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The Victoria International Airport is getting a hotel

The three-storey, extended-stay hotel at Beacon Avenue and the Patricia Bay Highway would have 129 units, all with full kitchens, in studios and one- and two-bedroom suites.

The Victoria International Airport is planning a new feature commonly seen at large airports around the world — an on-site hotel.

“Given our size and the fact that we serve a world-renowned tourist destination,” travelers would expect a hotel on the property, said Rod Hunchak, director of business development and airport spokesman.

A hotel will help the airport diversify its revenues, he said. During the pandemic when passenger numbers plummeted, tenants of airport lands delivered stable revenues to the airport.

Developer Kothari Group, of Mississauga, Ont., plans to build a three-storey, extended-stay hotel at Beacon Avenue and the Patricia Bay Highway. It would have 129 units, all with full kitchens, in studios and one- and two-bedroom suites.

A free shuttle service between the hotel and the airport will be offered.

The hotel would go up on land previously targeted for a $35-million shopping center called Sidney Crossing. Developer Omicron pulled out of that project in 2018 amid rising construction costs and complaints by existing merchants that the new project would cut into their revenue.

If all goes smoothly, hotel construction should be completed by late 2024. It will be built under a long-term lease of the land. The term is not being released.

Paul Nursey, chief executive of Destination Greater Victoria, said the hotel will help the airport offer a “more fulsome experience, a more mature experience.”

The hotel, under the TownePlace Suites by Marriott brand, will help the airport get back onto a growth trajectory, he said. “Most major airports have an airport hotel and that has been a gap,” Nursey said.

Airport hotels are handy for travelers arriving late and departing early. The Victoria airport hotel could also serve winter snowbirds who arrive in the capital region to enjoy a milder climate than in other parts of Canada, Nursey said.

Kothari approached the Victoria Airport Authority about the possibility of putting up a hotel, Hunchak said.

Hotel zoning is already in place on the land, he said, noting that the airport authority issues both the development and business permits. The development permit will be sent to Sidney as well, he said.

Story boards about the project will be set up in the airport terminal and will be available on the airport website victoriaairport.com. Anyone wishing to comment can send an email to hotelproject@victoriaairport.com.

>See AIRPORT, A4

Kothari, launched in 1996, focuses on real estate investments including mortgage financing, hotel development and residential construction. It has worked with Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt to build and manage hotels in Canada.

Andy Zhao, Kothari’s regional hotel manager, said the company has been looking to build a hotel in Greater Victoria for many years.

Plans call for a three-star hotel with prices at the “mid-level” range, with a focus on extended stays, which means at least five nights.

The capital region is attractive because it is a tourism destination with a healthy hotel market, and the company expects the market to continue to grow, Zhao said.

Travelers are familiar with the Marriott brand and its reputation, he said.

With a kitchen in every unit, the hotel will suit families who want the option of preparing meals in their rooms, along with visiting local restaurants, Zhao said. This type of hotel will also suit consultants who come to the community to oversee projects.

An on-site full-service restaurant is part of the plans, along with a 1,500-square-foot meeting area.

It is too soon to state what construction costs will come in at, especially given today’s inflation, Zhao said.

Once completed, the hotel is expected to provide about 25 full-time and 15 part-time jobs.

Developers are again looking at building hotels in Greater Victoria after a pause of several years. Vancouver’s Reliance Properties is hoping to put up a 77-room hotel and a 102-unit residential tower at 780 Blanshard St. where the four-storey BC Power Commission building is located.

In November, developer Merchant House Capital won approval from Victoria council for a triangular-shaped tower of 20 storeys at Fort and Blanshard streets. It would include 128 hotel units, and office and commercial space.

cjwilons@timescolonist.

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