City Buys Shoreline Motor Hotel
I have heard, through the grapevine, that the City of Thunder Bay is now the proud owner of the Shoreline Motor Hotel. I guess, given the years of success City Hall has had running Victoriaville Mall, it was just a matter of time they before they branched out into the hospitality industry. Katherine Dugmore, former Waterfront Development Manager, did complain that Thunder Bay did not have a fancy enough hotel for her consultants to stay in while they were in town taking our money. In that context, this purchase makes a lot of sense. Why pay to house those hard working consultants in dives such as the Valhalla Inn when, for a million or two dollars you can set them up in the Shoreline Motor Hotel. Hopefully, the City will continue to have karaoke night as that is very popular with the Shoreline clientèle as is the new outdoor patio. Our City Fathers and Mothers need to be given a standing ovation for such a shrewd purchase, especially during such hard times.
Financial constraints were the deciding factor in ruling out new sidewalks on Bay Street. They replaced some of them. Not the worst. Just some of them. I understand that having decent sidewalks in your neighbourhood is a lot to expect in today’s Thunder Bay. We all have to make sacrifices. Tighten our belts. That is unless you are looking to buy a hotel. Lots of money then. Whose money is it? Oh yes. Its not mine. ‘Nuf said.
Checking Google Earth, I have noticed an interesting trend.
With this new purchase, the City of Thunder Bay now owns quite a bit of land in the area where, if the study that is presently going on agrees, a new arena/events centre will be built. Of course, the decision of the location has not yet been made (nudge nudge, wink, wink), and the purchase of the Shoreline Motor Hotel has absolutely nothing to do with the construction of an arena (nudge nudge etc). Why then, is the City of Thunder Bay buying the Shoreline? Probably, if the City waited another few years, maybe even less, it could have the property for taxes owed. That is how things work in the north core. Buildings are being abandoned all the time.
Interestingly, the Shoreline stood to benefit a great deal from the construction of an arena/events centre only a block away from its doors. Why would they sell before the chosen site (Water Street) for the arena/events centre was officially named?
If this hotel is eventually torn down, a fate that befell the last hotel the city bought, it does improve the City’s case that a new hotel (think waterfront) is necessary in this city. It does this by eliminating existing hotel rooms. It also eliminates downtown competition for the proposed waterfront hotel. The developers will be pleased.
One of the major selling points of the Water Street location for the arena was the lower cost. The other two locations were more expensive because of the added cost of constructing parking lots. I wonder how the purchase cost and demolition costs of the Shoreline Motor Hotel will affect that monetary advantage? Will new parking lots now be constructed at the downtown location? How does tearing down existing businesses, the very businesses that would have benefited from the construction of the arena/event centre in the downtown and possibly turn them into parking lots nearby make things better for the downtown businesses? All these activities will likely make the Water Street the most expensive choice of the three. Will we ever know the truth?
The On Deck Sports Bar is the only remaining privately owned property on the block it shares with the Whalen Building. The Sports bar also owns a portion of the parking lot that it shares with the Shoreline. At least that is how it appears. Who really owns the parking lot is not clear. The Sports Bar stands to gain a great deal if the arena is built across the street from them. Why would they sell? How long until the City of Thunder Bay makes On Deck an offer it can’t refuse?
Also, I have also heard another rumour that the private development consortium that wishes to build condominiums and a hotel at Prince Arthur’s Landing will only do so if the arena/events centre is built on the Water Street location. No new arena/events centre on Water street, no hotel/condominiums. This new demand is not part of any agreement that exists between the developers and the City, yet the developer is making MORE demands.
Mr. Bova said at a council meeting earlier this year that the hotelier will be named in October. I wonder what he will announce then? Will the selection of Water Street as the preferred location for this $80 million extravaganza be announced prior to Mr. Bova’s announcement? Will it be a joint announcement with Mr. Bova and Mr. Commisso up on stage holding hands, smiling and waving? Where is the $80 million going to come from? Are we locating the new arena/events centre at the Water Street location because it is best for Thunder Bay or because it is best for Joe Bova? Is what’s good for Joe Bova, good for Thunder Bay? It hasn’t been so far. Is building the arena/even centre on Water Street simply throwing more good money after bad? The whole process smells of backroom wheeling and dealing, council face saving at the taxpayer’s expense and corporate extortion.
The purchase of the Shoreline Motor Hotel is one more piece of evidence that demonstrates that the City of Thunder Bay has always wanted to build the new arena on the Water Street site. It shows the whole location “short list” process is a farce. Public input means zero. The location/construction of the new arena is directly tied into the construction of the waterfront hotel. Its hard for anyone at City Hall to deny these statements now. I am sure they will, but who will believe them? Why should anyone believe them?