Local developer Rod McLeod confirmed plans to construct a $40 million hotel and luxury condominium complex downtown.
The proposed 188,000 square foot development will feature a 150-room, 12-story, full-service hotel, up to 35 luxury condominiums, 92 underground parking stalls, restaurants, conference space, spa, pool and other amenities. The project is expected to create 50,000 person-hours of employment during construction and 115 permanent jobs, McLeod said.
"My two business partners and I believe strongly in Prince George," McLeod said. "It's a great place to live and a great place to invest."
McLeod said the four-star hotel will be operated by a, "premier hotel brand," which he could not disclose.
Construction is schedule to start this summer, with completion set for late 2013, he said.
The project is slated to be located adjacent to the Prince George Public Library and Civic Centre. The complex will occupy a 0.84 acre lot at 1355 10th Ave. and a 1.72 acre city-owned lot on the other side of 10th Avenue, currently used as an RCMP parking lot.
On Monday city council will consider a bylaw to close the section of 10th Avenue between the lots, to allow the merging of the properties.
The downtown development property tax incentive offered by the City of Prince George was a key factor in the decision to go ahead with the project, McLeod said.
"Without it, I don't think we'd do it. It made the project viable," he said. "The city has been incredibly cooperative."
McLeod thanked Initiatives Prince George and the city for their work to facilitate the development.
Former Initiatives Prince George chairman and commercial realtor Clint Dahl said the project began with a discussion between himself and former IPG president TIm McEwan and vice-president Kathie Scouten. Initiatives Prince George did some intial work developing a business case for a hotel on the location, prior to McLeod coming onboard to develop the project.
"This truly was a team effort," Dahl said.
Dahl is charged with selling the condominium units, and said interest has already been strong. Pre-sales of the units are expected to begin within a couple weeks, he added.
Mayor Shari Green said the project will bring positive change to the city's downtown.
"This really has been, for me, a dream come true," Green said. "With the downtown tax incentive ... we've come up with a program that is the first of it's kind."
Green saluted all those who worked together to make the project to fruition.
Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Jennifer Brandle-McCall said downtown Prince George has turned an corner and is now attracting private sector investors.
The chamber has been averaging 15 new members a month, primarily driven by new businesses downtown, she said.
"I hope the momentum continues," Brandle-McCall said. "People are believing that downtown is the place to be. The future is so bright."
Prince George MLAs Pat Bell and Shirley Bond praised the project developers and city for finding creative partnerships.
"The last time there was a day like this in Prince George, it was 2007. On that day there was the opening of the [Charles Jago Northern] Sport Centre, and funding announcement of the airport runway expansion and cancer clinic," Bell said. "There is a difference between that day and this day ... that was about government bringing projects. Today shows the private sector also trusts and believes in the future of Northern B.C."
Bond said the project highlights the importance of, "having a vision and a dream," and pursing it.
Prince George Public Library chief librarian Allan Wilson said the project will be a welcome neighbour.
"It's a known thing that if you get residents in the area of a library, you get activity," he said. "Just having a bunch of people moving around -a good neighbour -that is going to help."