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Developer Announces Construction of Niverville Hotel

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Hotel New Crop
Andrew Rempel of Steel Creek Developers with local developer Ray Dowse at the site of the new hotel. Dustin Krahn

For years, speculation has run rampant about when Niverville might be getting a hotel, and that speculation only got louder as first a golf course opened, then the community became surrounded on all sides by busy wedding venues. Then the 99,000-square-foot Community Resource and Recreation Centre began construction and Hespeler Park saw significant improvements, cementing Niverville as an attractive prospect for hosting sports tournaments.

And speaking of sports, next February visitors will be pouring in for the 2022 Manitoba Winter Games, of course.

Finally, the speculation can end. We have a definitive answer: the hotel is coming right now, and it will be located along Old Drovers Run, immediately east of the golf course parking lot.

“We have been working on this deal for almost three and a half years and it’s exciting to be moving forward,” says Trevor Rempel of Steel Creek Developers, the company behind the hotel project. “For a new business like this, there are thousands of little details to look at to get it off the ground properly, and then thousands more to get it built and operating.”

Steel Creek Developers is a rural-based, family-run development company focusing on opportunities in small towns exactly like Niverville.

“Originally being from a small Manitoba farm near Elm Creek, we recognize the tremendous value and opportunities of the prairies’ rural communities,” says Rempel. “We strive to uncover and highlight those opportunities to help these communities grow. With four of us [partners] spread between Manitoba and Saskatchewan, we each come from a different career development path which has culminated in an opportunity to mesh together our very different skillsets to create and build this company.”

The 70-room property will be a Blue Crescent Hotel, the fourth so far in the chain. The other locations are currently in Rivers, Manitoba and Grenfell, Saskatchewan. The Blue Crescent Hotel in Carman, Manitoba, isn’t yet finished construction, but it is set to open this fall.

“Blue Crescent Hotels is the new brand we created to provide a brand network of these rural, independently owned hotels,” Rempel explains. “We provide some basic foundational services and offer the credibility and marketing advantages of a network of hotel properties that will span from Manitoba to B.C., and possibly beyond. The Blue Crescent Hotel brand means special differentiated room designs that add value to the guest experience. Our guests also experience a modern hotel with small-town hospitality.”

Although the Niverville hotel will begin with 70 rooms, there will be an opportunity to expand the building’s footprint in the future if additional rooms are needed.

“We will feature a variety of room types to meet any need,” says Rempel. “Our differentiated double room is what we are known for. We take a standard hotel room and slide the bathroom to the middle, splitting the beds to each side. We add a TV to each side and provide a split room design that is perfect for families or tradespeople.”

The hotel will also have barrier-free rooms, pet-friendly rooms, single rooms, suites, and a pair of larger suites with two bedrooms and a kitchenette. The larger suites will be perfect for wedding parties.

“We also like to include a couple of family rooms, which is our split room design with a queen bed on one side and two sets of bunkbeds on the other. In previous hotels, this has been a community favourite.”

Water lovers, take note: yes, the hotel will come with a pool. And not just any pool, but one with some enhanced features.

“Possibly the most exciting part of the hotel will be an enhanced pool facility,” says Rempel. “We hope to attract staycation guests with a larger pool and double waterslides, making a trip to Niverville a destination rather than a waypoint.”


Economic Spinoff

Rempel explains that Niverville is a prime target for a Blue Crescent Hotel.

“We have always had a familiarity with Niverville, but a mutual contact connected us to Ray Dowse, whose is a tremendous cheerleader for the community,” he says. “After considering where Niverville is and where it is going, as well as our own analytics process, we were very excited about a hotel business here. The growth, the environment of development, and other new developments in town all contribute to the strength of the proposal.”

Rempel says that the company believes Niverville is at a tipping point where years of strong residential growth has created an economy of scale that is now fuelling the need for more commercial growth opportunities.

“The developments in the industrial park, the west side of town by the golf course, and the new community multiplex, as well as our new hotel here, all create a wave of growth which makes Niverville stronger and stronger.”

The new hotel will be a key catalyst for that growth. Rempel points out that every night spent locally at this hotel will lead to economic spinoffs—a tank of gas, a meal, snacks, and shopping at stores in the community. These dollars are currently being driven out of town, but with the hotel they will remain in Niverville.

“This amounts to a significant positive impact on the business community,” he says. “Maybe a one-day sports tournament turns into a weekend tournament with more teams… The ability to host provincials, regionals, and other events and conferences is opened up by having local hotel accommodations. The ripple effect is significant.”


Optimism About Hospitality Industry

The last year has been an especially challenging time for the hospitality industry, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many hotels to scale down operations in response to lockdowns across the country.

“COVID has certainly hit the hospitality industry hard, but we have some significant reasons for being optimistic,” Rempel says. “For one, as we all focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and dream of life returning to ‘normal,’ we actually believe that the hospitality industry may see an initial post-COVID spike. I believe the ‘support local’ mentality has never been stronger and we anticipate a significant case of cabin fever coupled with some nagging nervousness with travelling out of country. We think this will mean significantly more travel within the province or within the country. With the amenities listed above, why wouldn’t a few families want to come to Niverville for a weekend getaway so their kids can finally let loose with their friends on a great waterpark-filled weekend?”

He adds that the pandemic has led Steel Creek Developers to realize afresh the importance of its rural focus.

The properties in Rivers and Grenfell, which both opened in the last year and a half, have been fairly successful so far. A key driver of this success has been a lack of competition in the smaller communities where they operate and an emphasis on serving guests in the industrial and construction fields.

“By being careful and selecting the right communities with strong occupancy drivers, we have somewhat inadvertently built a somewhat COVID-resistant business model,” he explains.


Project Development

The construction timeline is a little bit up in the air so far, but Rempel says that shovels will be in the ground this summer.

“Steel Creek Developers manages all aspects of developing the project, working with a contractor to construct, preparing the business operations with our client, and helping the business get off the ground,” he says. “A local manager reporting to the ownership group will run the hotel. We believe strongly in this hotel property and will also retain an ownership stake in it as well.”

The majority of the ownership group will be comprised of Manitoba-based investors. Rempel says that the province’s Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit has been a key tool for attracting these shareholders.

“An exciting component of this particular project is also that a portion of the incoming investment is through a social cause program that will use some of the profits to build schools in India,” Rempel adds.

More details about this social enterprise will be released as the building gets closer to construction.

Reactions

Several local officials have already responded to the news of Niverville’s new hotel.

“On behalf of council and our community, I would like to welcome Steel Creek Developers and Blue Crescent Hotels to Niverville,” says Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck. “The construction of a hotel is a much-needed amenity for our community and will provide a service to our residents as well as those who will visit. It will play a large role in being a destination driver for Niverville as well as providing jobs to our town.”

Mayor Dyck adds that the town is excited for the day when the hotel first opens its doors.

Local MLA Ron Schuler, representing Springfield-Ritchot, also adds his congratulations.

“Serving as MLA for Niverville, I have witnessed firsthand the resilience and innovation of the community,” Schuler says. “Today’s exciting announcement of a new 70-room hotel complete with pool and waterslides is another milestone in Niverville’s amazing story of growth. I congratulate Steel Creek Developers in making this significant investment in Niverville and wish them much success.”

For more information

https://bluecrescenthotels.ca

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