Issuu on Google+ THE VOICE OF VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOODS Local Motive 15 MIDWEEKEDITION WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 2013 Vol. 104 No. 7 • Established 1908 SPORTS: Soccer coach gets her due 16 Waldorf directors mayhaveto sellhomes CLUB DEBT WILL BECOME PERSONAL CHERYL ROSSI Staff writer T The former Plaza 500 Hotel, which many thought would stay a hotel, may soon become a rental apartment building. photo Dan Toulgoet Old Plaza 500 Hotel may turn into rental suites SANDRA THOMAS Staff writer T he former Plaza 500 Hotel and Convention Centre on West Broadway will likely be converted to rental apartments. In an email to the Courier, Nancy Eng, communications coordinator for the City of Vancouver, confirmed an application by development consultant Brook Pooni Associates to convert floors three to 17 into rental units has been approved by the city subject to conditions. If approved, the second floor will also be converted — from hotel use to office space. The iconic property, kitty corner to city hall, was home to the Plaza 500 for decades but closed several years ago. It was later announced the property would become part of the Indigo chain, operated by InterContinental Hotels Group, which also manages Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels. An Internet search of “Hotel Indigo Vancouver” resulted in dozens of mentions, including an “official description” on the popular website TripAdvisor submitted by “the hotel.” “Located in the heart of Cambie Village, one of Vancouver’s trendiest, fastest-growing neighbourhoods the hotel is steps away from the Canada Line and minutes from downtown Vancouver and the Vancouver International Airport… From the locally-inspired art to the oversized beds with plush bedding and spa-inspired showers, Hotel Indigo Vancouver is designed to reflect the local culture, character and geography of the surrounding area while the IHG brand hallmarks ensure consistent and reliable service…” the description reads in part. The TripAdvisor page also includes colourful photos of guest rooms, but an attempt to book a room led to a Hotel Indigo webpage offering the message “Page Not Found.” While there’s plenty of information readily available about the hotel online, attempting to speak to a real person about the property’s future is a different story. A phone message left for Francie Schulwolf, vice-president of corporate communications for InterContinental Hotels Group, wasn’t returned. Neither was a phone messages left for Alfredo Perdomo, listed as financial controller on the Plaza 500 Hotel website, or an email to corp. A phone call to the hotel was answered by a man who refused to answer any of the Courier’s questions and who also insisted there is “no head office.” “I’m just here doing paperwork,” he said. In response to a phone call from the Courier, an employee at Firefly Fine Wines and Ale located in the bottom of the empty hotel confirmed the owner is Azim Popat, but refused any further comment. The Courier attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach Popat by email and phone. A land title search completed through B.C. Assessment Online, states the $8.5 million property is owned by Yaletown-based Yorkson Investment Company Ltd., “attention Florence Chan.” An Internet search showed the address included on the report matched one for PFC Management, which shares the same phone number and where Chan answered the phone. Chan denied having any knowledge of the Plaza 500 property. The Courier was unable to reach Chuck Brooks of Brook Pooni Associates before press deadline. wo of the four people behind a bold but failed attempt to revive the Waldorf Hotel as a cultural hub may have to sell their homes. “May is an understatement,” said restaurateur Ernesto Gomez, who said Monday he and Waldorf Productions partner Thomas Anselmi face selling their homes to cover company debt. “I’m actually luckier than some of my partners because I do have Nuba, which is a solid business,” said Gomez, referring to the popular Vancouver restaurant chain. “But my partners are not as lucky as I am.” Anselmi said debt accumulated in the first year by the company was being paid out of profits on a payment plan. “So at this point, with no profit coming in, that debt will not be able to be serviced and some of it will become personal debt,” he said. The two directors of Waldorf Productions are repaying Canada Revenue Agency, a bank and a union, according to Gomez. Anselmi said neither of them was on the payroll of the company, which leased space from the Waldorf Hotel. Waldorf Productions was moving “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of equipment from the hotel Monday morning, including gear from music instrument and equipment dealer Long and McQuade. “It’s stuff that’s actually sort of threequarters paid off, so it’s kind of sad,” Anselmi said. Waldorf Productions announced Jan. 9 that it would vacate the Waldorf Hotel this month because the property is being sold to developer Solterra Group and the production company couldn’t operate on the offered week-to-week lease. See INVESTORS on page 4

Vancouver Courier January 23 2013

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