination of city payments and parking funds, tax-increment financing at the city and county levels, and state capital grant funding, among other public sources.

The city and county’s contribution is expected to amount to between $14 million and $16 million, depending on final design approvals.

Maryland lawmakers passed a capital budget in late March that tentatively includes $16 million in grants for the project. Through that plan the project would receive a $5 million grant in fiscal 2018. Other amendments include a $7.5 million grant preauthorization for fiscal 2019 and a $3.5 million grant preauthorization for fiscal 2020.

The money is not a sure thing yet, as the state Board of Public Works still has to release the funds. McClement said Thursday that he is working out a schedule to determine when the board will hear the request.

Republican lawmakers have opposed state funding for the project and have said they will try to keep the money from being released.

Historic preservation

The architects plan to restore the historic elements of the Birely Tannery site as they move forward with the request to demolish the building. The next step is taking the plans to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, which architects Marty Bates and Jim Mills said should occur shortly.

Plamondon said the decision to remove the tannery building was not an easy one.

“We do not take the removal of the former Birely Tannery building lightly,” he said. “But it’s necessary as this location is the only feasible option for a full-service hotel in this economic climate.”

Officials hired Bates Architects roughly seven months ago to complete the design because of the Frederick firm’s experience and expertise in historic preservation and rehabilitation.

“We’re always interfacing with city offices, planning offices and the Historic Preservation Commission,” Bates said. “We know the players, we know the workings and we know the community.”

Bates and Mills said they plan to involve the community in future discussions about preservation of the elements of the tannery site to ensure the history is not lost.

They are also excited about the plans to rehabilitate the former News-Post building into a retail facility, which they hope will include a featured restaurant and shops.

The red brick building was constructed in 1910 and used as an all-in-one terminal, waiting room, ticket office and freight depot for the Frederick & Middletown Railway. The Potomac Edison Co. also had its headquarters there and operated a 17-mile stretch of trolley line from Frederick to Thurmont. The News-Post moved there in 1968.

“It’s a gem, architecturally speaking.” Mills said of the building. “We’re just bringing it back to life.”

A long-awaited
step forward

If all goes as planned, officials hope to begin construction by 2018, with a tentative 2020 opening.

The design unveiled Thursday was the first solid, detailed plan developers have released.

The plans have been in the works for roughly eight years, McClement said, and Thursday’s design reveal was something those who have been working on it have been anticipating for a long time.

McClement said that downtown Frederick is becoming more of a destination and a hotel of this caliber coincides perfectly with that. He and Gardner also thanked everyone who helped move the project along, including members of the Board of Aldermen, County Council, state Legislature, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Frederick Partnership, and Tourism Council of Frederick County.

“This hotel and meeting space will be the crown jewel and much-needed element to the infrastructure of our downtown,” McClement said. “I look forward to having everyone who is here today join us when we cut the ribbon [to open] this great facility.”

Gardner pointed out that the hotel and conference center are also expected to directly add more than 100 jobs downtown, with a potential to bring twice as many jobs across the region. The project will also boost tourism and development by attracting more people downtown.

“This project is about jobs. It’s about economic development,” she said.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

(39) comments

sevenstones1000

Insist on trees planted on the sidewalk.

This is a pretty industrial looking flat roofed building. Nothing at all attractive about it and I don't think it fits in with old town.

petersamuel

The changes in the design, the reduced size,and height and the direct access off W Patrick St and the increased on-site parking announced yesterday are all improvements, but they don’t go nearly far enough. The plans still require demolition of the Birely Tannery building recently declared by the Maryland Historical Trust a unique example in the state of an extant building \of this major 19th century industry. With its splendid broad chimney stack and mixed stone and brick construction this building would make a striking Museum of 19th Century Manufactures. The City should consider sponsoring something like that, not a Marriott.

Also welcome is the Mayor’s statement that after years of saying it had to be financed by taxpayers the Plamondon companies will pay for the conference center portion of the project. That was over $8 million worth of taxpayer funded construction previously to be gifted to the developer. But if this is such a great project why is some $31 million of city, county and state funds still needed? Far from encouraging follow-on development the never-ending saga of a giant City-sponsored and state subsidized hotel has been killing any of the kind of organic, investor-funded development that, say, Annapolis has seen — with half a dozen or more mostly smaller downtown hotels but catering to a variety of visitor tastes and budgets. Visitors to Frederick can’t sleep in both a downtown hotel and in a bed just off the interstate, so those off-the-interstate (and not just the Holiday Inn) are bound to suffer losses of patronage if the City project ever actually opens. It is unfair because the newbie hotel gets boondoggle subsidies and the others have to pay their own way. I write about all this at frederickhotelboondoggle.us

gardenwhimsey

I'm guessing you don't actually live in the city of Frederick since you don't know the difference between East and West Patrick Streets. The dividing line for east/west in the city is Market Street. The old newspaper building is at the corner of East Patrick and Carroll Streets. There cannot possibly be "direct access off W Patrick St" as you state in the first sentence of your comment.

gary4books

Location is important for hotels and people driving through, and they usually stay at the first place they see off the main highway. Downtown visitors will want a place they can see from their walks and dining and not want far to drive. I think there are two distinct sets of customers and that they will not take away business from each other. I prefer, also, to have something for everyone.

