The Portland Hotel Society is calling a redevelopment of Gastown’s Blood Alley and the historic Stanley Hotel a good deal for all involved.
“There are currently 78 low-income residents renting rooms at $375, which is the ministry [welfare] rate,” said Andy Bond, director of housing for the Downtown Eastside nonprofit. “And through a very long negotiation process, we have come to a place where, through the redevelopment, we will be getting 80 units of self-contained housing.”
He told the Straight that means the Stanley’s existing tenants, many of whom struggle with mental-health and addiction issues, will trade up, at the same rent, from small units with no amenities to larger rooms that include private bathrooms and kitchenettes.
The redevelopment is a joint venture between Westbank Project Corporation and B.C. Housing, with Portland serving as the building operator.
Westbank referred questions to B.C. Housing, which did not make a representative available for an interview.
In addition to 80 social-housing units, the redevelopment will see 33 West Cordova Street joined to existing buildings to also include 134 market-rental units.
The building will stand 11 storeys tall on the Cordova side and seven storeys facing Blood Alley. The social-housing component will run through a horizontal stretch three storeys tall. The plans also provide for retail space on the ground floor and mention a basement cabaret.
The redevelopment also affects the 60-bed New Fountain Shelter, which opens onto the Cordova side of the same block. Bond said Portland is working with B.C. Housing to find a location for a new shelter close by on East Hastings Street.
An open house for the redesign is scheduled for June 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Woodward’s Atrium. The application will go before the development permit board on September 16.
The City of Vancouver is handling a redevelopment of the plaza that runs through Blood Alley as a related but separate project. For the Blood Alley redesign, open houses are scheduled for June 1 and June 4 in Blood Alley Square.