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2012 G-8 Summit Highlights Need for Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  Police Chief Martin Brody, Jaws

2012 G-8 Summit Highlights Need for Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference CenterLike everyone else in Frederick, when I read the news that the location for the upcoming G-8 Summit had been moved to Camp David, I thought “what a great economic boost for Frederick County.” My next thought was “too bad there is no hotel in downtown Frederick.”

All eyes will be on Frederick County as we play host to the world’s super powers in May. It’s not going to be easy to accommodate a meeting of this magnitude on such short notice, but Frederick County knows how to roll out the red carpet. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

I can’t help but be wistful, though, about the opportunity Frederick is missing here. No doubt the Summit will draw overflow business to the City of Frederick, particularly to our excellent restaurants. However, a downtown hotel full of G-8 dignitaries, staff, and press would have provided a captive international audience for our charming city.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that Maryland Stadium Authority is currently conducting a feasibility study of a number of potential sites in and around the City to determine whether Frederick County can support a 200-room full service hotel and conference facility. According to Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development for the City of Frederick, the report should be completed within the next 60 days.

A preliminary study completed in 2009 was favorable, so expectations are that the Stadium Authority will come back with a green light on this project. At that point, the City of Frederick plans to issue an RFI, or Request for Information, inviting interested commercial property owners to submit their sites for consideration for the hotel location.

In 2010 MacRo, Ltd. presented a proposal to the City  showing how a merger of two sites would provide the largest downtown location for the facility:  The MacRo site being Site F — former parking lot for Social Services building at All Saints and East Street.  And the City’s Site G, which includes the planned 750-space Garage # 6 as well as the historic Jenkins Cannery (a.k.a. “Bean Factory”) building currently leased by the National Park Service.

Since that time the City chose to extend their lease with the Park Service at a bargain basement price of two plus thousand dollars per month; thereby eliminating the Bean Factory portion from the scenario. Be that as it may, redesign studies by our engineers show that this site can still handle requirements of the 2009 study.

In the meantime, maybe our one and only Top Chef Bryan Voltaggio and Hilda Staples can come up with a plan for an innovative gourmet food truck to serve the hordes of media entrenched outside of Camp David!

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The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He also writes for

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