Change sought in relocation of homeless men’s shelter to be dislodged by Vancouver tower

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      A developer wants the City of Vancouver to change a condition in the relocation of an established downtown shelter.

      The homeless men’s shelter has been operating since 1958, and it will be displaced by a 29-storey tower to be constructed by Amacon Development.

      As part of the terms for the development, Amacon has agreed to find a replacement site that will be good for 10 years.

      However, a staff report to council indicates that the developer has been “unable to secure” a new place it found for a full 10-year period.

      “They have negotiated an agreement to lease the new site for a minimum of seven years, with an option to renew at the owner’s discretion for an additional three years,” according to the report included in council’s agenda Tuesday (May 28).

      As an alternative, the report noted that the developer is “offering a letter of credit for $1.5 million to be held by the City, should the lease not be renewed for the last three years and a new alternative replacement site needs to be found”.

      “The amount secured by the Letter of Credit would be put towards tenant improvements and to secure a new shelter space, if required,” according to the staff report.

      Last year, council approved a rezoning application by Amacon Development to develop a condo and hotel tower with ground-level retail near B.C. Place.

      The development site at 118-150 Robson Street included the former National Electric building owned by the Catholic Charities.

      The 102-bed Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel operates from the said building.

      “When the applicant purchased the site from Catholic Charities in 2015, the applicant entered into an agreement with Catholic Charities to enable Catholic Charities to continue to operate the existing shelter, first on the existing site and, following redevelopment, at an alternative replacement shelter site,” the staff report recalled.

      The developer now wants to change the term of the relocation to a minimum of seven years.

      “It is very rare that staff would recommend a change to approved rezoning conditions between the public hearing and enactment, however in this instance, staff have determined that a lease term for seven years plus the option to renew for three years at the owner’s discretion, combined with the $1.5 million letter of credit, ensures that a 102-bed homeless shelter can continue to provide services in the downtown core or at another suitable location…without a service interruption,” the report stated.