Developer seeks City of Vancouver approval to add hotel use to Main Street residential project

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      They’re going to be built as homes, but they’re also planned for a hotel business.

      A developer is asking the City of Vancouver to approve hotel use for a portion or all of the residential units of a mixed-use project in Mount Pleasant.

      The hotel, if approved, would be operated through a partnership with Sonder Canada, a technology-based company that offers short-term rentals across North America and Europe.

      “The hotel use would be accommodated through a master lease of the strata residential units between the owner [the developer] and Sonder Canada for a set term (typically five years), after which the lease would be re-assessed by the owner,” Karen Hoese, assistant director with the city’s rezoning centre, wrote in a report to council.

      The owner is Main Street Arts 2 Investments Inc., a company affiliated with development firm PortLiving.

      After the lease, Hoese continued, the units could either continue as hotel lodgings for another term or become residential.

      The project is located at the northeast corner of Main Street and East 4th Avenue, currently home to various auto-related businesses and a propane depot.

      The development will have 49 units, with commercial uses on the ground level and below street level, and childcare service on the second level.

      The 37-space childcare facility, which is valued at $4.7 million, will be turned over to the city by the developer.

      The rezoning application for 1940 Main Street, which was the subject of Hoese’s report, has been referred by council to public hearing.

      According to Hoese, the provision of hotel use is encouraged by the city’s Interim Hotel Development Policy.

      The policy was approved by council in July 2018 to address the declining supply of hotel rooms in the city.

      A staff report to council last year indicated that the city lost 1,105 rooms during the past decade. The same report stated that 1,674 more rooms are at risk because of redevelopment, primarily for residential purposes.

      The interim hotel policy states that “new or existing hotels will be considered as part of neighbourhood planning programs, as well as rezoning and development applications and enquiries.”

      In her report about 1940 Main Street, Hoese wrote that sites like this one are “particularly important due to their proximity to major convention facilities, major offices, the concentration of tourism destinations and regional economic importance”.

      “The applicant would initially be required to construct the project for residential use, and apply for a Development Permit for the hotel use should they pursue the partnership with Sonder Canada upon project completion,” Hoese explained.