The city’s goal of returning low-income tenants to a troubled Downtown Eastside hotel has encountered a potential challenge with the release of the province’s latest property assessments.
Yesterday (January 7), the Globe and Mail reported that the Balmoral Hotel’s assessed value declined considerably last year, from $7.7-million in 2016 to just $139,600 at the end of 2017.
The Balmoral Hotel, located at 159 East Hastings Street, just west of Main Street, was declared unsafe last summer. Some 150 residents were forced to move out in June. The city helped them relocate to alternative housing sites and promised it would see low-income tenants return to the Balmoral once its owners, the Sahota family, completed required repairs.
The Globe’s Wendy Stueck has reported that the drop in the building’s assessed value is a result of it losing the revenue it was making from rents collected from those tenants who were forced to move out.
While the value of the building declined, the assessed value of the ground underneath it increased last year. According to the Globe, the property was worth $2.3 million in 2016 and in 2017, that increased to $2.5 million.
Last December, the city issued a media release detailing dozens of charges against the Sohatas related to the Balmoral’s dilapidated state. The release also included an update on repairs.
“Shoring has been installed in the residential floors to ensure that the building is stable and secure and poses no public safety risk,” it reads. “At this time, the City does not have information as to the expected timeline for completion of repairs to the residential floors.”