Balmoral, Regent hotel owners should be paid $1 for expropriation: city report
The Balmoral Hotel is seen in Vancouver on Monday, July 30, 2018.
VANCOUVER - A report before city council on the expropriation of two dilapidated hotels suggests Vancouver should pay the owners just $1, based on appraisals.
The report, published a week before council will discuss the subject, outlines staffers' recommendations following failed attempts to negotiate the purchase of the single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotels.
Staff suggests council should approve the expropriation of the Balmoral and Regent hotels.
Council is advised in the report to pay the owners $1 – a number apparently reached based on independent property appraisals obtained by the city. The dollar amount takes into account the costs needed to renovate the buildings, a news release from the city says.
It suggests paying the owner of the Regent Pub, located within the hotel, $1,000.
The report also recommends the city allocate $350,000 per building for security upgrades and patrols.
Council will be given the option to approve the expropriation of one or both hotels, or abandon the process to expropriate one or both.
The Balmoral Hotel was ordered closed in June 2017. The city's chief building officer said it was unsafe to live in. The Regent was closed the following June for similar reasons.
The city said previously that the Regent was closed after "decades of underinvestment and mismanagement" by the owner.
The hotel closures resulted in more than 300 of Vancouver's lowest income tenants needing new homes. Many were moved to two adjacent buildings purchased by the province and rented out at shelter rates or below the maximum $375 per month.
Regarding both hotels, the city said: "Despite years of enforcement efforts by the city and hundreds of bylaw violation charges presently before the courts, the owners have not made the basic investments necessary to maintain safety and an acceptable standard of living for tenants in these two buildings."
Since then, the owners have not made any substantial repairs and the buildings remain closed, the city said Thursday.
The city was authorized to begin the expropriation process by council in July 2018.
It made offers to buy both properties, but the city's negotiations were unsuccessful.
The city is permitted by bylaw or resolution of city council to expropriate real estate if it fails to come to an agreement with a property owner.
The report suggesting the hotels' expropriation will be before council Nov. 6.