As the global pandemic continues to take a toll on the hospitality industry, the Frederick aldermen will have to decide whether to extend an agreement with the developer of a hotel and conference center slated for downtown Frederick.
The city and Plamondon Hospitality Partners are looking to extend their amended agreement for the project as they wait to see what the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on the hotel and hospitality industry.
This would be the fourth time the agreement for the property at 200-212 E. Patrick St. has been extended.
A previous extension will expire June 30. Another extension would cover the project through December 31, 2023.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for June 3, city director of economic development Richard Griffin told the mayor and aldermen at a workshop Wednesday.
The city has strongly backed the project as an economic anchor for downtown, but the pandemic has caused unavoidable delays in the project timeline, Griffin said.
While the market for hospitality services recovers, Plamondon Hospitality Partners will have to keep the development site along Carroll Creek intact, advance a market analysis of the post-COVID market demand, look at and obtain financing, complete the design, seek entitlements and be ready to construct the project, according to a report prepared by city staff.
If the agreement is extended, the city would pay Plamondon Hospitality Partners $150,000 from the City Parking Enterprise Fund to cover part of the design changes and other costs.
The project was always going to take a long time, and now it will take longer, said Pete Plamondon, co-president of Plamondon Hospitality Partners.
While they are seeing signs of a return for the hospitality industry, most driven by leisure travel, the market for meetings will likely be the last to rebound, he said.
By the time they can arrange loans and equity for the project, “I believe the timing will be very good,” Plamondon said.
Mayor Michael O'Connor said he believes that if they go past June 30 without an agreement, the project could be significantly, and possibly irreparably, jeopardized.
When the agreement was extended last June, Alderman Derek Shackelford said he was hesitant for the city to put up money that it might not get back if something happens with the project, given the current state of the market and the hospitality business.
Shackelford said Wednesday, “I'm still in the same place I was last year” about his hesitations.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated how many times the agreement has been extended.