UPDATED: Restored Rideau Hotel in Smiths Falls shifting to short-term luxury and business rentals
May 5, 2021 @ 11:00: We have an update on a story we brought you yesterday about the renovated Rideau Hotel shifting to a short-term luxury vacation and business travel rental model, leaving the lone long-term renters in the building in shock.
Parkview Home has now reached out to the residents.
The family contacted Lake 88 and told us, “After a personal conversation with Parkview Homes, we are satisfied and relieved that our concerns were heard, and will be taken seriously. It has done a lot to reshape our opinions on the company and to alleviate our security concerns. It’s amazing what a little old fashioned customer service can do.”
The family moved to Smiths Falls from Ottawa in search of a quieter small-town life and were shocked to hear of the switch.
We reached out to Parkview homes for a statement and VP Ken Shelley was quick to respond indicating that he took full responsibility for not communicating with the tenants earlier. He explained the strict protocols that Simply Comfort Suites employ to ensure security and non-obtrusive behavior and assured our young family that they were welcome to stay as long as they wished as the pioneer tenants of the next phase in the Rideau’s existence.
The original story is below.
The first long-term tenants of the recently restored and renovated Rideau Hotel in Smiths Falls were shocked to learn last week that their new home was being converted into a short-term rental facility.
On April 29th, the young family that took occupancy of their unit in the historic Rideau Hotel on Beckwith Street back in March, heard from construction workers and later received confirmation from the property management firm that the owner, Parkview Homes was leasing all of the remaining 22 units to Simply Comfort Suites, a firm specializing in luxury short-term vacation or business rentals.
With a youngster, one of the residents stated he and his wife would have certainly not signed a one-year lease for their unit if they had known the building would be eventually used for short-term rentals. He feels misled as he stated the estate agent involved told them families and retirees were the target market. He also said their family moved to Smiths Falls from Ottawa to enjoy the benefits of small town living.
Smiths Falls Mayor, Shawn Pankow confirmed he had received communication outlining the change. As the original use of the building was a hotel, Pankow indicated that this development wasn’t concerning and fills a critical need in the town, and that current traditional residential construction projects would more than make up for the loss of the units from the long-term rental market.
While short-term rentals have caused problems in other municipalities, leading to a wave of restrictive bylaws, Pankow didn’t expect similar issues with the Rideau Hotel, as current Air BNB offerings in town hadn’t caused any problems he was aware of and, if negative issues did arise, council could always create legislation to handle things.
The original plans first submitted to council by Parkview outlined the creation of 25 long-term rental apartments along with 3 commercial suites.
They have submitted applications to the town for two community improvement plan grants, one to offset the costs of installing rooftop railings and another to lessen property taxes over the next 10 years. Simply Comfort Suites confirmed the Rideau Hotel units would be available starting June 1st.
All that said, the young family in the building says they wouldn’t have signed on for a year knowing the change was even a possibility, and they feel misled.