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News of Waldorf Hotel closure sparks a small neutron bomb of outrage, anger, sadness, uncertainty

January 9th, 2013 · 49 Comments

There are still lots of twists and turns in this story of the current operators of the Waldorf Hotel announcing they are no longer in business as of Jan. 20. I captured a small part of it in the Globe final story today. But there’s much more and more to come.

While the meme has boiled down to “condo development drives out funky arts venue and despairing Vancouverites flood Tahrir Square to protest,” a few things to be noted:

– the hotel’s current owner, who still legally controls the building until September, says the hotel and its bars, restaurant, etc., will stay open, according to what Charlie Smith and the Georgia Straight are reporting. Presumably, however, it won’t have any of the creativity the current owners bring.

– the developer, Solterra Group of Companies, does not get control of the building until September. I hear from some sources that Solterra was itself blindsided by what looks like a breakdown of talks between the current owner and the Waldorf operating partners

– everyone has gone crazy, with at least one petition out there demanding that city council deny any rezoning and Solterra’s Facebook site filling up with hate messages

– the land is zoned industrial and CANNOT have condos built on it without a rezoning, which means public hearing, council approval, etc.

– although the Wall property at 955 East Hastings five blocks away was zoned industrial and had to be rezoned to allow condos — which Mainlander/COPE critics are saying has led to condo speculation with the Waldorf property — the Millennium site across the street from the Waldorf does not require a rezoning. It will have 101 condos over retail, which is allowed within the zoning. My understanding is that the Canadian Tire site across from the Waldorf, bought by PCI, is going to be a commercial/industrial development, not condos.

– one could argue that the real gentrifying forces in the area are Gourmet Warehouse, right across from the Waldorf, and Les Amis du Fromage, a few blocks west — two yuppie food places that have brought new people to what some see as a dismal stretch of Hastings.

– yes, Solterra bought a table at the pre-election Vision fundraiser — as did some arts groups

– the hotel operators financial situation seems a bit murky. They sank a lot of sweat equity and money into a huge reno of the building, but didn’t get any tenant-improvement money from the landlord, as is usual. Then they couldn’t pay their rent for several months at some point, yet they seemed to be giving at least one gallery space rent free. They asked the landlord if they could not pay for a while, which later made them vulnerable to the landlord demanding to break their 15-year lease.

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Categories: Uncategorized

49 responses so far ↓

  • 1 IanS // Jan 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

    From this review of the facts, it looks like the landlord gave them every opportunity and even carried them for a while. However, when they couldn’t make a go of it financially, he decided to sell the property. Too bad, but I can’t imagine it was really unexpected by the end.

    “everyone has gone crazy”

    Seems like.

  • 2 Kenji // Jan 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    This.

    However, the bomb of outrage may or may not be enough to generate some positive action. While I think it is dangerous for the Waldorf renters to irritate their (former) landlord even more by sending out their carping press release, it may have been the only card they had to play. The Rio took that gamble and won.

  • 3 rf // Jan 10, 2013 at 10:49 am

    They couldn’t pay the rent and that gave the owner an out on the lease either way.
    I saw Fazio on the news last night. He was a punky know-it-all (takes one to know one) in high school and I don’t understand why these guys think they are entitled to special treatment. Coincidentally, Tom Anselmi is the exact same name as the guy who did all the talking for MLSE when the fired Brian Burke yesterday.
    I wonder if there’s a relation…and therefore deep daddy pockets in the background that were not sacrificed before going to the landlord for relief.

    Anyone out there renting a condo out goes balistic when tenants don’t pay rent and cry that the process to evict is slow.

    It sounds like they should have gone to someone like Bob Rennie to help them pay the rent when they first got into trouble….

  • 4 IanS // Jan 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

    @Kenji #2: “However, the bomb of outrage may or may not be enough to generate some positive action.”

    Well, as is often the case, it seems to have generated demands that someone do something at someone else’s expense.

  • 5 spartikus // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

    One could theorize that the venue-operators made certain choices based on the generosity of the landlord and might have made others if he had been more of a hard-ass.

