A development permit has been obtained from the City of Red Deer, and work has started to covert about half of the Baymont by Wyndham hotel into rental apartments.
While the Baymont, formerly the Red Deer Lodge, will still retain 125 hotel rooms in the courtyard on the western side of the building, the owners are creating 109 rental suites in the east tower — 103 bachelor and six one-bedroom units.
Co-owner Shaz Bharwani is pleased to get all of the required approvals for the project from the city.
He said renovations are already underway and will continue throughout the winter. The monthly rentals are anticipated to be ready for tenants by spring.
People of all ages have been showing interest in the apartments, he said — from young single people, to a man and his son, to an older couple thinking of moving out of their nearby condo.
Bharwani estimates about a dozen callers have indicated potential readiness to put deposits down on furnished or unfurnished bachelor or one-bedroom suites, but are waiting until showrooms are open for public viewing this fall.
He told the municipal planning commission in June that Red Deer doesn’t have a need for so many hotel rooms.
Bharwani received permission to turn half of the hotel rooms in the building into rental suites — a plan that meshes with the city’s vision for more high-density residential and commercial development in the downtown.
In this uncertain time of COVID-19, he believes it’s appealing for tenants to pay a flat, inclusive fee every month for rent, as well as other services. These will include utilities and fees for cable and internet. There will be laundry facilities, a game room and fitness and meeting spaces.
Several callers told Bharwani they also liked that some of the furnished bachelor apartments would have murphy beds, which can be pulled down when needed, but can also be tucked away in a wall cabinet to create more daytime living space.
An aesthetic upgrade of the tower’s exterior is part of the project. Bharwani hopes this work can be started this year. If not, it might be pushed to 2021.
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