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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – The construction of a hotel on the grounds of Credit Union Place has been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A Microtel by Wyndham was announced for Summerside in July 2019 with the facility expected to be completed by the spring of 2021. But because of the viral outbreak across the country, the project has been stalled.
"We are in a hold on all projects not currently under development until we have more clarity on the duration of current events," said Glenn Squires, CEO of Caboteer Hospitality and Developments Inc., the company responsible for developing the privately funded facility.
"Once we understand the duration, expected recovery time and other factors we will revisit. Like many firms, we are currently reserving our cash for existing operations and have no idea at this time how much we will require."
Caboteer is a Bedford, N.S.-based business and an affiliate company of Crescita Hotels and Resorts LP and Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc.
The new facility was estimated to cost around the $16 million range and have 100 rooms.
From a hotel developer's perspective, Squires said major impacts to projects include the number of construction workers allowed on site and whether government further reduces or shuts down construction for all but essential services.
"We would hope to proceed with the project once things return to some normal. Our ability to move planned projects forward depends on the availability of financing and how our cash reserves, and those of our partners, are impacted."
Compared to other outbreaks like SARS and H1N1, Squires said COVID-19 has been more serious.
"This situation has had a much more serious impact as I have never anything hit business this hard, this fast. SARS had some impact, but it was mainly felt in other parts of Canada and I do not recall H1N1 have much impact in this region."
Squires said the development group was considering two other projects in P.E.I. before the outbreak, but the group will not make a final decision until the current crisis is behind them.
He did add that the company was still interested in the Summerside project.
"So, assuming the city wishes to continue to work with us, it is more a matter of when than of if."
Rob Philpott, chief administrative officer with the City of Summerside, said the city is "still very much committed to working with Mr. Squires’s group on this project."