    But we’ll never know.

    The shame here is the venue-operators showed a real commitment to both the building and the community they were serving. Which can not seemingly be said of other cultural venues that are closing down.

  • 6 IanS // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

    @spartikus #5:

    “One could theorize that the venue-operators made certain choices based on the generosity of the landlord and might have made others if he had been more of a hard-ass.”

    That’s certainly possible. And there’s even a legal doctrine (well, an equitable doctrine, really) specifically directed at circumstances like that.

    However, given the tone of the press release, I suspect the tenant’s options from a legal perspective are pretty limited.

  • 7 Kenji // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

    @4

    Well there is outright expense and then there is investment.

    As I understand it, developers negotiate with the City all the time for givebacks — you get x parking spots, but you have to give y for recreational space, and so on.

    I’m not sure that a Polynesian theme bar is so distinctive, valuable, unique, and socially beneficial as to qualify for some extra mediation and negotiation. I have no idea. But I think that it’s potentially smart of the Waldorfians to put out the meme that it is a great cultural space, since, for all I know, it is.

  • 8 Bill Lee // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Should we diffentiate Solterra from the other Bosa Brothers companies?

    Did being on the Woodlands Street designated bike route hurt or help the Waldorf?

    What about the Acme? Building just with a for sale sign to the east of the Waldorf. (Or the Indian centre in the next block?)
    And the corner buildings sold sign on Hastings and Clark.

    Gourmet Warehouse used to be up top of the hill at Pandora and Victoria Drive with a lane entrance for years.

    Where is our (Arabic: ميدان التحرير‎ Mīdān at-Taḥrīr, IPA: [meˈdæːn ettæħˈɾiːɾ], English: Liberation Square), also known as “Martyr Square”, a major public town square in Downtown Cairo, Egypt, that you reference in
    “While the meme has boiled down to “condo development drives out funky arts venue and despairing Vancouverites flood Tahrir Square to protest,”
    above?
    Have we missed a Vision development?

    Is anyone reading the P1 document “Proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law to Support Artist Studios in Industrial Areas”
    Report Date: January 7, 2013 Meeting Date: January 15, 2013. and seen the maps of the art ghettos as far away from cheap living-studios space as possible. (Whole pages 14 and 15 for maps)
    http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20130115/documents/p1.pdf
    [ Why do Mme Bula have to find it in the "former' rather than the present web pages disasters and chaos ]

    What has been the situation with the Moberley Art and Cultural studio at 7646 Prince Albert? Is it too far away to have any effect on the arts scene.
    Will funding be renewed for the South Hill Fraser Street Arts project when it runs out at the end of the year.

    Has anyone seen what the BC College of Art (sometimes Emily Carr College for those who can’t go back east) does in their annual May Grad shows for the visual arts?

    Did Bob Rennie kill music culture when he promoted the god-awful towers that replaced the Eldorado Hotel on 2330 Kingsway? Should developers hold off on even minor cultural spaces that exist?

    Has anyone read E.M. Forster’s “When the Machine Stops” about our future e-culture cocoons promoted by Vision policies for development?
    archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/prajlich/forster.html
    (Summary at Wikipedia under title for those who don’t want to read 13,000 words short stories)

  • 9 teririch // Jan 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Well, I am one of the many that is very sorry to see the Waldorf go.

    I’ve enjoyed many a great meals there – their brunches are great.

  • 10 jerry // Jan 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    really? The cheese shop and Gourmet Warehouse are “the real gentrifying forces”? Are you intentionally distracting from the very real developer feeding frenzy in the area? what about the 32,000 sq ft of land the Onni have assembled on the SW corner of Clark and Hastings (from Brave Bull to the gas station)

  • 11 ThinkOutsideABox // Jan 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The shame here is the venue-operators showed a real commitment to both the building and the community they were serving. Which can not seemingly be said of other cultural venues that are closing down.

