A Best Western hotel is coming to St. Albert. The city has approved a development permit for a 92-room hotel on a vacant lot at 460 St. Albert Trail. The lot is on the west side of the trail between Wendy’s and St. Albert Tune-Up and Brake, across the Trail from Chapter’s and Staples.
Andrew Hildebrand of Midwest Development Construction confirmed the hotel is in the works but said few project details are nailed down at this point. More information will be available in a few weeks, he said.
The hotel is great news to Mayor Nolan Crouse because it does two things: provides much-needed hotel rooms and helps the city with economic development.
“I think the location is outstanding,” he said. “Continually infilling some of the lots that were empty for so many years is important from an economic development point of view.”
Having another hotel means that more business people, tourists and visiting sports teams will stay, shop and eat in St. Albert.
“Lots of sports teams in particular will stay in Edmonton and commute out to here, so this is just one more ability for people to stay here and spend their money here,” Crouse said.
He doesn’t know yet what the completed hotel will contribute through taxes.
One of the hopes in the business community is that the new hotel will provide the city with more banquet space, said chamber of commerce chair Joe Becigneul. It’s not yet known whether the Best Western will include such amenities.
One huge asset the hotel will certainly bring is a reservation system that will help put St. Albert on the map for any traveller looking to visit the Capital region, Becigneul said.
“That will help St. Albert Centre. That will help our local dining rooms and restaurants as well as many of our other businesses,” he said. “It’s huge to be on that reservation system.”
Having more hotel rooms will enable St. Albert organizations to bid successfully for more high-profile events like the ringette nationals that were held here last year, he said.
While the vacant lot chosen for the hotel might appear small for such a hotel, it is in fact large enough for the building and ample parking, said Curtis Cundy, St. Albert’s director of planning and development.
A hotel is a permitted use for the lot, meaning it gets automatic approval as long at it satisfies the city’s parking requirements, he said.
Crouse feels the city needs to do more work to recruit hotels. He’s in the midst of confidential discussions aimed at attracting more hotel chains. He has his sights set on the commercial corridor that will be built along the trail into the annexed lands.
“We’re working on a plan to see what we can do about hotels in the northern part,” he said.