The City of Calgary, through the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), announced on Tuesday that Matthews Southwest Hospitality would be its partner in the development of a new convention centre hotel at Stampede Park, which is estimated to cost $80M.

Based in Texas, Matthews Southwest acquires, builds, and manages various hotel, retail, office, industrial, office, and residential projects in the US, including convention centres in Dallas and New Orleans. They also have projects in Ontario and British Columbia, as well as in Calgary, most notably the Bow.

The partnership is the first major private investment in Calgary's Culture + Entertainment District and will create the first hotel at Stampede Park that will complement the BMO Centre convention venue, which is currently undergoing an expansion estimated to cost $500M and will add over 100,000 sq. ft of exhibition space, 70,000 sq. ft of new ballrooms, new conference rooms, and more.

This new hotel project will be located at the intersection of Stampede Trail and 12th Avenue SE, on a Stampede-owned site that's approximately 31,000 sq. ft and in a prime location within the Culture + Entertainment District that also includes the Saddledome, which will likely be replaced in the coming years by a new event centre. Discussions to replace the Saddledome have been on-and-off for several years now, but recently gained some steam after Premier Danielle Smith voiced support for the project.

The CMLC expressed interest in this hotel development back in 2019, and has since completed feasibility studies, a site analysis, and land use amendments in preparation for the project and to make sure it aligns with the needs of the BMO Centre, which is expected to become the largest convention venue in Western Canada once completed in 2024.

Calgary stampede park bmo centre hotel 2 1024x549(CLMC)

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The next step in the project is the design stage, which will generate a design and concept plan for the hotel. Currently, the only details that have been announced are the 220 rooms and that there will also be 11,000 sq. ft of meeting space, a fitness centre, amenity space, and food and drink offerings.

"The revitalization of the Rivers District has been underway since 2007, with a $396M infrastructure build-out resulting in attraction of $3 billion in private sector investment," Mayor Jyoti Gondek said in a press release announcing the project on Tuesday. "Today’s announcement is further proof that the market has confidence in Calgary and is interested in actively partnering to build a successful and memorable Culture + Entertainment District."

"This development agreement is a very positive indication of things to come, and just one example of how investment in the district, and in projects like the BMO Centre expansion, is already generating economic benefit and spurring further development in the area," added CMLC President and CEO Kate Thompson.

Construction on the hotel project is currently scheduled to begin in 2024.