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Hotel developer says project is a ‘go’ - Dec. 18, 2013

Kathy Bockus
St. Stephen
Tom McFarlane said he’s got some snow clearing to do on the site where he intends to build a Best Western Premier St. Stephen Hotel & Suites on Budd Avenue.
That’s because the president of Spur Line Properties Inc. plans to erect a sign proclaiming “coming soon” and on Wednesday at 4 p.m. has a photo op planned with local and provincial politicians supporting the $15 million project.
At Monday night’s council meeting, council transferred the final pieces of foreshore property to McFarlane’s company, paving the way for the project to begin.
The only “nay” vote on the motion came from Coun. Allan MacEachern who stressed after the meeting he wasn’t opposed to the town gifting the property to McFarlane for the hotel project.
“I’m for everything except for the commitment to move into the hotel from the town hall,” said MacEachern.
Before the vote took place, MacEachern asked if the agreement to move the town’s administrative offices was included in the extensively worded motion under “among other things.”
The mayor confirmed that the commitment, already passed by council, was included in the motion approved Monday evening.
“We’d already agreed to it,” said the mayor. That agreement will see Spur Line Properties offer to lease space to the town at a lower or matching price to what it is currently paying. The amount of space to be leased is still undecided.
MacEachern said he fully supported the hotel project.
“I’m all for the hotel, the land, where it’s going, everything. It’s just I can’t vote for that – moving into the hotel. That’s the only thing I’m against.
“I’m just not a believer of the town hall being in the hotel building,” said MacEachern. “I’m not a believer of us being at where we are right now. I believe we should be in our own building.”
The mayor said the town has sold the foreshore property to McFarlane and his company for $1. He said McFarlane has paid legal fees and other costs associated with the transfer.
“It didn’t cost the town anything.”
McFarlane said he will be consulting with his investors and Bird Construction to decide on a timeline for the work on the hotel.
“The best case scenario is a November, 2014, opening,” said McFarlane, explaining to meet that date, construction would have to start soon and continue through the winter.
A construction start delayed until the spring of 2014 means an opening date sometime in the spring of 2015.
“We need about 12 months to construct,” said McFarlane.

kathy@stcroixcourier.ca