A second hotel build is destined for North Battleford, which city staff say is a signal of a strong economy.
City council gave administration its approval to go ahead on the sale of land on the corner of Territorial Dr. and Pioneer Ave. for $1 million to a group which plans on constructing a Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites.
City manager Jim Puffalt said this sale proves North Battleford is attracting businesses.
“We are very excited,” Puffalt said. “We tout that we are open for business and this is another example where we have worked really hard with developers to find a new location for a new build and so we are very excited to say we have sold that property. The new hotel should be under construction later this fall.”
Puffalt said the developer wants to get shovels in the ground quickly so the city is going to try and get all the permits cleared over the summer.
According to the city manager, this is huge news for the economy of North Battleford, as the city also has a Comfort Inn currently under construction.
“I think it shows our economy is strong,” Puffalt said. “We have been able to weather the Saskatchewan economy because we are so diverse. It shows people want to come to North Battleford and invest in the city.”
Puffalt added it helps to have a strong surrounding area around the city which uses North Battleford as its base.
The city manager couldn’t say how big the building would be but said the $10 million project will produce a lot of construction jobs aside from the permanent jobs within the hotel once constructed.
He estimated at least 50 permanent housekeeping jobs would be produced. Depending on whether the building has a conference center, the number could go up from there.
“Once we have all those details we will be able to say with more certainty how many total jobs will be created out of this, but it is substantial there’s no question about it,” Puffalt said.
The city manager said the $1 million from the sale of the land will pay off the 114th St. project which was started in 2013. Part of the money will also go to develop new commercial land to sell.
“Now that we are out of land in that area we have to look across to the East of Carlton Trail and make a conceptual plan for the next phases of development,” Puffalt said.
The land Puffalt is referring to is in between Wal-Mart and the CUPlex. The city manager said there will be increased pressure now to come up with more commercial land to sell and Carlton Trail is the next logical area to expand to.
Puffalt added the city has to make sure it has commercial land available to sell.
“The last thing we want to do is have people come looking to invest in the city and not have land available and then they go somewhere else,” Puffalt said. “We need to know what is necessary and what the sizing of the utility should be. There are always costs to developing commercial properties so the idea is to put this into our commercial developing fund and use it there.”
Puffalt addressed previous concerns about the land used by the Ag Society being turned into commercial land to be sold by the city.
“We are way far away from that and that’s what this conceptual plan will tell us,” Puffalt said. “We will see if it is even necessary or not. We need to really define that whole area and we don’t want anyone to be fearful of this. It is more of an opportunity to define what needs to be done out there.”
On Twitter @realgreghiggins.
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