City of Vancouver votes to expropriate Balmoral and Regent hotels

Nov 6 2019, 4:41 pm

Vancouver city council voted to expropriate the Balmoral and Regent Hotels located in the Downtown Eastside.

Council voted unanimously to pay the Sahota family — the building’s owners — $1 for each hotel and $1,000 to the owner of the Regent Pub for the pub lease.

The city says the $1 valuations are the result of independent appraisals.

“Today’s historic vote to expropriate the Balmoral and Regent Hotels is a clear message that we are not afraid to use every tool at our disposal to create new affordable homes,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a release.

“The decision to bring the buildings into public ownership was not taken lightly. Safe, secure homes are desperately needed in our city and today’s decision recognizes the impact these buildings had on the Downtown Eastside community.”

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 Sahota 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 Sahota 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