Waldorf Hotel operator pulls plug; owner's lawyer says it will be business as usual

Waldorf Productions will cease operations at the Waldorf Hotel on January 20 after a lengthy dispute over rent with its landlord, Marko Puharich.

The production company opened its cultural hub in the 63-year-old East Hastings Street hotel on October 31, 2010, to rave reviews from patrons and the media. It includes a restaurant, a tiki bar, hotel rooms, a recording studio, and an art gallery.

Entertainment director Thomas Anselmi told the Straight by phone that his company ran into financial trouble during the first year of a 15-year lease, which was expected in a business of this type. He said Puharich, who represents Waldorf Hotel Ltd., was initially quite accommodating and supportive, but that changed when the operators asked for rent forgiveness.

“At that point, he started looking to sell it,” Anselmi alleged.

He claimed that Waldorf Productions’ failure to pay full rent opened the door for the landlord to switch to a short-term lease at a significantly higher cost.

Waldorf Hotel lawyer Gavin Crickmore told the Straight by phone that he “can’t accept the veracity” of this comment, characterizing it as a “subjective statement”.

“They were paying a base rent for the hotel as of the new lease,” he said. “They made each of those rent payments.”

Crickmore, who was on a conference call with Puharich, emphasized that the hotel would continue operations. He claimed that the operator’s lease expired on January 7.

“We haven’t even had confirmation from them that they’re leaving,” Crickmore stated. “If it is correct that [Waldorf] Productions is planning to cease operations on the 19th, patrons of the hotel can expect it to be business as usual on the 20th. The business of the hotel, obviously, is going to stay open.”

Puharich said that Waldorf Hotel Ltd. owns two liquor-primary licences, one food-primary liquor licence, and one special-retail-store liquor licence.

Anselmi also claimed that the building has been bought by the Solterra Group of Companies, which will build condos on the site.

In addition, Anselmi said that ownership of the liquor licences was transferred from the Puharich family to the new owner.

Crickmore said that he is “unable to confirm any comments” made by Anselmi regarding a sale or potential sale of the property. Solterra’s Mike Bosa did not return a call by deadline.

Anselmi said that the decision to leave means his company will lose deposits for entertainment that has been booked until April.

“We’re hoping the city will step up because we know that…there is a lot of space that the city is allocating right now to artists and artist-run spaces.…We have been running this place as if it was a public institution. And no one can deny that.”

Comments (42) Add New Comment
Rating: +63
Hipster sympathizer
A sad day for hipsters all over the city.
Rating: -18
NOOOOOOO, not fair, its back to boring Vancouver, I loved the Honey lounge but they closed down, and now the Waldorf too, aren't there already enough condos!!!!
Rating: +55
Barge it
Maybe they can barge it to the island, next to Trader Vic's
Rating: +30
I miss Honey, too!
Rating: +5

Don't buy new condos and don't shop/eat at chains and maybe places like the Waldorf will be able to afford this city. The only places that can afford the high rents of new buildings is going to be your London drugs, Starbucks, Subways, and for some strange reason Mantiques lol. Why do you think these places do so well? Because they are at the base of our buildings, all of them. We have to stop giving our money to the people who wipe out our favorite places!
Rating: +90
Jorge Posada
The early death of a cultural Vancouver' oasis :-(
Rating: +24
RE: Hipster sympathizer
An even sadder day for the one who has to say something a little bit witty, a little bit mean and a little bit generalized to get off. If anybody interested in grassroots culture is stigmatized as a hipster here in Van, maybe that's the reason why nothing ever becomes of this place. Tell us what you want us to be then, self-loathing troll.
Rating: +25
Alan P
Cultural venues need to stay open for culture to happen. Want a shot in the dark to keep the Waldorf open? Sign this petition. Even shots in the dark sometimes hit their marks.

Rating: +25
Richard schultz
The people that are so against the closing of this bar,are in essence the very reason for its closure. You want to live in the neighbourhood. You want the "east Village" vibe. Well,you got it.
Rating: -47
There's going to be a lot of places to live but no where to do anything. It would be a little more tolerable if any of these condos were liveable at all. There's not even space for a dinner table! They are ruining any cultural identity this city ever had. Their oversized dildos are even void of any architectural style whatsoever. They don't even try anymore.
Rating: +26
von Loewen
The peoples of Vancouver need to fight and fight everyday to preserve the cities heritage and support it's incredibly talented artists. It's a war out there folks and should be treated as such..http://www.flickr.com/photos/sirloeresolver22/8365191331/in/pool-iev
Rating: +10
Sudha Krishna
So sad to see the demise of The Waldorf. I lived in Vancouver for 12 years and now live in New York City, Brooklyn to be precise. Despite the very high prices for commercial and residential real estate here, spaces for arts and culture seem to be abundant - two differences I noticed. The city recognizes the economic value of culture in very tangible way and there is significant audience to support cultural expression in a variety of spaces. Vancouver needs to nurture culture not simply submit to the whims of developers
Rating: +30
Solterra is getting some serious backlash on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/solterragroupofcompanies?fref=ts
Rating: +10
Artiste gentrification
Schultz is right, the artists are the shock troops of gentrification the early colonists that open a neighbourhood up for development. It's a historical fact from our Downtown Eastside to Lower Eastside in NYC, when the artists move in the developers are not far behind. Admittedly, in the case of the Waldorf were talking pretty late in the game. Move out to the Tri-Cities area if you fresh pastures free from yuppie scum.
Rating: +8
kudos for not turning this into another ad for the Rio.
Rating: +7
I don't see an end to this..
Richards on Richards, Main and kingsway high rise, Vancouver Theater company, art funding cuts, Biltmore barely surviving (and now as people move into the condos across the street it's only a matter of time). Vancouver is becoming a giant expnsive suburb. Commercial Drive is the only neighborhood with a pulse and seeing Waldorf go from a Commercial zone to Residential is a sign of things to come. Canada does not have many cities to choose from though. Any one else want to chime in? I've had friends move to Brooklyn, Montreal, Toronto, Shanghai, San Francisco, Melborne.. All seem to be happier (they laugh when i ask what they miss for the most part) and feel like their futures are bright. Where does an opprotunistic, realistic, person move? Because the music, art, culture, fashion scene was what lured me here and I've come to realize they are not valued here.
Rating: +19
Congratulations Mr. Schultz. You sir, are an idiot!
Rating: -11
gary wallace
hella whatevs.
Rating: +7
Welcome to VANSHITTY.

Gentrification has been happening in the Downtown Eastside for years. This is what happens when people only take the time to care about a problem when it directly affects themselves. Maybe if the amount of people that care about the closure of the Waldorf had been at the city council meetings alongside the DTES community then this could have been prevented (or maybe not, it's really hard to say how insensitive the city really is.) This didn't just come out of nowhere, let's be honest about that. This is a result of lack of support (years of it) from the get go. People have been trying to fight these condo towers--protesting city hall and having hearings in front of the city council. Everyone else wants to do something about it now when it's too late. Let this be a lesson.. that the "it doesn't affect me so why should I care?" attitude will catch up to you. This is the biggest and best example yet.

Gentrification isn't only affecting the Waldorf. Can we please remember that? Can we please be equally outraged for the rest of the community? Can we please fight for everybody else being affected too? Or is this really just about your tiki bar...

Just something to consider.
Rating: +12


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