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Robertson scrambles to get out in front of Waldorf Hotel mess, looking for things the city can do

January 11th, 2013 · 59 Comments

This just out from the city, along with a link here to the story Rod and I did for today’s Globe, which hinted this was coming.

Motion, report coming forward to protect Waldorf


Vancouver – Mayor Robertson has directed the City Manager to bring forward a report to the next Council meeting on protecting the Waldorf Hotel, and will be introducing a motion asking staff to meet with Waldorf Productions to discuss options for continuing an arts and culture venue in Vancouver, including options for continuing on site.


“The Waldorf is both a significant cultural amenity and a major neighbourhood asset, one that resonates with people of all ages throughout Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “To lose such a historic building would be a big blow, which is why we need to do what we can to protect it – we need to be building up Vancouver’s arts and culture. I want to ensure the Waldorf Hotel is protected and that we don’t lose a valuable live performance venue.”


The Mayor has asked the City Manager to prepare a report for this Tuesday’s council meeting that would protect the Waldorf Hotel and its heritage values, including plans to prevent any demolition of the building. The staff report will include:


·             Steps to prevent any Demolition Permit from being issued, in the event the owners were to seek one;

·             Preparing a Statement of Significance for the Waldorf Hotel, based on its cultural heritage, followed by a report back to Council on retention options.


The Mayor’s motion will also ask City staff to meet with Waldorf Productions to discuss their business plan and identify possibilities for continuing an arts and culture venue in Vancouver, including partnerships with other organizations. The motion will also ask staff to consult with the current and new landowners to see if any accommodations can be made to keep Waldorf Productions on site.


“It’s disappointing that Waldorf Productions is intending to stop operations – we need more cultural venues in Vancouver,” added the Mayor. “City Hall has done a big push in the past few years on increasing artist space, whether it was saving the York Theatre, offering city-owned buildings for lease to arts groups, or delivering over 20,000 square feet of new studio space in 2012. I’m hopeful we can find a new solution.”

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  • Stephanie

    @gman: Oh, what is this? “…Puharich and his former real-estate representative, Scott Primrose…”? Some old Lee Building tenants will know just how funny this is.

    It’s a small city, a small city indeed.

  • Claudia

    Maybe this event adds to the Mayor’s keen support for the Waldorf?

    Spouse has signed up with her date.

  • Joe Just Joe

    Looks like the solution to the problem is a 120day cooling off period while the city studies wether the Waldorf has any historic significance. The city seems to be much more cautious then it was when the news first broke.

    Anyone interested in seeing the riveting presentation by Penny it can be found here

  • Frank Ducote

    JJJ@53 – why did the City Manager give thta presentation? It sure looks like a planner did the work, so why not the delivery to Council? Again, where’s Waldo, er, Brian Jackson in all of this?

  • Thank you A Dave 23, 38, JJJ 41 and Frank 54 for your articulate description, clarifications, probes and questions with respect to the City’s role in this mess, particularly with resect to the workings of the Planning Department’s and it’s significant players policies and roles.

  • brilliant

    @Frank Ducote 54-Need yiu ask? It’s all political, bring out the big guns to defend the Waldorf. Don’t know where Ballem was during the Ridge debacle. It’s all in the protest photos from City Hall: Waldorf beautiful, young dewey eyed hipsters; Ridge icky old people who bowl and are likely NPA voters anyway.

  • Rick

    I really wish that the City would have coherent, well thought out policies and strategies in place instead of inventing ‘next moves’ on the back of napkins.

    SS – hear, hear, but when they swim with the sharks, they gonna sleep with the fishes.

  • InsiderDoug

    A Dave #38…

    I showed your comment to people who know what Rob Jenkins, Brent Toderian and heritage staff did to save the Heritage Bank from collapse over the last few years, and they laughed out loud – the words “this guy doesn’t have the foggiest clue” were spoken. But I love how other commentors after you thanked some random anonymous guy for his slanderous rant, just taking on faith anything he said. Such is life, in here with all us anonymous people.

    But from one to another, A Dave – you haven’t the foggiest clue.

  • Bill Lee

    More on food security above, when both Safeway and Overwaitea (Save-on, Overwaitea, Buy-Low) are rumoured to be for sale in the invasion of US Giants.

    And as both chains are consumers of land, wholesale warehouses and such, the consolidation with existing chains will narrow the choice of outlets by more than 30-60% as the buyers close formerly competing outlets.

    “These developments prompt analysts to suggest that U.S. grocer Safeway Inc. will sell its Canadian division, which racked up $6.7-billion (U.S.) in sales in 2011, primarily in the western provinces. With a strong presence in Vancouver, plenty of real estate, and a solid pharmacy business, it’s an attractive property.

    “Anyone would have to pay premium dollars – and then worry about whether it was worth it,” says Ed Strapagiel, a long-time Toronto retail consultant.

    Karen Short, who covers Safeway for BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.’s U.S. affiliate, suggested last month Safeway could fetch $5.5-billion (Canadian), or 10 times her estimate of the Canadian division’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). CIBC’s Perry Caicco believes the price would be $6.4-billion, or 13 times his EBITDA estimate. (Tip: Safeway’s entire market capitalization right now is just $5.5-billion [U.S.], suggesting U.S. investors either discount this possibility, or are woefully undervaluing the shares.)”
    …”Mr. Caicco (who declined to be interviewed) suggests a Safeway sale could then set off a series of subsequent deals. In his playbook, he analyzes a sale of B.C. grocer Overwaitea, a Metro/Jean Coutu merger and a Loblaw purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart at $61 per share.”