Public meeting Feb. 7 for Redvers development

February 2, 2023, 1:30 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts

The Legacy Inn Grenfell by Blue Crescent Hotels opened in  August, 2021.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, there will be a public meeting for the people in the community of Redvers to discuss plans for building a hotel in town or possibly, a mixed facility that would serve as a hotel and assisted living facility.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Redvers Legion.

The president of Steel Creek Developers, Ken Rempel, will be at the meeting to discuss the company’s interest in developing a Blue Crescent Hotel in Redvers, followed by a question period for people or local business owners.

Trevor Rempel, VP Sales & Marketing of Steel Creek Developers, said the family company started when they saw a gap for the need of hotels and senior housing in rural communities.

“We’re a family run company, we grew up in a small town and all still live in small towns right now,” he said.

“There’s two of us in Saskatchewan, my brother and myself, then my dad and my other brother live in Manitoba.

“There aren’t very many developers that focus on rural communities and try to bring growth opportunities for those communities.

“Because we grew up in small towns, we see there are a lot of small towns with opportunities that a lot of urban developers don’t see. There’s lots of thriving small communities that have a lot of opportunity, and that’s the niche we went after.”

Although the company originally focused on filling the gap of senior housing in rural communities, they started to see a need for hotels which eventually led to developing facilities to fit both of those needs.

“Oddly enough with hotels, we actually thought the seniors housing would be our main product, then opportunistically we would do a hotel or two down the road,” he said.

“But, we really seemed to find our stride in replacing well-past-end-of-life small town motels. In communities such as Redvers, we still see there’s an opportunity for modern hotel accommodations.”

Rempel spoke about why Steel Creek Developers felt doing business in Redvers was a great fit.

“The Town of Redvers reached out to us, that’s how we started the conversation,” he said.

“After discussing with the town about the hotel being burnt down there, and that there’s still a need for hotel room, they asked us to take a look at the community and do a project there.

“In that conversation, it also came up about them seeing a gap in residential options for seniors. They have an active adult apartment there which is great, you’ve got personal care homes, but there’s a lack of options in between. There’s a gap there between the active adults and the personal care for seniors who need that first level of assisted living.

“From our experience in other communities, whenever you have a gap in the residential progression option, for when people move out of active adult (living), they have to move to another community to look for those living options. Once they leave town, chances are when they need a personal care home bed, unless they’re really struggling to find something, they won’t be coming back.

“That gap, long term, ends up choking off your personal care home spot. You want to have all of those pieces full and thriving to have that healthy demographic in your community.

“Our very first project when we started the company ended up being a mixed-use building, and we saw a lot of value in having those two different uses in a building.

“A hotel with senior living gives you the economies of the scale of a larger building, it gives you two different revenue streams in one building, it can be utilized with one manager and staff requirements.”

Local ownership for hotel is encouraged
Rempel was asked what Steel Creek Developers hopes to take away from the public meeting.

“The main thing is we want to find out what the community is looking for,” said Rempel.

“As an example with assisted living, we really want to talk about the options that we can provide, and if that’s something that resonates with the people in the community because we obviously don’t want to build something that doesn’t meet what the community needs exactly.

“The meeting is a fact finding mission as much as it is to talk about our model, to talk about our hotel, to talk about what we can do to help the growth in Redvers, and to meet the needs there.

“We also want to familiarize people with what’s different about our hotel and company, about what’s different with Blue Crescent Hotels, in the hopes of generating interest in that because we also like to line up local ownership to own these buildings.

“We don’t own all of these buildings. What we do, is look for the opportunities, we look to put together local ownership groups that can own that opportunity, then, we develop it for them and hand them the keys to the operating business when all is said and done.

“Generally, we try to have as much local ownership as possible because that ownership is in the community, the revenue is staying in the community, they are in tune with the needs and desires of what the locals want, and they’re able to serve their own community.

“This meeting will be the first step of getting people involved with the project and get them thinking of how they can be apart of it. That way when we start to follow up with the community to look for shareholders, people already have that primer.”

Benefit of mixed-use building for a hotel, and assisted living
Rempel spoke about why having a mixed-use building that serves as a hotel and assisted living facility is beneficial to a community such as Redvers.

“You’ve got multiple cash flow streams within one business, and that’s from two different styles of markets,” Rempel said.

“The cash flow from the residential side is very stable, month-in and month-out, once you’re full you know exactly what you’re bringing in. You have very stable cash flow, and that helps to offset the cyclical nature of the hotel industry.

“Hotel cash flow is up and down based on the time of year, depending on the community and occupancy drivers. Redvers is especially sensitive to this, based on the ups and downs, and cycles within your occupancy drivers such as oil and gas. Sometimes oil and gas is hot and we don’t have enough rooms, then other times it’s slow and you’re struggling to fill rooms.

“The residential side provides a nice steady cash flow you can depend on when you may be in a slow cycle with the hotel.”

Steel Creek Developers are proud of their unique hotel room designs, where the bathroom in each hotel room is down the middle, dividing the beds, as it fits the needs for customers who pass through small communities.

“We’ve been getting a lot of compliments on how we design our hotel, particularly how we lay out our rooms,” he said.

“We don’t put a standard room in. We utilize the same footprint as a standard hotel room, but what we do is we slide the bathroom to the middle of the space to create two separate spaces. We split the two beds and create two distinct areas.

“The key customers for small town hotels really love that design, families who might be travelling with kids, and tradespeople, who might be sharing a room, those are our key customers in these types of hotels.”

What is the expected timeline?
In order for the project to move forward, the community will have to raise about $3 million to $5 million of capital required for the project.

“Currently to build a 30 room hotel with construction costs and interest rates being where they’re at, we need about $3 million,” said Rempel.

“If we do add the assisted living component to it, that would probably add another $2 million requirement. What we end up delivering is going to be a function of how much money we can raise for it too. Obviously if we can’t raise $5 million, then we have to prioritize one portion of that building, maybe that’s the hotel, maybe that’s the assisted living, it depends on what’s needed the most.

“Further conversations need to happen to decide that.”

If the community moves forward with building the hotel, assisted living facility or both projects, the building is expected to be built in a few years.

“The construction timetable itself is usually about 12 months from the start of design to the doors open. You’re looking at about a one-year window,” said Rempel.

“Now, when that window starts, can vary greatly. It all depends on how quickly we can put together an ownership group and raise the investment capital required to start the construction.

“We like to raise all of the money up front before starting, we would like to have the entire shareholder group in place before we start. That could take anywhere from eight months to three years, based on some of our projects. It depends on how vigorously the locals latch on to the project, see the value, and decide to participate.

“We’re looking forward to the meeting in Redvers and talking to the community there.

“My dad’s fairly familiar with Redvers already from his previous life, and hopefully we can see a path forward to do a really nice project there.”

The president of Steel Creek Developers, Ken Rempel, will be at the meeting to discuss the company’s interest in developing a Blue Crescent Hotel in Redvers, followed by a question period for people or local business owners.