Public consultation meeting held for Dalhousie St. hotel




By Ron Giofu


The process of bringing one of the two proposed hotels to town took a step forward last week.

A public consultation session was held last Tuesday night in the Libro Centre’s downstairs community room where those with interest or concerns in the development could address town staff as well as representatives from Amico Properties Inc., the latter being the proponents of the development.

Should everything go according to plan, the hotel would be built at the southeast corner of Dalhousie St. and Gore St. Plans on display at the public consultation session showed a four-storey, 91-unit hotel but Cindy Prince, vice president of development with Amico, stated that is the maximum of what the hotel would be and there is a chance that it could be smaller.

The hotel could be anywhere from two to four storeys and range from 60-91 units, she indicated, depending on the operator and what their financial model for the project states.

Prince indicated that there were two operators interested in the site as of the Oct. 19 announcement with two more operators contacting Amico since the announcement. She added the company is doing its due diligence to make sure they select one that is best to operate the hotel in downtown Amherstburg.

Comments collected will be put together in a report and Prince anticipates appearing before the new council in early 2019.

“We’re hoping to be before council in January or February,” she said.

Prince said the comments ranged from the look of the hotel, how it would impact neighbouring properties and traffic.

Terry Hall looks over one of the drawings presented at a public meeting on the proposed Dalhousie St. hotel. The meeting was Nov. 20 at the Libro Centre.

“Those are all good and fair concerns,” she stated.

The hotel would blend in to what is already in the downtown core, Prince stated, and that Amico is working with the heritage committee to come up with a look suitable for Amherstburg. She also indicated a traffic study of the area would be done and that the hotel building would be built farther away from the intersection than the current building on the site.

Most comments were “very positive,” she added, and that “I think the community, in general, is excited for a hotel in the downtown area.”

Rebecca Belanger, the town’s manager of planning services, also noted that a traffic study will be part of the process. She said the developers have increased the number of proposed parking spaces from 58 to 75 spots.

Belanger said the town will work with Amico and summarize all public comments before bringing it town council for a public meeting on the Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments. Like Prince, Belanger said the feedback was mostly positive for the development.

“There’s certainly a lot of interest in having a hotel,” she said, adding the developers have shown interest in building the hotel with a heritage façade.

A proposed site plan on how the hotel would be situated at the corner of Dalhousie St. and Gore St. The size is still in question as it could be reduced from what is shown on the plan.

One of the residents who came out was Terry Hall. Hall said there are a number of restaurants and bars in that area and “that’s where people want to be.”

“I think it’s a great idea to bring a hotel to the town. We certainly need it,” said Hall. “It’d be a great idea. It’s a great location.”

The Amico hotel would be part of an overall vision by the company that also consists of two condominium buildings on the mainland and the development of the south end of Boblo Island. Total value of all developments is estimated at $120 million, though the public consultation session was strictly on the hotel plans.

The other proposed hotel for Amherstburg is near the intersection of Simcoe St. and Meloche Road and that is a separate project being proposed by Norbert Bolger of Nor-Built Construction. A $10 million Quality Inn & Suites is proposed for the site with the possibility of another $10 million in investment if restaurants and retail outlets are added to the lands.

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