Jane and Ed

This entire public relations stunt the City held at the Delaplaine was called it a PRESS Conference but they just did a self congratulatory ra ra session and never took any questions...It was announced less than a day before it happened to keep the critics away...and so the City and County could fill the room with all the proponents and loud clappers. This is the trickery used to slant the public perception and is NOT what Democracy looks like!

The bit that the Mayor claimed, that no money would go to support the Hotel or Conference center is pure hogwash. EVEN the Capital budget language says the 16 MIllion is for the "Hotel and Conference Center". page 31 of HB151" "Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center. Provide a
grant of $X,000,000 to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the
City of Frederick for the acquisition, planning, design,
construction, repair, renovation, and reconstruction, of the
Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center, located in
Frederick County (Frederick County) ......." totalling 16 M over several years in several chunks.

The thing is , THIS has to get passed the Board Of Public Works before any of this corporate welfare is released. So don't count your chickens.
The Parking deck 6 is not in the cost anymore. They removed it to bring the last estimate by Peter Forella down from 121M which to closer to the numbers Plamondon/City DED like to spin.Peter Samuel PIA requested a Budget breakdown Since the Mayor claims we are not paying 8 Million for the conference center, that will be owned by Plamondon, the public oughta be getting a rebate! The facts don't lie but the Mayor is spinning some mighty big alternative facts...
Even the signed Memorqandum of Understanding between the City County and Plamondons says the public is paying for 1/3 of all development costs. Well that is directly subsidizing ONE developer while competing against all self supporting businesses.

The thing is, THIS has to get passed the Board Of Public Works before any of this corporate welfarefrom the State is released. So don't count your chickens.

And join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498307467136953/ for the real discussion. You need to know what the city and County are actually spending 31 Million and more on.

FrederickFan

Its difficult to sort out what you are claiming. But there seems to be almost no consistency between what you are saying and the data that was recently shared at the press conference.

gary4books

"the real discussion.." With real people? Such contumely.

dbjanda1

Will there be notification to clients if the room was previously used by Blaine ???...Just Askin' !!!!!

DickD

Nope, it will have to be Trump for our local red necks.

elymus43

This whole thing is a joke. The taxpayers are going to be the LOSERS.

FrederickFan

Actually that is not true at all, particularly for City and County taxpayers who will enjoy the benefits of the increased business and commercial tax revenues forever. I don't have access to the math, but I wouldn't be surprised if the increased tax revenues pay back the local (City and County) taxpayers in less than five years, and continue to pay local taxpayers year after year.

The only loser, and it may not effect him very much since he is too far away from the City, is the guy who owns the FSK Mall Holiday Inn. He paid several members of our State Delegation a few $ thousand each in campaign contributions to change their positions supporting the project, to being against the project, not realizing they have relatively little impact or respect in Annapolis.

gardenwhimsey

The only area of the city that might see some benefit is the immediate downtown area. Those of us who live more than two blocks away will not see any benefit...we still won't get once-a-year bulk pick-up, we still won't ever see a police car cruise up and down our streets, we will see our water rates go up again and again and again. They say the parking deck will be open to the public but they aren't planning enough spaces to accommodate enough people to be considered a conference/convention, let alone the general public. I don't care if City money doesn't go to the hotel itself but only to the parking facility, if the hotel gets money from the County or the State, that is still my tax money and I don't want it going to a private enterprise unless they have to repay it, with interest.

Frayou

Building appears to be more parking deck than hotel? They built the Carol Creek Canal which sat idle for 20-30 years while local politians, business leaders & real estate mongals attempts to drum up justification to expand buildings along top side of the canal. Slow progress. Now they will have a place to meet & sleep after eating/drinking, walking the canal and city streets. So much to see & do downtown.

gary4books

A great day for all the local business that will have more customers and thrive near the hotel. Some may object on philosophical grounds, but we will see its advantages soon enough.

