Study says a new hotel should go somewhere along Lougheed Highway. (THE NEWS/files)

Study says a new hotel should go somewhere along Lougheed Highway. (THE NEWS/files)

City study lays it all out for a new hotel in Maple Ridge

New accommodation will need to partner with others, because of costs

Maple Ridge could attract a new $16-million hotel to the city, but it would have to be located on the site of an existing hotel operation or project of some kind.

And there’s no way a new hotel could be built in downtown’s Memorial Peace Park unless it piggy-backed on a city-owned structure, says a report in council’s Tuesday agenda.

A hotel on the upper storeys of a civic and cultural centre was one of the concepts considered, but discarded last year as Maple Ridge created its recreation revitalization list, currently before the public.

CBRE Hotels says that Maple Ridge could support a 90-room, wood-frame building that should also include a 100-seat restaurant and lounge, indoor pool and fitness facility, somewhere along Lougheed Highway, between the downtown and Pitt Meadows.

But because of high land-development costs, partnering with an existing operator, or joining with a larger development, may be the only way a new hotel could come to town. The cost of providing underground parking or concrete construction could also make a project unprofitable.

If built, the average daily room charge would be just under $150 a day, and if it opened by 2020, when Maple Ridge is hosting the B.C. Summer Games, it could achieve an occupancy rate of 64 per cent.

The report specifically looked at the Memorial Peace Park location as part of its study. A hotel had been considered for the upper storeys of a civic and cultural centre proposed for west of the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.

But council decided last July not to proceed with that and other recreation projects.

The report says that putting a stand-alone structure in that location would require high-rise construction, adding another $4.5 million to the cost, making it non-viable.

Nevertheless, a joint municipal and private partnership for such a project could still work, says the report.

But Maple Ridge Coun. Gordy Robson says a privately owned condo or hotel complex still could be viable in that location. That building could be up to 10 storeys and allow the city to complete its underground parking.

Such a project could also kickstart a new parkade that the city wants built at the Haney bus loop.

“That would give us lots of parking downtown,” Robson said.

An express B-line bus service connecting downtown Maple Ridge to the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station starts in 2019.

The city wants to use the report as a way of enticing a major hotel operator to Maple Ridge to complement Econo-Lodge and the Best Western on Lougheed Highway.

“I’m hoping this report will give some hotelier the idea to come and make a deal with us,” Robson said.

Robson said, alternatively, a new hotel could be built as part of another new, long-term development planned for the town centre.

A plan to build a $38-million, four-storey hotel at the foot of 224th Street near the Haney Bypass, which received a building permit in 2015, is bogged down in the courts.

Maple Ridge News