The province’s first-ever Holiday Inn Express is poised to break ground in Brandon later this year, after the Western Motel building is cleared from the property at 1148 18th St.
P.R. Hotels Ltd. chief operating officer Jeff Krivoshen said a development agreement is in place with the city, with everything good to go in principle for the six-storey, 116-room build.
"I just think that Brandon has a lot of potential in terms of growing and being a really special community in Manitoba," he said, adding that the new Holiday Inn Express building prototype is a unique concept for the company.
Modern decor and open spaces highlight the plan, which will find the building back onto 18th Street and its main canopy entrance face west onto 19th Street, to "ensure efficient traffic flow," according to the plan the company submitted to the city last year, which Krivoshen said still stands.
Although the demolition date for the existing boarded-up Western Motel has yet to be scheduled, Krivoshen said he hopes to find it done in time to allow them to break ground on the new development sometime in November.
It’s an approximately 14-month build, with the building expected to open during the first quarter of 2020 and employ between 35 and 45 people.
Although Winnipeg has five Holiday Inn locations, this will be the province’s first Holiday Inn Express, which Krivoshen said is a streamlined bed and breakfast-style operation without meeting spaces or restaurants, and is instead focused solely on the lodging side of things.
They are also known for offering free breakfast to those spending the night.
Brandon First executive director Graham Harvey said he was "delighted" to learn that the project was moving ahead.
He said the hotel would serve as further "affirmation of the strength that our community provides in terms of providing a positive environment for hotel development going forward, and I think the timing of it is going to be fantastic."
The hotel’s 116 rooms will also strengthen Brandon First’s ability to present Brandon’s case as a viable host for large-scale events, he added.
Manitoba Ag Days general manager Kristen Philips said the annual agricultural event’s growth has been restricted by the limited number of accommodations that are available in the Wheat City.
Holiday Inn Express is coming on board is "excellent news," she said.
As it has currently stands, the annual event typically finds people booking all of Brandon’s hotel rooms solid, with attendees spreading themselves throughout Westman and filling room as far away as Virden and Portage la Prairie.
Philips said they’ve worked with Brandon Tourism in order to encourage exhibitors to double people up in rooms in order to maximize the space, but this practice only goes so far.
With more rooms coming on board, possibly in time for Ag Days 2020, she said that more visitors might be able to spend more than one day at the event.
The Holiday Inn Express would be located across the street from the Keystone Centre, where Ag Days takes place in late January.
Coun. John LoRegio (Meadows-Waverly) said the proposed Holiday Inn Express appears to have been well-received by area residents, with nobody having expressed any concerns to him thus far.
P.R. Hotels Ltd. is a Saskatoon-based developer currently expanding its hotel footprint via Holiday Inn Express locations throughout western Canada — an effort initiated in 2000 with the opening of a hotel in Saskatoon.
On Tuesday, Krivoshen was contacted by phone at the grand opening of a Kelowna, B.C.-based Holiday Inn Express.
With the Kelowna project completed, he said that the company can now focus their energy on the Brandon project.
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