    I don’t agree with that. That would be a false characterization of those running Maxine’s Hideaway in the West End before it was rezoned and demolished:

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/end-near-for-historic-building-with-a-naughty-past-1.462883

    “You cannot recreate this. This place has over a hundred years of being a focal point of the West End community. This place has touched so many lives,” said owner J.D. Henderson, owner of the Broadway-style cabaret.

    I just find it so quaint to read all the tweets from yesterday – VIAwesome’s reminder that the site is zoned for mixed-use commercial insinuating some glimmer of hope if the community just rizes up after “extensive neighbourhood consultation.” to oppose the rezoning.

    Marcella Munro counters Jeff Lee’s “Uh, I’ve met few rezonings council didn’t like” with her “I seem to remember something about a casino..” as if it makes up for the destruction that has taken place within the last few years. It’s all so pitiful with so much cognitive dissonance. If a condo developer purchases a site with the intent to rezone, they will have already been in touch with the city’s planning dept. to establish the likelihood that rezoning would get the nod well in advance of the public hearing. And it would certainly be in keeping with Vision Vancouver’s interim rezoning policy to build residential along arterials.

    “City staff say they’ll help the company (Maxine’s Hideway), which now operates as a cabaret, find a new location….”

    “City is exploring ways to support the Waldorf continuing as one of Vancouver’s most unique and vibrant cultural spaces…”

    “City is committed to working with the W2 Board to facilitate a renewed business plan…” Same shit, different cultural demise.

  • 12 richmond // Jan 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    One culture suffers a demise, so that a new one arises. A culture comprised of people who are willing to fork over as much money as can be extracted from them, in return for condo ownership.

    And this of course provides revitalization, increased taxation, employment, and of course, 24 new market rentals, and eight subsidized or needs-integrated units, that the area would not otherwise have.

    All the rest is just collateral damage in Vision’s mantra of “the needs of the many…”

  • 13 Bill Lee // Jan 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    And to see Peter Wall, whose 955 (Gair Building) East Hastings rezoning and mixed housing deal seems to have started the land rush, see

    Madame Bula’s profile in June 2012
    http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/Business/The_Ascent_and_Legacy_of_Peter_Wall?page=0%2C3
    and slightly hidden away in the Plumbing sidebar
    francesbula.com/uncategorized/will-the-wall-centre-tower-go-back-to-all-black-my-city-plumber-question-this-week/

  • 14 Bill Lee // Jan 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    By the way that ‘final story’ in the third line way above (“I captured a small part of it in the Globe final story today. “) is now time-stamped

    “Patrons lament closing of Waldorf Hotel after sale to condo developer” by Frances Bula and Marsha Lederman
    Vancouver — Special to The Globe and Mail
    Published Wednesday, Jan. 09 2013, 5:31 PM EST
    Last updated Thursday, Jan. 10 2013, 11:05 AM EST
    with 67 comments

  • 15 teririch // Jan 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Frances just tweeted this:

    fabulavancouver: Waldorf Hotel buyer Solterra says he has “no intention of demolishing the hotel”

    ****

    Well, I guess it is a wait and see.

  • 16 Stephanie // Jan 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Oh, this is funny. So Anselmi (yes, same family, yes family money), Fazio et. al. lose their lease because they don’t pay the rent. The owner gets annoyed and puts the building on the market. The owner won’t give them a long-term lease again because (a) they breached the first one and (b) they don’t want to interfere with a potential sale. The building sells. Nothing else happens. The Waldorf goes to the media saying “Developers! We have to shut down because of developers!” Pandemonium ensues.

    If I’d signed one of those petitions I’d be pissed, because I’d have just been played.

  • 17 Stephanie // Jan 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I called this a while ago as a play to get a lease out of the developer. Might be right, might be wrong. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

  • 18 Frank Ducote // Jan 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Stephanie – Thanks for your interesting and insightful take on this obviously emotional and divisive issue. We are so often ready to jump to conclusions about evil intent and behind the scenes machinations, it appears that your assessment might have “legs”, as they say.

    Let’s wait and see, indeed.

  • 19 Stephanie // Jan 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks, Frank, though I’m not sure I deserve the praise: I’m more cynical than insightful, I suspect.

