Foundation being poured for new $17.6M hotel
The concrete is being poured for the foundations of the new $17.6 million Kingswood Cambria Suites Hotel, which owner Brian Johnson says will open on Hanwell Road next September. Also opening at the same time will be the largest indoor water park in Atlantic Canada in the Kingswood building adjacent to the 122-room, four-storey hotel.
The two buildings will be connected by a new pedway.
It’s all part of a $42-million wave of hotel-entertainment-residential investment that will occur over the next four years and make the site the top tourist destination in the region, Johnson says. “We broke ground last year and did the site work for the hotel,” Johnson, president of Kingswood Investments Ltd., said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “This year the foundation’s going in and that’s nearly done. Soon the walls will start going up.”
Johnson said this will be the first Cambria Suite Hotel in Canada and it will be a 4.5 star hotel. Cambria Suite is a new brand for the Choice Hotel chain, which is the second largest hotel group in the world with 10 million card holders, he said.
The Kingswood hotel will be marketed Canada-wide to show off the new brand to this country, he said. The hotel will be managed by a Halifax-based hotel management company. “There will be large rooms, but lots of suites too,” he said. “Fredericton has a shortage of suites.”
“It’s very exciting to be launching a new hotel brand.”
The hotel company visited the site two years ago and were blown away by the adjacent entertainment facilities and the nearby award-winning 18-hole golf course. The first tee of the course will be only a six-iron shot from the hotel, and the back deck and gardens of the hotel will overlook the pond and the fairway of the first hole.
The new hotel will create 100 new jobs, said Johnson. He said he has been working on the project for six years.
“I want Kingswood to be known all over Atlantic Canada as the number one tourist destination in Atlantic Canada,” said Johnson.
Part of the $42-million development is a new multi-million dollar indoor water park in the existing Kingswood building that currently houses a fitness centre, a bowling alley, and a playground. The indoor water park will open the same time as the new hotel, said Johnson. The indoor water park will have a children’s splash pad, a huge aquatic climbing structure - the only one of its kind in Canada with 76 water features – that can hold 100 people and three water slides, one of which is for smaller children. The waterslides are 12 metres high and 50 metres long, not counting spirals, said Johnson. On one of the slides riders will sit on mats and reach speeds of 50 kph, he said. The slides are the highest quality in the industry, he said. “Indoor water parks over the last few years, attached to resort hotels, are the number one trend in the world of growth for family entertainment centres,” he said. “To make us number one we have to have something that will draw people from Halifax, Ontario, Quebec. There are no indoor water parks east of Niagara Falls.”
“We’ll be the only one in Atlantic Canada. It should be very exciting.”
To fit the indoor water park into the existing building six bowling lanes will be removed and a golf maintenance facility will be moved into a new building on the property, he said. The indoor water park will employ 30 and combined with the existing attractions and the hotel bring employment at Kingswood to 330 persons, said Johnson.
There will also be a new large illuminated highway sign built on the edge of the property to attract travellers on the adjacent four-lane Trans-Canada Highway, he said. Kingswood is located about a seven-hour drive from Montreal so it is a perfect place for travellers to stop, he said. “This water park will be a huge draw for this city for tourism” said Johnson.
Once the hotel is built, Johnson plans to build 19 pairs of duplexes along the pond and fairway of the first hole of the 18-hole golf course. When those are sold out in a few years he intends to build two new condominium buildings news the entrance to Kingswood. All that development and paving will also require two new water retention ponds to be constructed during the entrance of the Kingswood and those will be incorporated into the landscaping of the condominium buildings and the adjacent nine-hole golf course.
“I know we’re very unique,” said Johnson. “The whole development in total after it is done is $42 million and take three or four years to complete the whole thing.”
PHOTO & ARITCLE: STEVE LLEWELLYN, THE DAILY GLEANER