Waldorf Hotel

Requiem for a Dream

The news flowed furiously.

Jan. 9: Operators of East Hastings art/music venue the Waldorf announced they were closing up in 11 days; the building had been sold for a condo tower.
Jan. 10: Facing public outrage, Gregor Robertson vowed to support the venue, mourning “a big loss to Vancouver’s growing creative community.”
Jan. 11: Developer Solterra Group assured that demolition wasn’t in the cards. Online petition at 4100 names.
Jan 12: City manager promised report protecting hotel from the wrecker’s ball. Jan 14: Hundreds rallied: petition at 13,800.
Jan15:  “Something just snapped,” said advocate Sandy Garossino. “We were watching our Vancouver vanish in the face of condos.”
Jan 16:  At a city hall rally, burlesque dancer April O’Peel said, “So many venues seem to be closing down. It feels like we’re crashing and burning.” Earlier Council voted in a 120-day stay of demolition.
Jan.25:  Petition at 22,000. To come:  a heritage study, motion preserving cultural space. and (eventually) new tenants.

from Vancouver Magazine
March 2013

Why is the Waldorf Hotel important?

The Waldorf Hotel is being forced to close due to the unexpected sale to condo developers. The loss of this cultural hub will greatly impact the Downtown Eastside. With the recent loss of many cultural institutions to condo and commercial development, the City of Vancouver is quickly losing the arts, culture and creative vibe that once dominated the city. With the loss of the Waldorf, The Ridge, Richard’s on Richards, W2, to name a few, the city is losing its heart and soul to condo development.

Save the Waldorf
from change.org

Waldorf Hotel leaseholders to cease operations

The announcement that the Waldorf Hotel will cease operations has rocked Vancouver’s arts community. Since 2010, the hotel has been operating as a multi-use venue, hosting live music, readings, art installations, magazine launches and more.

from theVancouver Sun – Watch Video
January 09, 2013

The Waldorf Hotel in Pictures

Then and Now

Images from the Globe and Mail
January 10, 2013

Patrons lament closing of Waldorf Hotel after sale to condo developer

The closing of Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel – which went from working-class hangout to a key city arts hub two years ago – spawned an online memorial Wednesday over the city’s inability to preserve interesting cultural spaces in the face of rampant condo development

Frances Bula and Marsha Lederman
Globe and Mail,

Share your Waldorf Hotel memories

News that East Vancouver’s historic Waldorf Hotel will be closing on Jan. 20, to be replaced by a condo development, hit Vancouver culture lovers hard on Wednesday. Despite falling on hard times in step with the misfortunes of the nearby Downtown Eastside, the Waldorf has been praised for its live event space and tiki bar since re-opening in 2010. It was widely seen as a cultural hub for a revitalized East Vancouver.

What memories of the Waldorf Hotel will stay with you? The Globe and Mail wants to share these stories with your fellow readers

Mason Wright
The Globe and Mail

Reaction to the Closing of the Waldorf

Reaction online was swift, with Vancouverites, local businesses, members of the arts and music community and even Mayor Gregor Robertson lamenting the sudden loss of a cultural institution.

In the news release, Waldorf entertainment director Thomas Anselmi said the developer was “unwilling to sit down and discuss negotiating long-term lease possibilities, instead offering a week-to-week lease until September 13. The Waldorf could not move forward under those conditions, Mr. Anselmi said, “as our business requires commitments to artists, organizations and entertainers months in advance.” He added: “The irony that the Waldorf was taken over by a condo developer in the very area we helped reinvigorate is obvious to anyone.”

Many criticized the idea of tearing down the cherished institution to erect condos, particularly in an area seen by some to be gentrifying.

Mayor Robertson also issued a statement in support of the Waldorf, noting the hotel’s site is zoned for mixed-use commercial purposes – not residential development – meaning the city will have some say on its future:

“The Waldorf closing is a big loss to Vancouver’s growing creative community. They built a great culture hub, and it’s my hope that they’ll be able to re-launch and return in some form in the near future. Supporting Vancouver’s dynamic arts and culture sector is a top priority of our City Council, and the City is exploring ways to support the Waldorf continuing as one of Vancouver’s most unique and vibrant cultural spaces.”

Additional background from the Mayor’s Office

The site at 1489 East Hastings is currently zoned for mixed-use commercial purposes, not residential development. Any change in zoning would require extensive neighbourhood consultation and approval by City Council.

The hotel, which re-opened its doors on Oct. 31, 2010, not only attracted activities by a number of arts groups, along with appearances by some of the city’s leading arts figures like Douglas Coupland, Rodney Graham, Japandroids, Grimes and Black Mountain, but it appeared to spark a small explosion of condo development along that somewhat grim stretch of East Hastings.

 Andrea Woo
The Globe and Mail

Waldorf’s new owner has “no intention of demolishing” site

The condo development company that purchased East Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel says it has “no intention of demolishing the Waldorf Hotel.”

A press release issued Thursday afternoon by Solterra Group states, “we want to work with the City to explore possible ways to retain and improve the hotel.”

Gerry Nichele, CEO of Solterra Group, is quoted in the release, saying, “it will be a while before we take possession of the property and right now the Puharich family is still responsible for the ongoing operations of the hotel. We have an open mind about the future of this site and we are studying all the options.”

Vancouver Sun
January 10, 2013

Globe and Mail

Waldorf closing a gutting of arts scene
Marsha Lederman, January 11, 2013

Vancouver City Council to explore ways to save Waldorf Hotel
Rod Mickleburgh, January 14, 2013

Waldorf Productions warns new owners redevelopment of hotel site won’t be easy
Rod Mickleburgh, January 15, 2013

Final reluctant toast to Vancouver Waldorf
Rod Mickleburgh, January 15, 2013

Waldorf Hotel: When culture and condos clash, culture loses
Marsha Lederman, January 18, 2013
Vancouver builders follow the lure of culture
Kerry Gold, January 21, 2013

City wants to map cultural assets
Andrea Woo – January 23, 2013

Vancouver Sun

Vancouver orders heritage evaluation of Waldorf Hotel, places moratorium on demolition
Darah Hansen, January 15,2014

Is Waldorf Hotel, “the funniest place on earth” worth saving?
Mike Klassen, January 15, 2013

Saving the Waldorf:  First step in preserving city’s body and soul
Daphne Bramham, January 16, 2013

Saving the Waldorf not high priority for readers
Geoff Meggs, January 19, 2013

Vancouver Courier

Saving Waldorf could cost city
Glenn Korstrum, January 25, 2013

Georgia Straight

Waldorf woes a symptom of broader failure to protect Vancouver’s cultural venues
Charlie Smith, January 16, 2013