Vancouver City Council will encourage the creation of hotels on the Granville Strip

The land use planning process to guide the revitalization and future redevelopments of the Granville Entertainment District (GED) was unanimously approved by Vancouver City Council today.

Before approving the framework of the Granville Street development programwhich is expected to take 18 months, the city council has also approved – without any opposition – major amendments to catalyze and accelerate the construction of new tourist hotels within the GED.

“Alongside cultural and entertainment districts, you usually also have very vibrant hotel uses,” said ABC Councilwoman Sarah Kirby-Yung, who proposed the amendments, noting that hotel uses coexist well with those districts.

She said the city government needs to do a lot more to create a better business climate for opening new hotels, given the current poor economic conditions. This is largely due to the high cost of land, especially in central areas of Vancouver where hotel developments can be expected.

Approved Hotel Considerations as outlined by Kirby-Yung directs city staff to advance all requests for new hotel developments and create new policies that encourage new hotel developments within the five-block stretch of GED on along Granville Street between Robson and Drake streets.

During the temporary moratorium on new types of rezoning proposals along the GED for the duration of the planning process, there will be an exception for proposals for primarily hotel use.

The former Howard Johnson Hotel at 1176 Granville Street has been converted by BC Housing into the Lugaat Supportive Housing Building. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Kirby-Yung drew attention to the huge hotel shortage that Vancouver is currently facingwhich seriously jeopardizes the vitality and competitiveness of the region’s main tourist industry, one of the most important employing industries.

Even in 2018, according to an analysis by Destination Vancouver, the city had about 1,100 fewer hotel rooms than a decade earlier in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics. With tourism demand growing, there has been a economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.

More than 600 additional hotel rooms were lost earlier in the pandemic when all three levels of government acquired lower-tier hotel properties for quick housing for the homeless, including Howard Johnson’s GED properties and Hostelling International Vancouver Central.

Destination Vancouver predicts that there could be up to 3.4 million additional visitors to the city per year by 2030, which would require the construction of enough new hotels to increase the city’s accommodation capacity by up to to 5,000 rooms. The opportunity cost of not doing so is approximately $2.6 billion a year in lost economic benefits, $387 million in direct tax revenue, and tens of thousands of jobs. Vancouver is also facing a shortage of hotel rooms for its role as co-host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Kirby-Yung adds that without adequate hotel supply that matches growing demand, there will be fewer affordable accommodation options. It would also put more pressure on housing, with more landlords turning their suites into Airbnb listings because of the very apparent demand from overnight visitors who can’t find a traditional hotel room.

Additionally, the Kirby-Yung-approved amendment also directs city staff to address Bonnis Properties Rezoning Application for 800 Granville Street Redevelopment Project, and move the proposal forward until it is referred to a public hearing as soon as possible. Full The rezoning application was posted on the city’s public consultation website on Monday..

“The revitalization of the Commodore Ballroom will allow for many more musical events to be held there, with more modernized facilities that allow loading and unloading, while retaining the historic features of this block,” Kirby-Yung said. , outlining the benefits of the proposed redevelopment of 800 Granville Street.

“But it’s also doing something that Granville Street desperately needs, which is bringing people to the neighborhood day and night, with extra office space. This proposal will have to go through its due diligence of public review and feedback, but it is a project that the Board has previously identified would fit into a “quick start action” to relaunch GED.

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artist rendering of the revised design of 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis properties)

The Granville Street Development Program will establish policies focused on improving and intensifying the traditional entertainment district uses for the area, including restaurants, pubs, bars and nightlife and entertainment venues. entertainment, as well as office and retail uses to provide GED with daytime activity as well.

“Let’s find a way to make Granville Street the destination for Vancouverites for the next generation, something friendly and accessible to all Vancouverites,” said Green Councilor Pete Fry. “Not just for weekend warriors coming from the suburbs to heckle and fight and drink, but actually for families, for Vancouverites, for visitors and for people who want to come from the suburbs and have a good time.”

City staff previously indicated that the core of the GED – the three blocks of Granville Street between Robson and Helmcken streets – would see a ban on all new residential uses, given the incompatibility of those uses with the excess light and noise from entertainment district uses. Over time, through redevelopment, all existing residential uses would also be removed from this area.

“The history and heritage of Granville Street is the one and only entertainment district we have in the heart of our city,” she said.

The planning process will also consider improvements to public space at GED, including Kirby-Yung’s request to consider a pedestrian area on the Granville stripwhich would involve the rerouting of buses to adjacent streets.

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