Closer to home Trump Hotel in Toronto went into receivership last year. This TorStar piece touches on the receivership and sale price but what is more interesting are the comments on the Toronto hotel market itself:
Last year, to the end of Oct., occupancy was up about 5 per cent to 78 per cent. It was one of the strongest years on record.
Aurora is not Toronto, but given all the fanfare over a hotel coming to town you’d think Aurora had landed a direct replacement for the Howard Johnson it lost instead of a no-tell Motel comprised of 100+ guest rooms and suites that will feature a compact refrigerator, microwave and in room coffee.
In this Feb 1st piece in the Auroran Mayor Dawe summed up the deciding factor behind the business decision to operate a hotel in Aurora as:
“Contrary to what some people say, it was development charges”
It’s laughable the way the mayor applauds the region and dismisses it in the same article as it was the Region itself that pointed out that the decision to build a hotel in York Region is more likely driven by market demand and locational advantages than by DC rates:
Page 3 estimates this represents a 1/2 $Million hit to the Town.
In this Febuary 15th piece Dawe reveals the savings to the developer to be $1.5 Million.
And for what.
So Aurora can have a hotel adjacent to the 404. A location that couldn’t be more removed from the town’s downtown core. You know the place where all the discussion is surrounding downtown revitalization.
Just as parking is not a panacea for the inability to draw people to the ineptly run Hilarity House, a hotel is not a panacea for the town of Aurora’s economic contractions.
Aurora had a hotel, close to its downtown core with ample facilities and parking and it couldn’t sustain itself because, as shown in the regional report Aurora lacks the market demand and locational advantages necessary to operate a hotel.
At least one that isn’t subsidized $1.5 Million by the town and the Region.
By droning on about how he is creating an “environment conducive to attracting and retaining business” where this development is one that was built on a massive hand-out Mayor Dawe comes off like Basil Fawlty trying to hide one of his schemes.
Sure Mayor Dawe hasn’t put his hand in our pockets, but it is firmly in those of future Aurorans, and the Region which is over $2 Billion in debt.
What Aurora needed was strong economic leadership that brought businesses to town because there was a strong business case to be here, not free $.
Where kicking the cost down the line may be Wimpy’s philosophy it shouldn’t be the town’s Economic Development strategy.