St. Thomas getting new hotel
Brent Lale, CTV London
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019 4:24PM EDT
A Holiday Inn Express hotel is coming to St. Thomas. The Economic Development Corporation has announced a proposal for a 15 million dollar full service hotel which will be attached to the west end of the Elgin Centre.
The EDC says it will have 95 rooms, a swimming pool and up to 2000 square feet of meeting space.
“One of the biggest questions I get is ‘When are we getting another hotel?’” says Economic Development CEO Sean Dyke. “One with a swimming pool, one with a full service restaurant, one to stay during a sport event here.
I've never really been able to answer that, it has to come from private development."
The private investment continues the multi-million dollar revitalization of the mall by owner Jay Burstein.
"I think it’s positive for the whole area," says the mall's longest serving tenant Hassib Zabbian.
For 29 years he's been behind his sewing machine at Flair Jeans and Alterations, and has been through the highs and lows of the mall.
"In the early 2000's the mall was completely full, but it's on the rise again. Our sales are up since the new owner (Jay Burstein) took over and I believe with a hotel, the business in this mall will be very very good."
Local sports organizations are thrilled to hear the news. St. Thomas Minor Baseball hosts three to four weekend tournaments a year, with over 120 teams coming through..
"I would say that one or two teams are able to stay here in the city," says LDBA President Derek Brooks. "It's exciting because about seventy-five percent of the teams that stay are in the South London corridor."
As of now, there are a couple of places to stay in the St. Thomas area. There are a few motels near Talbotville and the Comfort Inn just east of the city.
Comfort Inn General Manager Aroon Sheladia used terms like "great concern" and "survival" when learning details of the new development from CTV News. He isn't sure there is enough travelers to split between two hotels as well as the increased usage of Air BNB in St. Thomas. Sean Dyke recognizes that possibility, but still sees the announcement it as a positive.
"I think the reality is having a grouping of hotels in a community is a good way to keep people local. Whether it's sports tourism or people going to the beach for a weekend, it gives them one other option than going up the highway to London.
Pending approval, construction is expected to begin in March of next year, with a completion by summer of 2021.
A public meeting on the necessary bylaw amendments for hotel is taking place in mid-July.