New Nanaimo Marriott hotel using Vancouver firm's green construction method

Jun 25 2021, 12:48 pm

The new Marriott Courtyard hotel in downtown Nanaimo will use a cutting-edge construction methodology developed by Vancouver-based green construction firm Nexii.

This will be a nine-storey building with 172 guest rooms at  100 Gordon Street, right next to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre near the waterfront.

Using 3D software, Nexii will manufacture the building envelope — the shell of the building — off-site at their production facility in Squamish, then transport the 140 pre-fabricated structural panels to Nanaimo for assembly.

The panels are able to fit together like jigsaw pieces to create an airtight building envelope that optimizes the building’s energy efficiency and significantly lowers energy costs over the lifespan of the structure.

Furthermore, the panels are developed using the company’s proprietary material, Nexiite, which is deemed as a sustainable alternative to concrete by significantly reducing carbon emissions and reducing on-site construction waste.

Not only is it a more sustainable way of building, Nexii’s construction methodology is also cost effective and is faster than conventional construction methods. Using the firm’s pre-fabricated methodology and Nexiite materials has accelerated the construction timeline by eight to 10 weeks.

marriott courtyard nanaimo hotel 100 gordon street

Artistic rendering of the Marriott Courtyard Nanaimo hotel at 100 Gordon Street. (PEG)

marriott courtyard nanaimo hotel 100 gordon street

Site of the Marriott Courtyard Nanaimo hotel at 100 Gordon Street. (City of Nanaimo)

This is the first project where Nexii has partnered with Utah-based commercial real estate investment firm PEG, which owns, builds, and operates a number of hotel properties in North America.

“The innovative Nexii system allowed PEG to be much more efficient while building our beautiful Courtyard by Marriott property in Nanaimo by providing a complete exterior system, pre-manufactured,” said Robert Schmidt, president of the development division at PEG, in a statement.

“Given the size of this project and its location on Vancouver Island, the cost and time to install a traditional exterior system was prohibitive. Nexii overcame that challenge and, even better than that, the product has increased the project’s thermal properties, which contributes to a more sustainable outcome.”

This is the largest building to date using Nexii’s construction method and products, both in terms of height and total floor area. Some of Nexii’s more recent applications, completed earlier this year, were new Starbucks store and Popeyes restaurant buildings in Abbotsford.

“Buildings and construction are the number one source of climate pollution and municipal waste, but essential to our way of life. We need to ensure that all new construction is smart green construction to keep our planet healthy and livable,” said Gregor Robertson, Nexii’s executive vice president of strategy and partnerships and the former mayor of Vancouver.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with PEG on this project. At Nexii we are proud to form partnerships that solve construction challenges, accelerate timelines and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings.”

For more than a decade, there has been an intent to provide the conference centre with a hotel to help attract larger events and conventions. The hotel component was originally planned to be built in time for the completion of the conference centre in 2008, but the developer for the hotel was affected by the financial crisis and its plans fell apart.

marriott courtyard nanaimo hotel 100 gordon street

Construction progress on the Marriott Courtyard Nanaimo hotel at 100 Gordon Street, as of June 18, 2021. (City of Nanaimo)

In late 2017, after undergoing a procurement process, the City of Nanaimo selected PEG to develop the city-owned site into a hotel. The property was sold for $750,000, with the city retaining the right to reacquire the property for $750,000 if PEG did not meet its obligations to start construction within two years.

The municipal government previously had issues with developing the hotel with previous developer partners, who later dropped out due to rising costs.

Construction on the hotel project finally began in January 2020 and is expected to reach completion later this year. The project will cost $23 million to build.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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