“No Vacancy” Signs Getting a Workout at Barrie Hotels

Barrie Hotel Occupancy Steadily Increasing, Thanks in Part to Corporate Tourism

Barrie’s housing market might be pretty hot, but it turns out hotels in town are getting full up too. Tourism Barrie has been showing off some numbers lately, of hotel occupancy rates in the city, and how it stacks up against the rest of the province.

Barrie’s hotels saw an average 67 per cent occupancy rate last year, compared to 69 per cent on the provincial level. It’s a nearly ten per cent increase on Barrie’s end since 2012, and Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman told us it’s not just the cool stuff to do around the area either.

“We’ve also got a significant amount of corporate tourism.”

From 2010 to 2015, Barrie’s industries grew by 8.2 per cent, well ahead of the national figure of 5.5 per cent.

“That’s something that’s not necessarily obvious to people, but because we’re the major urban centre in this part of the province, and there’s a lot of tourism back and forth, even to a place like Honda, you know, Barrie does benefit a lot from the presence of those major employers and that they’re doing really well right now.”

Lehman adds this strengthens the argument for a downtown hotel, like the one proposed at the south east corner of Dunlop and Mulcaster, along with the parking garage sunk below Sam Cancilla park next door.

In March of this year the Invest Barrie team pitched a downtown hotel to council saying it would invigorate the economy in the core, along with a nearby underground parking lot.

19 storey hotel proposal on the corner of Dunlop and Mulcaster Streets, complete with 132 hotel units, and 93 residential.

Invest Barrie says the hotel, a part of Barrie’s long term commercial master plan since 2006, would bring more visitors to the core, and attract complimentary business.

A staff report given to council after the presentation indicates a development application expected to be submitted to City Hall not only hopes for a hotel/condominium, but also the exploration of a “park over parking” garage directly underneath the adjacent Sam Cancilla Park.

The concept calls for an underground parking lot to be housed beneath a redesigned park space, while no official plans or applications have been submitted for either the hotel or parking lot.

Video credit: 107.5 Kool FM Digital News Producer Jon Meyer