Nicki

[thumbup] Gary!

jerseygrl42

How about on cost to the taxpayers rather than philosophy...$31 Million taken from the taxpayers which under this new and improved plan moves the taxpayer cost up from 36% to 39% of the projected cost of the project while 100% of the profit goes to Plamondon....yep , what a great day ...and just think , 100 new jobs at a cost of $310,000 per....

armillary

As a frequent traveler I can state that there's nothing less memorable than another night in a hotel beside an interstate surrounded by chain restaurants. But a cozy, walkable, downtown hotel surrounded by local restaurants, amenities and culture is something that you remember and look forward to returning to. This is going to be a gem.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup]

jthompson

"Mayor Randy McClement and County Executive Jan Gardner proudly pointed out that the project, which will use public and private dollars should it come to fruition, no longer allocates any taxpayer funds for construction or operation of the buildings." Those assertions (assuming correct attribution) seem to require explanation/clarification. The costs of acquiring and preparing the land upon which one constructs a building is as much a part of the costs of construction as bricks & mortar. Ditto the cost of providing utilities (City water & sewer).

FrederickFan

The City appears to be retaining its interest in the land. So they are investing in their own asset, ownership of which will be retained by the taxpayers.

And CE Gardner is investing only in the parking garage (as the County has always done) and some local street work. For this relatively modest investment, she will get a big boost in County business/commercial tax revenue easing the tax pressure on County homeowners.

Where was all the criticism when Blaine Young, Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve were vaporizing $150,000,000 when they agreed to pay for massive amounts of infrastructure that should have been paid for by residential developers? All of which is going to increase the burden on tax payers (residential development NEVER pays for itself)? All the home building that was locked in and guaranteed by the Young Board will punish Frederick County for generations.

DickD

Didn't we get rid of Blaine for those $150,000 fiasco's?

FrederickFan

Yes. True. But taxpayers paid dearly before the next election came around. And we can't forget in case any of these three, Young, Delauter or Shreve, ever run for election again claiming to be "taxpayer friendly." Nothing can be further from the truth.

For example, that bridge going over Route 340 to the Jefferson "Tech" ( = residential) Park? Blaine Young, Kirby Delauter, and Billy Shreve decided you and I should pay for that, among many other items of residential developer infrastructure, there and at Oakdale-Linganore.

jthompson

The likeness that is impersonating the CE can't be the Jan Gardner I knew and served with for 12 years. That Jan WOULD NEVER use scarce County tax dollars to finance lobbying efforts to divert scarce State tax dollars away from school construction and highway safety projects to a conference center.

jthompson

Since the CE impersonator was able to get the County Council to earmark 85% of the hotel tax revenue for the benefit of the developers, it won't be much of a jump to allocate 100% to the developers. So much for all the supposed tax revenues easing the tax pressure on County homeowners.

KellyAlzan

Lenny for County Executive!

DickD

Yup, Jt, "figures don't lie, but liars figure."

dremsberg

Exactly - your philosophy when justifying your viewpoints. Thanks for admitting to the obvious

ma23464

Disgusting. The state of Maryland is spending 16 million to line the pockets of fredericks wealthiest family's

ma23464

This is how the rich get richer and the middle class dwindles. Back room good old boy deals on the taxpayers back. Meanwhile the politicians think they actually accomplished something.

jthompson

We've reached gender equality the participants in back room deals involving taxpayer funds. There are plenty of "good ol' girls" involved with this one.

elymus43

Always look forward to your comments. Please do more comments.

KellyAlzan

And what about the inevitable bedbug infestation on Patrick street subsequent of this hotel??

gary4books

Do you really think visitors who can afford an expensive hotel room will brig in bed bugs? You must have a low opinion of our visitors.

joelp77440

The developer is making a mistake with tearing down the tannery. I could care less if it is gone but that will be the weak link in their plan. This HPC is militant and will use this as a weapon to kill the whole thing. I can't see why they didn't incorporate or at least move it.

joelp77440

Hurray, compromise. Got to love democracy. Still most opponents will not be satisfied. It resistance has never really was about the use of public dollars. It has always been about the changing downtown and growth (NIMBY). I would rather see Frederick City grow twice over than see our fair county built out. The city is for infilling, let's fill it.

rbtdt5

I think it looks good

AnotherFineMess

This is an absolute joke. Aside from all the other problems, 170 parking spaces will strangle the hotel let alone a conference center.

180 rooms, restaurants, 700 capacity conference center, employees, public parking.. many of those spaces will be occupied by locals not staying in the hotel or attending conferences.

Any public official who supports this disaster needs to be voted out!

NO, this guaranteed failure will not be a financial savior for Frederick.

CaringCommunity

Au contraire... the joke would be putting the conference center in an un-walkable, non-place that would have little if any economic impact for our local businesses, our tax base and our citizens.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup]

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