Deer Lake — Although the date to resume construction on the Holiday Inn Express at the end of Bennett Avenue has been pushed back since the late summer, Glenn Squires, chief executive officer of Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc., said he’s confident work is set to roll in early January.
“Because the building is enclosed, we’re not so worried about the winter,” said Squires.
“It might have been a bit more difficult, because if the roof wasn’t on and you had snow, of course you’d have people spend a lot of time just clearing snow off.”
Squires said because of the severe decline in the hotel industry across Canada over the past 18 months, he wasn’t prepared to overextend the company.
“I could have tried to push it and then risk going under or having to walk away from the hotel,” said Squires. “We felt a better strategy was just to wait even though it didn’t look that good. It was a business decision for us.”
He said with business coming back and investors feeling more comfortable about the economic climate, Pacrim Hospitality has put things in order to get the property completed.
“We’re committed now to get ramped up and go ahead as fast as we can.”
Lower Churchill welcomed
Squires said the recently announced signing of the $6.2-billion Lower Churchill project between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is encouraging and will bring additional benefits to the Deer Lake area.
“We think with the airport there, there is going to be a lot of people using Deer Lake to fly up to Goose Bay,” he said.
Squires said the transmission lines coming down the Northern Peninsula, and the oil and gas developments on the west coast, enhance the project’s value. He said timing is another factor considered in his decision to resume construction now.
“We believe that as all of this activity picks up, that construction costs and the availability of finding tradesmen and that kind of stuff is going to become tougher and tougher.” Squires said. “That’s another incentive for us to go ahead now, to ensure that we keep the cost base that we have.”
The construction of the hotel, which will hold 88 hotel rooms, 2,000 square feet of meeting space and an indoor pool with a slide, will six or seven months putting the completion date in late July or August.
“Normally you’d be a bit concerned about that because the summer’s almost over, but because we see the Deer Lake area as pretty well being a 12-month market because of Marble Mountain and all that stuff, we’re not as concerned about opening that time of year as we would be in some other markets,” said Squires.
The Western Star