Casino

Mercantis Already Promised Luxury Hotel

By Adrian Duyzer
Published February 13, 2013

I agree with people who support a downtown casino that a luxury hotel and convention centre would be an attractive addition to downtown Hamilton. However, we don't need a casino to get this built: PJ and Peter Mercanti already promised to build a major hotel when their company, Carmen's Inc, pitched their plan to take over the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Their bid included a proposal for a 44-storey, 440-room hotel, including 150 condo units and three restaurants. When Carmen's won that bid, PJ Mercanti said, "We look forward to saving the taxpayers of Hamilton a lot of money, and we look forward to using the convention centre opportunity as a catalyst to revitalize downtown."

He reiterated that promise during the General Issues Committee meeting on February 6. Asked if Carmen's was still planning on building a hotel downtown regardless of what happened with the casino, he replied, "We remain committed to hotel development in Hamilton."

That's reassuring news, because it certainly wouldn't be wise for Hamiltonians to expect that their proposal is contingent on being awarded the casino, given that the contingency in their original proposal - that they be awarded the contract for the convention centre - has already been fulfilled.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 08:48:27

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 09:06:10

PJ Mercanti provided greater clarity in his constructing a downtown hotel last Thursday on an interview with the CBC. He was restricted to a yes or no answer, he clearly answered yes to a Mercanti hotel.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 09:10:16

Council needs to drop any hotel requirement connected to a casino for Flamboro. It is unneeded and will not be used. There is room in Flamboro for expansion to allow gaming tables. Please contact your councillor and ask them to expand Flamboro without a hotel.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2013 at 09:59:58

The discussion of a hotel at the casino is a red herring. No one is staying at non-resort casinos. Even the local/regional resort casinos (Niagara Falls and Windsor) are having more and more trouble attracting gamblers, let alone overnight guests. Their revenues are in huge decline. Down many hundreds of millions per year.

Expanding slots by 50% and adding 50 gaming tables it seems to me is the real deal. A deal that GCGC might very well be interested in putting in a bid for given that they've got $100 million invested at Flamboro Downs right now. The Greenbelt factor is important, but hardly unmanageable given that a facility of the exact same use is already there. It's not as if we're saying we'd like to build a big facility on farmland. It already exists.

Not only that, we get a new hotel from the Mercanti's anyway. At least, that's what they keep saying. To be honest, I think they can make a business case for the "glamour" part of their pitch. A downtown hotel (even if it's slightly smaller) can still have restaurants, rooftop lounge. They could even put a small entertainment venue (comedy club/performance space/etc.) in one of the many spaces in the Convention Centre. Revenue generating for them, thereby potentially cost-reducing for the City of Hamilton.

And one last point on the RockHammer pitch (it's a pitch not a bid, not even nearly), there seems to be little dialogue between RockHammer and Global Spectrum/Live Nation. Given that Hard Rock also books talent. Just how many ways is this pie being sliced?

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 22:41:26 in reply to Comment 86237

Actually Casino Niagara's (both) profits fell from $172.4 million to $168.5 million for the second quarter of 2012. Extrapolated for a whole year that is a drop of $16 million. Hardly a drop of "many hundreds of millions." That drop may be a sign of things to come or merely a blip due to the economic times and the emergence of the casino across the border.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:02:24

Actually, at first he just said "we are committed to Hamilton", as well as moving yardsticks and whatnot, and only reiterated their promise of a hotel after repeated questioning.

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By Downtown (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:44:26

I was able to watch the February 6th presentation as it was streamed. While PJ Mercanti did say that they were committed to the hotel, he acknowledged that their current vision may be different from what they originally proposed. I'm hoping city council holds them accountable to what they committed to.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2013 at 13:34:08 in reply to Comment 86252

Yes I remember that comment as well. So the promise to build a hotel of that size had been contingent in a non-disclosed fashion, on being awarded a downtown Casino - or at least one setting up shop downtown.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 13:42:48 in reply to Comment 86253

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't believe their hecfi bid and initial promise of a hotel was contingent on landing a casino. What he finally said was, they were committed to a hotel, but it wouldn't be as big as the one in the Rockhammer proposal. At least that was my understanding.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2013 at 14:09:54 in reply to Comment 86254

I actually never seen the original HECFI proposal so I don't know if the Mercanti's had specified number of rooms for a proposed hotel at that point. The Casino bid maybe added a room count and his response is we still want to build a hotel, just not necessarily the size they have proposed with the Casino bid.

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By captainkirk (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2013 at 18:58:30

Did anyone really believe we were getting a fancy, shmancy 44 storey hotel and condo highrise as "unveiled" during the HECFI bidding process?

I sure didn't, and no one hopes I'm wrong more than i do.

Typical Hamilton M.O., isn't it?

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By Conrad664 (registered) | Posted February 14, 2013 at 08:46:32 in reply to Comment 86267

I know hey , whould a 44 story building in Hamilton be the talless

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