Plans are in the works for an $80-million, 220-room hotel to be built at the north entrance to Stampede Park in Calgary that will connect directly to the BMO Centre which is currently being expanded.
The hotel will be the first on the Stampede grounds and kick-start other developments. It will be built on a 31,000-square-foot parcel at the southwest corner of Stampede Trail and 12th Avenue S.E.
U.S.-based Matthews Southwest Hospitality, a private real estate development company that builds and manages projects across North America, has signed an agreement with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) to construct the hotel. CMLC is the lead on more than $1 billion in city-building projects in Calgary, including the BMO Centre expansion.
CMLC president and CEO Kate Thompson says the agreement is a “major step forward” in the development of Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District and she is thrilled a deal has been reached between Matthews and the Calgary Stampede.
“With the expansive construction on the BMO Centre moving along, we have been focused on securing a development partner to support the evolving needs of conventions and events in this area. Matthews Southwest Hospitality brings deep experience in hotel development befitting of the world-class convention venue it will sit adjacent to.
“This development agreement is a very positive indication of things to come, and just one example of how investment in the district, and in projects like the BMO Centre expansion, is already generating economic benefit and spurring further development in the area.”
Construction on the hotel is expected to begin in 2024. It will be the first major private investment in the city’s Culture + Entertainment District since a master plan was completed in 2018.
Matthews has partnered with architectural firm Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects to design the hotel. The team is now advancing the project into the design, financing and permitting phases.
In partnership with the Calgary Stampede, CMLC issued an expression of interest for a hotel development in 2019 and Matthews was selected as the preferred partner.
Since that time, CMLC has completed feasibility studies, site analysis and land use amendments to ensure the hotel is developed in alignment with the needs of Western Canada’s largest convention venue.
Next steps will involve a comprehensive design stage to plan how the hotel will be integrated with the district and how a direct interior physical connection will be constructed to link to the BMO Centre.
The hotel itself will be a 4 to 4.5 diamond boutique lifestyle venue with four food and beverage offerings and expanded amenities, including a fitness centre and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
It will be just steps away from the BMO Centre, Saddledome, Cowboys Casino as well as numerous restaurants and retailers.
“The vision for this area grabbed our attention from the very beginning,” says Matthews president Mike Garcia.
As experienced upscale hotel developers, Matthews has a proven track record of developing successful convention centre headquarter hotels within urban cities, including the Bow Tower in Calgary.
Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek says revitalization of the Rivers District has been underway since 2007, with a $396-million infrastructure buildout resulting in $3 billion in private sector investment.
The hotel announcement is “further proof that the market has confidence in Calgary and is interested in actively partnering to build a successful and memorable Culture + Entertainment District,” she says.
Developers of the hotel are hopeful that by the time shovels are in the ground a deal will be in place for a new event centre to replace the 40-year-old Saddledome. The city had a deal with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation to build the $634-million centre, but it fell apart after disagreements arose over infrastructure and climate mitigation costs. The parties have restarted talks.
The hotel is viewed as a critical part of the overall BMO Centre expansion project, as people who come to the city for events need a place to stay.
Although the price tag for the hotel is about $80 million, the final cost will be determined as the design process unfolds.