  • 20 Guest // Jan 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I think Stephanie may have it right –
    The only thing I might change is – instead of “landlord gets annoyed” to “landlord loses money, gets annoyed and …”.

    The question is whther the current operator has alienated Solterra, who may just look for a more profitable operator.

  • 21 Lindsay // Jan 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Amongst all the rumours and projections I really appreciate the angle of this post.

    I am as bummed as the next guy to loose the fun and hubbub that came with The Waldorf, but I think Stephanie nailed all the little thoughts that crept into my mind once the initial shock wore off.

  • 22 Guest // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    BTW – in case you didn’t know it, Solterra apparently operates the Moda Hotel (former Dufferin Hotel) at Smithe & Seymour which includes the Uva wine bar, the Red Card Sports Bar, a restaurant and a beer and wine store.

  • 23 A Dave // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Well, yes, Stephanie is of course right, it’s a play. But,

    I suppose if we weren’t talking about cultural vibrancy, or we weren’t finally shining a light on Vision Vancouver’s unfulfilled promise over two elections to “prioritize the creation of cultural spaces in the city,” I would be less sympathetic to the Waldorf operators’ plight, and agree with the simplistic view that if these guys didn’t pay their rent, then they deserve to get turfed.

    This is, after all, the pragmatic view from “free enterprise” business types (and legal eagles) who extol the virtues of the free market at every turn, forever seeking less and less government regulation and intervention.

    Oh, but wait, when times are tough, and their businesses are threatened, there they are, acting like pinkos for the greater good, accepting multi-billion dollar bailouts (big banks and auto companies included) like those pathetic socialists and the lazy artist types they love to hate on.

    Free market? Pfft.

    Hootsuite got a rent break from the City because of some hazily defined civic “value”. And I have little doubt that the London Drugs in Woodwards could not survive without their sweetheart long-term lease with the city.

    And Vision may say beautiful things to the arts community to help get them elected, but they have to wear the demolition of the Pantages Theatre, which amply demonstrates what an absolute failure their whole arts and culture platform has been. The list of cultural and heritage assets steamrolled under Vision’s watch is unprecedented, but the Pantages tops the list – it was the very definition of a worthy civic investment that could have paid huge dividends for generations to come.

    You know, the kind of dividends that make sense when you are in the business of building a culturally vibrant, diverse city.

    And, lo and behold, just a month ago, before the Waldorf was even on the radar, how about this demonstration of bitter irony and taxpayer-funded largesse to business interests:

    “the government bailout of the Pantages condo project on the 100-block of East Hastings… was recently leaked to the Province newspaper… BC Housing has bailed-out condo developer Marc Williams/Worthington Properties with $23 million in sub-prime loans. BC Housing said that it has a mandate to fund “revitalization.”

    The Province reported: “Dan Maxwell, vice-president, corporate services, and CFO of B.C. Housing, said Williams’ application to the province’s community partnership program was accepted because the development will revitalize the block.”

    So, yeah, that’s $23 million in taxpayers’ money NOT going to social housing and those in need, but instead bailing out a CONDO developer whose project will undoubtedly ramp up the displacement of low-income DTES residents!

    Cause, ya know, the cupboard is bare innit.

    It was only a couple of years ago that the Save the Pantages crowd wanted $20 million in Heritage Density to preserve a vital civic asset, and, yes “revitalize” the 100 block of Hastings.

    Which Vision denied in a spineless, short-sighted decision. Screw cultural revitalization and the vitality of heritage arts spaces, we’ve rigged up the HAHR and now we can put towers a block up in Chinatown to do the homogenizing, er, revitalizing. Ka-ching!

    So yeah, out in the real world it may seem like there’s a free market at work to weed out the weak ones. But here in the bubble of the arts world, there’s a brain drain of epic proportions going on, and Vancouver is quickly becoming a cultural backwater.

  • 24 Joe Just Joe // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Remember folks, Solterra buying it doesn’t mean it’s going to become condos. Solterra also invested a ton of money into making Moda a decent hotel, they have the Red Card sports bar, Uva wine bar, Cibo restaurant, and Viti liquor store. Hmm a couple of bars, a restaurant, liquor store and hotel all in one building…sound familiar?

