Penticton is one step closer to a new hotel after city council gave the nod to moving a proposal from Mundi Hotel Enterprises forward to public hearing.
The Kamloops developer is proposing to build a 95-suite hotel on Eckhardt Avenue, on the site now occupied by the Bingo Palace, which closed last spring. According to their proposal, Mundi hopes to move forward with the project quickly, with the goal of opening the hotel in 2018.
Their project is in very early stages, though Mundi is suggesting an attractive brand for the finished hotel.
“Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites has been designated as the preferred brand for this hotel or a similar brand,” wrote company president Ron Mundi in a letter to the City of Penticton. Mundi owns three hotels in Kamloops, one in Lethbridge and two in Edmonton with both the Coast Hotels and Best Western chains.
The proposed hotel will sit on two properties, 602 and 640 Eckhardt Ave. West. One contains the closed bingo hall and the other a single detached dwelling that was used as an office for the bingo hall. Both buildings will be demolished to make way for the hotel.
Gateway Casino, which owns the property, chose to close the bingo hall as they were building the new Cascade Casino a block to the west. With the new casino preparing to open and a limited demand for bingo, Gateway decided to close the bingo palace in March, when the new casino opened.
Planning manager Blake Laven said proximity to the casino and other facilities was a consideration in city staff’s support of the project.
“Staff also consider that the hotel in this location will support the South Okanagan Event Centre,” said Laven.
Mundi Enterprises is asking for a height variance, from 12 metres to 13.4 metres, to allow a four-storey building.
“This property is actually a little bit undersized for a normal hotel site,” said Laven. “They were trying to make a three-storey building but to get the unit count and to provide the parking and all the necessary ground floor amenities they had to add a fourth storey.”
Laven said the city requested a transportation impact assessment, after concerns about how the hotel traffic might affect the Orchard, Caribou and Eckhardt intersection.
Coun. Campbell Watt said he was concerned about the effect of traffic leaving the hotel and turning onto “one of our busiest streets.”
“But I’m sure that will be addressed. And knowing that I would move the staff recommendation to move this forward to a public hearing,” said Watt. Council then voted unanimously to move the proposal to a public hearing at their July 4 meeting.
Mundi Enterprises is also in discussions with the Town of Oliver over a proposed 80-room hotel, also with a possible opening date in summer 2018.
Related: Hotel chain eager to build in Oliver