Nanaimo council is set to vote Monday on whether to issue a development permit for a 21-storey hotel.
Mayor John Ruttan and councillors are also set to confirm a proposal by the developer to enter into a 10-year revitalization tax exemption program for the project, making it the first building to take advantage of the municipal policy.
If council approves both measures Monday, there remain few hurdles left before shovels can finally break ground at 100 Gordon St., a currently vacant lot opposite the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Nanaimo real estate manager Bill Corsan said construction could begin as early as the spring. "The owner's off to the races," he said.
The developer, SSS Manhao International Tourism Group, is a subsidiary of Chinese tourism giant Suzhou Youth Travel Services Co. Ltd. The company plans on using the hotel as a drop-off point for 70,000 tourists a year.
The project has been championed by the city, the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.
However, Corsan said there are still a few more agreements that have to be ironed out before the project goes ahead.
The two parties are still working through a 'right of first negotiation' agreement that would allow SSS Manhao the option of mounting a bid to run the VICC.
Negotiators are also still working on a parking agreement for 255 non-exclusive parking spaces in the VICC parkade.
Other outstanding issues include an 'option to purchase' agreement that would allow the local government the chance to buy back the land at the agreedupon sale price of $565,000 if development doesn't happen within 18 months, Corsan said. A development covenant will mean the four-diamond hotel will have to be built within three years. One last matter is an easement to allow an overhead pedestrian walkway between Piper Park, the new hotel and the VICC.
However, Corsan said all unresolved agreements are expected to be completed by the end of this month. The project will be two months ahead of schedule if council passes the development permit on Monday.
Corsan said the owner is encouraging architects to have drawings for the buildings completed before Christmas.
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