An architectural rendering of the new hotel development at College Quarter

New hotel development breaks ground at the U of S

Today, P.R. Hotels Ltd., as the developer for College Hotels LP, and the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) broke ground on a brand new, nine-storey hotel development that will provide an exciting mix of services for the university and surrounding community.

Located on College Drive, just east of the Stadium Parkade, the dual-branded hotel development will combine two separate hotels, a Holiday Inn Express and a Staybridge Suites, in one building. The two distinct hotels will offer both short- and long-term accommodation to campus visitors—including visiting lecturers and researchers, meeting attendees, parents, athletes, students and their families—as well as the general public.

College Hotels LP is jointly owned by P.R. Hotels Ltd., owned by Lawrence and Patricia Rychjohn, and Normandale Holdings Ltd., owned by Ian and Alice Van Norman. The Rychjohns and Van Normans have a long history of developing and owning commercial, residential and hotel properties together, with one of their more notable projects in Saskatoon being The Centre at Circle and 8th mall.

Under the terms of the partnership, and as a general partner on behalf of College Hotels LP, P.R. Hotels (University) Ltd., will be responsible for the capital and operating costs of the hotel, and the university will provide a long-term lease on a parcel of land within College Quarter. 

“Similar to Preston Crossing, we are excited to work with a private partner to make effective use of some of the university’s land to fill a need for the university and surrounding community in an effective and collaborative way,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “Ultimately, the goal is to bring benefit to our students, to the university, and to the community. We will invest the revenue generated from leasing the land for the hotel into further development of College Quarter, including additional amenities and facilities to create a vibrant university neighborhood.”

The U of S selected P.R. Hotels Ltd.—which owns and operates six other hotels including the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites and the Holiday Inn in Saskatoon—as its partner back in 2013 following a request for proposals process. 

Jeff Krivoshen, chief operating officer of P.R. Hotels Ltd., said he is excited about the opportunities this partnership presents.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, and we know we came to the university with a proposal they could really get excited about,” said Krivoshen, adding that the 123-room Holiday Inn Express will feature mid- to upper-scale rooms meant for shorter stays, while the 97-room Staybridge Suites will offer suites with kitchen facilities for longer-stay guests. “We are very honoured to partner with the U of S and to be entrusted to develop on its land.”

Hotel amenities, Krivoshen continued, will include complimentary breakfast facilities for each brand, along with a shared lobby, swimming pool, and fitness centre, as well as a business centre and free internet. Three meeting rooms, all on the ninth floor with panoramic views of the campus and the city, will be available for rent by guests, members of the campus community and the general public.

During today’s ground-breaking ceremony, the Rychjohns and Van Normans made a surprise announcement that they have decided donate $1 million to the University of Saskatchewan’s Home Ice Campaign to build a new ice facility on campus. The U of S announced the new twin-ice facility and fundraising campaign yesterday with an event featuring commerce and law graduate Merlis Belsher, who is contributing $12.25 million to fund the project. Belsher’s gift is the largest donation from an alumnus and individual in the university’s history.

“We are very lucky to have such generous supporters of the U of S,” said Stoicheff. “I am deeply grateful to Lawrence and Patricia Rychjohn, and Alice and Ian Van Norman, for their contributions not only to this hotel development, but also for their gift for our new ice-facility.”

Located on College Quarter—the land between College Drive and 14th Street, bordered by Cumberland Avenue and Preston Avenue—the hotel was designed by Calnitsky and Associates Architects and is being constructed by Meridian Developments. It is expected to open by April 2018.

“The hotel is an important part of our vision for College Quarter, which is an extension of our main campus,” said Stoicheff. “While the university isn’t in the business of running hotels, nor should we be, we do have a consistent need for hotel services, and that’s where this partnership comes into play.” 

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