The Quality Inn in north Red Deer is the latest seeking to convert some hotel rooms into apartments.
Red Deer city council gave initial approval on Monday to a rezoning of 7150-50th Ave. to accommodate future residential uses on the site.
The site now features a 114-room hotel. Owners want to convert some or all of the hotel rooms into multi-family style dwelling units, which are permitted use within the C-5 district. The land is now zoned C-4 for primarily commercial uses.
A report to council from senior planner Christi Fidek states the new mixed-use residential zoning would be compatible with surrounding uses, promoted more diversity in this area and aligns with city policies.
Four neighbours expressed concerns about the proposed Quality Inn conversion. Fidek’s report shows these were related to the proposed re-development.
Increased traffic and noise were cited — as well as fears about decreased property values and safety concerns about possibly having low income or subsidized housing in the area.
Fidek responded that an apartment would generate less traffic than a hotel and that there’s no evidence property values would decrease. Council was told zoning does not consider socio-economic status, or what kind of housing development goes up. If safety concerns arise they can be addressed through bylaws and policing.
“Housing in this area would be well served by neighbouring businesses and amenities,” states her report to council.
Surrounding properties are a mix of commercial and residential uses: a service station, auto dealerships and a dental office are within walking distance, while low-density residences are to the west in the Normandeau neighbourhood
A 30.5m wide public utility natural area runs between the hotel site and the neighbouring homes and will assist in the transition from proposed high-density housing to lower density housing, states the report to council.
The proposed conversion of the three-storey Quality Inn (formerly North Hill Inn) is one of many in Red Deer. In 2021 the Holiday Inn along 50 Avenue was rezoned to accommodate future residential uses.
Its neighbour, the Travelodge, has a site exception to allow for some of the rooms to be converted into dwelling units — although no development permit has yet been applied for.
Also, the Baymont Inn in the downtown and the Sandman Hotel along 50 Avenue have converted a portion of their hotels to residential units.
A public hearing on this latest site rezoning will be held on Tuesday, May 24.