A new casino-hotel destination resort in downtown Vancouver has been planned since the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
After more than two years of construction, and just after the Coldplay concert ends next door at BC Place, Parq Vancouver officially opens tonight at 11 pm with a celebratory roll of the dice on the casino floor.
“This entertainment district, or the stadium district, as we know it will be changed. Customers coming for any one of the three sports teams, entertainment, and meetings will have an elevated experience,” said Scott Menke, co-founder of Paragon Gaming, during this morning’s press conference.
“I think this project is much more about tourism than anything else.”
The $700-million complex is located on the west side of BC Place Stadium next to the stadium’s Gate G, where there is a secondary entrance into the resort for stadium spectators.
The main entrance is located in the new Smithe Street extension, which has a roundabout with a striking public art sculpture dubbed ‘Slow’ – a three-metre high stainless steel sculpture of two panda bears by Chinese artist Zhang Huan.
With over 775,000 sq. ft. of floor area, the resort features two luxury Marriott-operated hotels – the JW Marriott and the Douglas, an Autograph Collection – with a combined 517 rooms.
This is Canada’s first JW Marriott hotel within in an urban area, and it boasts a 10,000-sq-ft spa on the 17th floor.
The now-closed Edgewater Casino has been relocated to a new purpose-built 72,000-sq-ft space with 600 slot machines and 75 table games within the second and third levels.
It is one of the few casinos in the world that is designed to allow natural light to pour in, going against the traditional design of an enclosed casino.
There are eight restaurants and lounges by Las Vegas-based Blau + Associates restaurant group, including upscale Chinese restaurant 1886, farm-to-table restaurant Honey Salt, the Lotus Whiskey and Tea Lounge serving teas during the day and whiskey at night, and a high-end seafood and steak restaurant The Victor on the 30,000-sq-ft outdoor rooftop garden.
Two other eateries, Singapore night market-inspired MRKT East and comfort food BC Kitchen, are designed for guests who want a more casual dining experience.
Parq Vancouver’s meeting and convention space spanning 62,000 sq. ft. is billed as the largest new convention space added to the city since the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion in 2009.
The convention floor has 13 ballrooms, boardrooms, and meeting rooms, including the 15,600-sq-ft Parq Grand Ballroom, which is now Vancouver’s largest hotel ballroom.
According to staff, the new convention space is attracting meetings and conferences that Vancouver has been unable to attract before, particularly conventions that traditionally go to ‘sun destinations’. There are also already nearly two dozen weddings booked for the venue in 2018.
The new resort employs 2,000 people, including 600 staff within its restaurants and lounges. It also plans to provide St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation with $1.5 million towards its research and treatment of addiction disorders.