Council directed staff after an in-camera council meeting on Dec. 7 to do an updated market study on the hotel and Vancouver Island Conference Centre (VICC).
These updated studies are expected to take three months to complete and provide City council and staff with a better understanding of the challenges related with the hotel property at 100 Gordon St. and adjacent VICC.
The updated studies will cost $50,000 and are required as the previous market feasibility study was done before 2011 and is not based on current trends.
Council has directed staff to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), in the spring with a quick turn around time for responses. Then council will use the evaluation criteria in the RFP to determine the most suitable developer.
Council has also agreed not to repurpose the VICC until the market studies and RFP process are in place.
“We want to use an open, transparent and competitive process to find a developer who can deliver this important project for Nanaimo,” says Mayor Bill McKay.
“There are people interested in the site right now,” says Andre Sullivan, chair of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, NEDC. “There’s been four inquiries.”
“Our job is to make sure people are bidding for it,” says Sullivan. “There’s existing proponents and the only fair way is to have an open process.”
The RFP process requires developers to submit a delivery date for the hotel. It will also have a number of evaluation criteria that the successful proponent will need to meet.