  • 25 Joe Just Joe // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Beaten to the punch.

  • 26 Glissando Remmy // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    “Much Ado About Nothing.”

    I kind of agree with TOTB #11 on this one. Waldorf is a business. Whatever its use there will always be a contract between a landlord and a lessee. If the conditions of the contract are not fulfilled, the contract is broken, the lease is terminated . Period.
    All the above conditions have been met.
    I understand the hipsters cohabiting in that space thought that they were too sexy for their shirts, but in the end when monies are involved… tough, eh.
    Here’s the funny part though, da Mayor and his Vision pals are crying crocodile tears, saying that the City which is “me and you money” are
    looking for solutions… Eff me Rhonda, if that’s not grand, how come when a city owned ‘community hub’ broke the deed, aka W2Woodwards, they did not run looking for solutions trying to save it?
    Double standards?
    Add to that VIAwesome and Marcella Munro pish and the stone soup is complete.
    The whole village is out.

    Could it be because Solterra purchased a full table at last year Vision Vancouver fund raising?
    And now it is damage control, mitigation, effing adaptation time?
    You be the judge.

    In the end, here’s the thang, much ado about nothing, Solterra, if they are really smart, and after a short behind the doors convo with the savior Mayor and his band of merry Vision music-ants will grant them a generous relaxation/ heritage density transfer or the one time only 200 enclosed balconies codicil, they’ll think of something, so the building will be saved, the business use lease will be renewed for 99 years with an option to buy, just like a Hoot, of course tax free hush hush on the QT.

    For all of you courageous enough to articulate your own opinion, let’s be frank, take a walk in the area, but don’t take a Google Maps walk, take a real walk, disregard the chicken smell in the air, and the shitty buildings that are holding up thanks to coats of paint and lots of Duct tape, disregard the empty, dirty, parking lots and tell me… if that psychedelic interior designed pub would be still there in a month time, when exactly would you have mind to attend/ visit/ have brunch … ?
    My point exactly!

    I wouldn’t worry much.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0e10baH6cE

    The Vancouver “leadership” didn’t give a sheat on the Ridge, the Hollywood, the Rio, the Denman, the… (insert here)…if they could only find a way to give themselves a pay raise, hmm, that would be golden.
    Oh, wait…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 27 Glissando Remmy // Jan 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    A Dave 24
    Excellent comment. Bravo.

    PS.
    Frances, my post #22 was an accidental “Submit” button during … “furious” typing :-)

  • 28 Cheezwiz // Jan 11, 2013 at 1:27 am

    A Dave #24 & Glissando #27 excellent posts, both.

    I’m just thinking and jotting down all of the things that have been wiped out during Vision’s tenure:
    Pantages Theatre
    Ridge Theatre & Bowling Alley
    W2
    Maxine’s
    Hollywood Theatre
    Denman Theatre
    Granville 7 Theatres (leaving VIFF scrambling for venues)
    Vancouver Playhouse
    Little Mountain Social Housing

    Can anyone think of others I’m missing?

    ALMOST lost :
    Bloedel Conservatory – which was gifted in perpetuity to the people of Vancouver.

    Alienated Neighborhoods:
    West End,
    Mount Pleasant,
    Arbutus (loss of bowling alley – bless the senior citizens who trekked to City Hall to protest).
    Weren’t the people in Dunbar also freaking out about a high-rise development?

    Is there anyone left who has not been alienated by Vision? Aside from developers?

    I don’t know the particulars of what went on between the operators & owners of the Waldorf – for all we know, they still owe a ton of back rent, or perhaps they had already made good on it. But the force of the backlash shouldn’t surprise anyone – Vancouver is well on it’s way to becoming a sterile wasteland of half-empty condo towers, and this has been exacerbated by poor planning policy & short-term greed.

