The Holiday Inn Express is the latest Red Deer hotel applying for a rezoning to move towards converting into apartment-stye residential units.
The 94-room motel, located at the corner of Molly Banister Drive and Gaetz Avenue, is now in C-4 zoning. The owners are seeking to rezone to C-5 for commercial mixed-use. This would enable the facility to be converted in future into 50-apartment style dwelling units, if a development permit is approved.
The rezoning was recommended by City of Red Deer administration and given the thumbs up by council on Tuesday.
Council heard it aligns with city plans and policies, is compatible with surrounding uses, and offers future flexibility for a variety of uses.
“By adding hotels and motels as a use in C-5, the landowner has the flexibility to revert the building back to a motel if desired in the future,” states a report sent to council.
This is the fourth Red Deer hotel that’s applied to convert all or part of its rooms for longer-term residential use.
The city’s planning manager Emily Damberger told city council that the Sandman Hotel already redeveloped some rooms for multiple family use.
The Travelodge, next door to the Holiday Inn Express, has a site exception allowing for up to 47 one-bedroom residential units as a permitted use — although these units have not been developed.
And the Baymont Inn, just south of downtown, has also partially converted to residential condos.
“Hotels and motels have been exploring alternate options for redevelopment as the future of traditional hotel use is in question,” states Damberger’s report to council. “Rezoning and reuse of the motel is an effective and efficient method to ensure vitality and flexible use options for this site and area now and in the future.”
She noted many hotels are also converting in Calgary and Edmonton.
Council heard the area around the Bower Place mall is “walkable,” and well served with transit stops.
“We need to be a city that encouraged mixed-use and encouraged redevelopment,” said Coun. Dianne Wyntjes. “We all know that additional housing is needed. It’s important to provide a choice of housing.”
As council approved first reading for the rezoning, a public hearing will be held Aug. 24.