On July 31st Vancouver City Council carried the motion unanimously to approve the Interim Hotel Development Policy and Related Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan.

What is this about?
Tourism Vancouver has identified the need to address the loss of hotel inventory in Vancouver through the development of a policy that supported hotel development.  Over the first half of 2018, we worked collaboratively with the Downtown Vancouver planning team to bring the full scope of the issue to their attention. We provided research data and helped to connect with stakeholders. The product of that effort was that city planning staff developed an interim hotel development policy and amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan to present to council.

sustain1The proposal was brought to Public Hearing on July 31, 2018. City staff presented to council that in the last ten years the city has lost 1,105 rooms and that a further 1,674 rooms are at risk in the short and medium term of being lost to redevelopment.

Tourism Vancouver’s CEO Ty Speer and Destination BC’s CEO Marsha Walden planned to speak to council in support of the amendment. Marsha Walden emphasised the critical importance of tourism to the local and provincial economy. 

Ty Speer illustrated how the successive loss of hotel room inventory, amid sustained visitor growth, impacts the industry. He highlighted the critical effect on the future sustainable growth of the industry, should there not be any growth in the supply of hotel rooms in the city over the next 12 years. Ty also responded to several questions from councillors.

The video of the meeting is here (Marsha Walden’s presentation is at 15:50 and Ty’s presentation is at 19:40)

What does this policy say and what does it mean?
Two associated zoning policies were approved, a hotel conversion policy and a policy that supports future opportunities for hotel development. The intention is to moderate the loss of hotel rooms and encourage new hotels.

The policy reaffirms the City’s interest that new or existing hotels will be considered as part of neighbourhood planning programs, as well as rezoning and development applications and enquiries. This policy emphasises the importance of existing and new hotel rooms in the City Core, especially downtown.

Commitment to Monitoring Hotel Supply / No Net Loss
Staff will continue to monitor the gains and losses of hotel rooms in the city. There should be no net loss in the city’s hotel room stock until the Broadway Plan and City Core 2050 plan are completed, at which time new targets will be brought forward to Council for consideration.

Create Opportunities for Hotels
Development and rezoning enquiries and applications will be reviewed with consideration of this objective. Development should consider the retention or replacement of hotel rooms on the development site.

Price and Experience: Encourage a Variety of Options
In the City Core area, especially downtown, there is a recognized need for hotel options that are modestly priced. This can be accomplished through retention of existing hotels (where feasible), mixed-use projects incorporating hotel and support for the development of innovative hotel options with modest room sizes. Maintaining price diversity can be achieved by retaining, where possible, mid-price range tourist hotels.

Residential to Hotel Considerations
The review of proposals to convert a residential building to hotel use will be considered in cases where:
a)one owner owns all the strata lots; or
b)100% of the strata owners agree to the conversion of all or a portion of the strata lots to hotel use;
c)the zoning permits hotel use; and
d)if appropriate, securing a housing agreement for the residential units are occupied as rental apartments.

Council – Issues Reports on Hotel Room Losses
Rezoning and development applications where the existing hotel rooms are proposed to not be replaced or conversion proposals (hotel converted to residential or residential converted to hotel), may be the subject of an Issues Report to Council.

The Issues Report will assess rezoning and development application proposals for conversion based on consideration of the following criteria:
(a)The current supply of hotel space and the projected demand for the next 3 years both for the city, and where applicable, the downtown.
(b)The amount of hotel space being converted and the general pace of hotel room losses and gains.
(c)Whether the building is on the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR) or is deemed of heritage value and worthy of being added to the Register.
(d)The proposal’s ability to address job space targets.

Add hotel use to Area N and L1 in Downtown
The amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan address allow hotel as a conditionally permitted land use within Area N up to 5.0 FSR or to the density of existing hotels if higher, and within Area L1 up to 1.0 FSR.

 

For more information:
The Public Consultation meeting minutes are available at this link:

Here is the link to the Summary and Recommendations: https://council.vancouver.ca/20180731/documents/phea1summary.pdf

June 28 2018 The Interim Hotel Development Policy and Report link: https://council.vancouver.ca/20180710/documents/p2.pdf

 

What else is going on?
Tourism Vancouver is tracking new developments that include hotel uses and participating in the public consultation process to impress the urgent need for a supply of more hotel room capacity in the city.

118-150 Robson Street

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Tourism Vancouver wrote a letter of support to council highlighting the critical losses in hotel room inventory on the downtown peninsula and the need for more hotel inventory. On July 10th at the public hearing of the rezoning of 118-150 Robson Street of a proposed new hotel/residential mixed-use tower that once completed will add 120 rooms Vancouver’s inventory. The proposal was approved by council.

To learn more about the development go here.

To read a story written in the Start Metro about the development and Tourism Vancouver’s advocacy go here.

 

sustain3North East False Creek Sub Area 6B
July 10th/12th 2018 Council also approved the rezoning of sub-area 6B (750-772 Pacific Boulevard) by Canadian Metropolitan Properties with conditions. This site as part of the NEFC redevelopment plan includes the possibility of including hotel development as part of the mandated commercial floor space allocation. Tourism Vancouver will continue to advocate for hotel use as part of the NEFC events and entertainment district strategy as well as the public space stewardship strategy.

To learn more about the development go here and for the conditions approved by council here (item 6).

 

878-898 West Broadway

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Tourism Vancouver met with the developer regarding the July 23 community open house of the rezoning application for 878-898 West Broadway. This development would include 438 hotel units (replacing the 117 rooms at the Park Inn and Suites currently occupying the site). The development design was conditionally approved by the Urban Design Panel on August 8th. This next stage is a public consultation, likely to take place in early 2019.

For further information about this proposal go here.