    In Vancouver, if a building has heritage and/or architectural significance, if it is a popular music venue, or theatre, or treasured multi-use space that draws in the community, it is essentially wearing a giant target sign. Expect it to be bulldozed.

    Cities that do not judiciously blend old with new and nurture a vibrant cultural environment will never be great.

  • 29 tf // Jan 11, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Go A Dave #24 go!

    The city’s cultural policy is – dress it up so it’s pretty, but forgets about the culture of homes, communities and low-income artists.

    The plan to incorporate community space in the redevelopment of Woodwards was designed to fail. Did anyone actually look at the details of the deal? Why do you think it was whittled down to only one community group willing to take on the risk? Because it was unrealistic to expect a community arts group to pay the fees required. W2 had high hopes that somehow the City would fulfill its commitment to community space but at the end of the day, the City isn’t there. And the City wasn’t there for the Pantages – and as A Dave points out – it’s there for the developers, but not for the community.

    Smoke and mirrors ~

  • 30 tf // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Here’s an article I just read on The Mainlander with some interesting information – “The story behind The Waldorf’s displacement from the Hastings Corridor”
    http://themainlander.com/2013/01/10/the-story-behind-the-waldorfs-displacement-from-the-hastings-corridor/
    Thanks Frances!

  • 31 Cheezwiz // Jan 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

    TF #31 interesting article – thanks!

  • 32 Raingurl // Jan 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Vancouver really lives up to its name of “Built on a barrel of booze” when you hear people are crying and signing petitions to keep this place open. Hey, if you can’t beat em, join em….I’m going to the Waldorf tonight for Happy Hour…..be there or be sober. haha.

  • 33 Bill Lee // Jan 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    @Cheezwiz // Jan 11, 2013 at 1:27 am #29
    “I’m just thinking and jotting down all of the things that have been wiped out during Vision’s tenure:…”

    What about all the housing demolitions going on for no good reason other than spec. (About 2000 a year?)
    Madame Bula has had several demolitions around her small Petit Trianon.

    We can talk about the Peter Wall deal of trading support for another sweet deal of the York Theatre remodelling on Commercial, rather than saving the better, more central Pantages (Avon) Theatre on Hastings and Main.
    That York Theatre will join the pushy ex-Chris Wooten “Vancouver East Cultural Centre” rebuilt from the foundations up a few years ago in semblance of a Methodist Church Hall for Heather Redfern (See Vision’s Jim Green association http://www.straight.com/news/why-vision-vancouver-needs-create-legend-around-jim-green) and her $500 a seat fundraising dinners which get no local support at all.

  • 34 Cheezwiz // Jan 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

    @Bill Lee #34
    Re: housing demolitions: you’re absolutely right! But it’s become so routine, it’s almost a given. The entire Cambie corridor will soon be a sea of condo towers, and sadly the area between 25th & 12th is one of last remaining pockets of affordable apartment rentals. Doubtful the folks at City Hall will try to do anything to preserve that.

  • 35 Frances Bula // Jan 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    @Cheezwiz. Sigh. Who cares about facts. Those apartments from 12th to 25th are protected by the current moratorium that prevents demolition/conversion of 1970s etc walk-ups without replacement. The remainder of Cambie is slated for six-story buildings, except at the nodes like 41st.

  • 36 Andrew Browne // Jan 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Things like this tend to happen when you don’t pay your rent. Shocker? Not really.

  • 37 Sandy Garossino // Jan 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Much to consider here.

    First of all, one doesn’t just “make” a Waldorf. Money can’t buy one, and brains can’t invent it. It took a terrific alchemy of talent, heart, money and acumen to create this venue that was not only popular but beloved in a stunningly short period of time.

    It’s my understanding that after a (completely predictable) rocky initial period of operations, the Waldorf hit its stride financially in the last 6 months, and the last quarter of 2012 was its best ever.

    That Waldorf Productions sank almost $1 m in tenant improvements (with huge impact on the owner’s property value) diminishes the “pay your rent or get out” argument to insignificance. In a 15 year lease situation commercial landlords expect to be forgiving or at least flexible from time to time. That comes with the territory.

