Developer named for Stampede Park hotel in Calgary

An annotated map of projects in the Culture and Entertainment District in Calgary. handout / CMLC

Calgary is a step closer to extending more western hospitality on Stampede Park with the announcement of a new hotel.

“There’s been a lot of public investment in the area — the BMO Centre expansion and all of the infrastructure in and around it — but having private investments in the area really signals a change and a belief in the district,” Kate Thompson, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation CEO, said.

Matthews Southwest Hospitality was announced as the development partner for what will become an $80-million, 220-room, 4- to 4.5-star hotel.

It’s the first hotel in the park that plays host to the summer festival dubbed “the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”

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“We’re obviously very well known for the 10-day festival, but we operate the other 355 days of the year,” Calgary Stampede CEO Joel Cowley said. “We are booking and hosting events year-round with the Calgary Stampede and the expansion of the BMO Centre really allows us to delve into the convention business.

“We do have conventions now, but this will put us on the map as an international convention destination.”

Matthews, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede will be development partners for the project.

Matthews’ portfolio includes work on the Omni Dallas, a convention centre headquarters hotel in the Texan city, the New Orleans Convention Centre Hotel and the W + Element Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, Penn.

Matthews was also the developer behind the Bow and Transcanada Pipelines towers in downtown Calgary.

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“We have worked for years with Stampede and CMLC. And I tell you, the folks at both those places have been just the best to work with,” Michael Garcia, president of Matthews Southwest Hospitality said.

“As far as going forward, it’s a partnership and so we will look to them to guide us as we move along the way of development.”

Award-winning hospitality design architectural firm Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects will design the hotel. Garcia said the design will take its cues from the city and region.

The hotel will sit at the southwest corner of 12 Avenue S.E. and Stampede Trail, at the north entrance of Stampede Park. Design, financing and permitting are the next steps of the process, during which the hotel brand will be selected.

An aerial photo of the site the new hotel in Stampede Park in Calgary. handout / CMLC

Cowley said the BMO Centre already has 20 conventions booked for after the expansion making it a tier-one convention centre. Those bookings extend through 2028.

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“We have others that have indicated that they want a hotel before they book here. Some of those say we would at least want a convention or a convention headquarters hotel where our staff can stay. Others are saying we want most of our attendees to stay within walking distance,” the Stampede CEO said.

“It will make it much easier for our sales staff to go out and sell this facility for conventions with that hotel support.”

Thompson said Matthews remained dedicated to the project after the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic emptied hotels, as well as the late 2021 setback around the event centre.

“(Matthews) are still here and they believe in the vision of the district. So that had a bigger influence than any other of the smaller work in and around, or the discussion about the arena,” the CMLC CEO said.

“We’re really hopeful that a signal like (the arena) of public investment in the area really underscores the potential of the culture and entertainment district.”

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