City Centre Mall owner Jerry Minni reviewing the hotel plans for the mall.

City Centre Mall’s M Hotel in Kitimat to start work this year

A new hotel and restaurant to be attached to City Centre Mall will begin construction this year. Restaurant likely to be open by year's end.

By the end of this year the City Centre Mall should have its new restaurant open, anchored to the planned hotel which should be ready 12 months after construction begins.

Mall owner Jerry Minni showed the Sentinel the plans for the building and some of the floor plans last week, following his company receiving the development permit which sets conditions for how the building will look.

He just needs a construction permit now but he said it’s all lining up to begin building this spring. It will only be about two weeks, he anticipates, to get the construction permit and to put the project out to tender.

The hotel will be built between the breezeway where the Salvation Army store was, to where the video store was.

It will be a two storey hotel — three floors when you include the ground floor where a restaurant will be built — which is short of Minni’s original vision.

“The design is a little different than the first design we came up with but we sort of jumped the gun a little in the sense that the footings here would only support so much weight,” he said.

Any possible construction was also delayed last year because the mall’s original engineering plans were lost to time, meaning extra work had to be done to figure out how much the existing structures could support.

But the new restaurant should be ready to go by the time the year turns to 2015.

“We’re trying to push to get the roof on, the [restaurant] open by December 31 this year, and then we’ll continue on the inside of the rooms.”

Minni purchased the City Centre Mall in 2006, and had ideas from the start to build a hotel.

He said he began considering the land where Tim Hortons is now for his hotel, but then decided to build it over the existing mall.

His entire plan for City Centre will cover two phases. By early to mid next year the hotel will be complete, ending phase one.

Phase two will be an upgrade to the mall itself, inside and outside, and modernizing its look, similar in a way to how Terrace’s mall was recently renovated.

Minni is still sure that the town is in need for more hotel space.

“There’s not a lot of vacancy in Kitimat so I think there’s definitely room for this product,” he said.

He believes his development will a welcome change to Kitimat’s downtown.

“Kitimat’s not had a lot of development of this nature in probably 20 years. So it’ll be a nice new fresh look to the downtown core.”