Condo building proposal on Main Street could be converted into a Sonder hotel

Nov 22 2019, 2:59 pm

A redevelopment project on Main Street in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant district could see hotel uses instead of the original plan for market condominiums.

Early this year, local developer Port Living submitted a rezoning application for 1940 Main Street — the northeast corner of the intersection of Main Street and East 4th Avenue — into a six-storey mixed-use development with 49 strata-titled residential units.

But now, a new city staff report to be considered by city council indicates the developer is seeking to turn these residential units into a hotel, with Sonder leasing the homes for a set term — typically five years. After the term, the lease could be renewed or the units could revert back to residential use.

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Site of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Site of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

The report did not provide the developer’s reason for this use, but the soft market for concrete condominium homes is likely the leading factor behind the decision.

If this hotel use is approved, other aspects of the building — 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the lower floors, including an expansive 12,200-sq-ft basement retail space, plus a 4,600-sq-ft, 37-space childcare facility on the second level with expansive outdoor space — will remain unchanged.

The proposal aligns with the city’s Interim Hotel Development Policy, which was created to help address the hotel room supply shortage.

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

The Montreal-founded digital short-term rental company, now based in San Francisco, offers guest services such as changed sheets and fresh towels through its smartphone app. It has no concierge service at its properties, which are currently located in over 30 cities around the world.

Dubbed “Main Street Arts 2,” the redevelopment designed by Formosis Architecture carries the same colourful, arts-themed motif as Port Living’s “Main Street Arts” project just two blocks south. Ground-level murals also pay tribute to Mount Pleasant’s growing identity for arts and culture in the city.

A total of 112 vehicle parking stalls are located within three underground levels.

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Site usage of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

1940 Main Street Arts 2 Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1940 Main Street, Vancouver. (Formosis Architecture / Port Living)

Overall, the project calls for a total floor area of 52,300 sq. ft., giving it a floor space ratio of three times the size of its lot.

The building’s height is restricted by a close-proximity view cone established at the intersection of Main Street and East 6th Avenue.

Sonder is also opening two additional hotel properties in the city — a 36-suite property at 576 Seymour Street in the old Arts & Crafts Building, and a 66-room hotel within the base of the old Coast Plaza Hotel in the West End.