    Interestingly, Solterra is BOTH a condo developer and a hotel/bar operator. Which makes taking over the Waldorf & the essentially vacant block surrounding it for development a perfect fit for their business model, and changes the complexion from my first assumption of a simple condo development play.

    In some respects the emerging plan of Solterra to take over the operations of the Waldorf itself is even worse–a form of vulture capitalism. I.e., exploiting the $1 million in tenant improvements and the massive goodwill accrued to the operation to anchor tremendous added value to the planned adjacent condo development.

    It’s not coincidental that the condo project kitty-corner to the Waldorf is name La Boheme.

    From Solterra’s perspective, the Waldorf is not a stand-alone operation, it integrates with the larger RE play.

    What Solterra appears not to appreciate is that there is no such thing as “buying the Waldorf.” The goodwill that adds millions to their bottom line on the adjacent proposed developments disappears when new management takes over.

    The best (by far) win-win here is for Solterra to accept that Waldorf Productions have the secret sauce and to come to some kind of arrangement with them. (Perhaps the union could be similarly induced in order to save the 60 or so part-time and full-time jobs on the line).

    If Solterra doesn’t do that, there will be no forgiveness from the community that gave heart and soul to this little venue. I predict that the artists and djs who made the Waldorf great will not darken its doorstep again, and will do everything in their power to ensure no one else does either.

    In East Van, that’s the kiss of death.

  • 38 Chris Keam // Jan 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    “Coincidentally, Tom Anselmi is the exact same name as the guy who did all the talking for MLSE when the fired Brian Burke yesterday.”

    And the same name of the former lead singer of Slow/Circle C.

  • 39 Stephanie // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    The problem, Sandy, is that it’s probable that Solterra doesn’t care much more about the people being displaced from this incarnation of the Waldorf than the current proprietors do about the people they displaced (“there was nothing here” “middle of nowhere” “just another dive bar”). That venue had heart and soul long before the current proprietors showed up.

    Frankly, this whole thing has broken my irony meter. A building that was a social space for working class East Van folks is renovated and “revitalized” by a trust-fund-enabled proprietor. “There was nothing here! We made this area! Look at all the development!” says the proprietor. The property is bought by developers. “How could this have happened?” says nearly everybody. “Screw you, gentrifiers!”

    Obviously Solterra has much more power here. But the Waldorf is not exactly the Red Gate, you know? This is a real loss, but I can’t say I have much sympathy for the principals. As always, it’s the artists who need a space who get the shaft.

  • 40 IanS // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    @Sandy Garossino #37:

    “That Waldorf Productions sank almost $1 m in tenant improvements (with huge impact on the owner’s property value) diminishes the “pay your rent or get out” argument to insignificance. ”

    How so? Wouldn’t that be a matter of agreement between the tenant and landlord (ie. the lease agreement)?

    “In a 15 year lease situation commercial landlords expect to be forgiving or at least flexible from time to time. That comes with the territory.”

    I’m not certain what your experience is with commercial leases, long term or otherwise. In my experience, in dealing with leases as legal counsel, landlords may or may not be “flexible” (by which, I assume, you mean agreeing to waive their legal rights under the lease), depending on the circumstances. Landlords are entitled to act in their best financial interests, subject to contractual obligations, of course.

    However, to the extent you are suggesting that there is some inherent obligation on the landlord to be “flexible”, I disagree. The obligations of the landlord and tenant are, typically, set out in the lease agreement.

    “In some respects the emerging plan of Solterra to take over the operations of the Waldorf itself is even worse–a form of vulture capitalism. I.e., exploiting the $1 million in tenant improvements and the massive goodwill accrued to the operation to anchor tremendous added value to the planned adjacent condo development.”

    Again, how so? By that reasoning, anyone who purchases a property or business hoping to realize a monetary gain is engaged in “vulture capitalism”. I can think of many types of activity which might accurately be described in such a fashion, such as foreclosure purchases, but this doesn’t seem to be that.

