City looks to take over Balmoral and Regent hotels for $1 each

Oct 31 2019, 5:34 pm

The City of Vancouver will vote next week to expropriate the Balmoral and Regent Hotels located in the Downtown Eastside.

According to a release, the city was “unsuccessful in negotiating an outright purchase of the hotels with the owners.”

A city report recommends council approve the expropriation of the hotels, authorize a $1 payment for each hotel to the Sahota family — the building’s owners — and approve $350,000 for each building to “ensure they are secure, through additional building hardware, security systems and on-site and mobile patrols.”

Both hotels were appraised this month at a value of $1 each, and the report says the valuation for each of the hotel properties is the result of the city’s appraiser taking into account the “renovation scope and cost estimate provided by multiple sub-consultants.”

Council will have the choice to approve the expropriate of one or both of the hotels, or abandon the process with one or both of the hotels.

The city filed the expropriation notice for the hotels in July 2018.

The Balmoral was closed in June 2017 and the Regent closed in June 2018, both due to underinvestment and mismanagement by the Sihota family resulting in structural and life-safety concerns.

Through these closures, more than 300 of Vancouver’s lowest-income tenants needed to be relocated to safer housing.

In April 2019, the city said the outstanding bylaw infractions committed by the Sihota family had been addressed through the legal process.

The breaches included failure to maintain walls, ceilings, and floors to an adequate standard, as well as lack of maintenance to plumbed facilities such as baths and toilets.

The Sahotas agreed to a total fine of $150,000, along with making a charitable donation in the amount of $20,000 to Union Gospel Mission and $5,000 to EMBERS Eastside Works.

With files from Eric Zimmer