    (Further to that point, you seem to suggest that the tenants put $1 million in TIs into the property without obtaining any protection. Is that really the case? If so, it reflects some pretty poor business decisions)

    “If Solterra doesn’t do that, there will be no forgiveness from the community that gave heart and soul to this little venue. I predict that the artists and djs who made the Waldorf great will not darken its doorstep again, and will do everything in their power to ensure no one else does either.”

    Nice. I guess the real lesson here for landlords is to refrain from leasing theirproperties to enterprises such as Waldorf.

  • 41 Lindsay // Jan 11, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    @Chris Keam #38
    That’s because The Waldorf’s Tom Anselmi *is* the former lead singer of Slow/Circle C. (Sorry if you knew that; I can’t tell from your wording.

  • 42 Higgins // Jan 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Sandy #37
    Are you for real? You teh same want hoping to sit in council?
    So… in your own opinion as a former Taxi business owner, if I ask one of your drivers to take me to the airport, and by the time I am on the Oak street bridge I tell the driver, ‘you know what … I can’t pay you’, he’ll say to me ‘Don’t worry bud, my boss will call the mayor Gregor and, he’ll petition and he’ll shout out on your behalf and the taxpayers of Vancouver will cover the fare for you’ , am I reading this right Sandy? This is what I should be doing?
    As for Robertson, jumping from ship to ship and siding with the rent evaders, big surprise there, he fought a loosing battle himself when he skipped on paying on the Skytrain.
    All people created equal LOL!
    And btw, fwiw, I did not read anywhere, in any public release, that Solterra is going to tear down the Waldorf. Nada!
    Lots of hype from a bunch of bad businessmen with no sense for business or responsibility.
    In the end all the City Hall intervention will come down to making ammendemnets and gifting another rich punks with a corporate welfare check.
    I didn’t see those checks coming out for the already public amenities lost!
    This is what Robertson and Vision are all about, sponsoring private businesses (friends, sponsors) with public money!
    All while accepting donations and campaign contributions from the likes of… Solterra!
    Sweet!

  • 43 Chris Keam // Jan 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    @Lindsay

    I honestly believe this is one of the top ten best songs to ever come out of Vancouver.

  • 44 IanS // Jan 13, 2013 at 8:38 am

    @Chris Keam #43:

    Top ten? I would hope that “Real Thing” by the Pointed Sticks would appear somewhere on that list. (Off topic, I know, but still).

  • 45 Threadkiller // Jan 14, 2013 at 12:21 am

    @ Chris Keam & IanS:
    Even further off-topic: I dunno if it deserves to be in the top 10 (I’d have to include “Frustration” by The Painted Ship and “Fisherwoman” by the Collectors, myself), but the Payolas’ “China Boys” rings truer than ever these days. As does DOA’s “General Strike” (see you at the Rickshaw on the 18th for the final DOA gig!).

  • 46 Lindsay // Jan 14, 2013 at 7:25 am

    @Chris Keam #43:
    Totally agree. “Have Not Been The Same” is legendary. Slow was such a great band. Funny that Expo 86 marked the band’s demise and also the beginning/acceleration of Vancouver’s condomania.

  • 47 IanS // Jan 14, 2013 at 8:38 am

    @Threadkiller #45:

    Heh. I’d forgotten about the Payolas. China Boys was good and there was another great track from that album, “In a Place Like This”, IIRC. Great stuff.

    Heh.. I’m way too old these days for the Rickshaw.

  • 48 Stephanie // Jan 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    We’re all too old, Ian, but we’re going anyhow. How many DOA final shows have you been to? Collect the whole set! (And I’d also take Pointed Sticks over Slow, but “Out of Luck” over “The Real Thing”.)

  • 49 A Dave // Jan 15, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    If we’re going punk, well, they are actually from Victoria, but I think the NoMeansNo song “Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed” could be the theme song for this saga:

    It’s been said before but I’ll repeat it
    Don’t you feel like you’ve been cheated
    It’s been shoved down your throat
    You eat it
    They say it’s true
    You believe it

    Small parts isolated and destroyed
    See the big boys play with their toys
    There is one thing I will never do
    Trust you

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