The Waldorf might be saved says developer

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The Waldorf Hotel

The condo developer, Solterra Group, that is about to take over the Waldorf Hotel in the cultural mecca of East Vancouver states that the company is willing to work with the city to retain and improve the hotel. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be saved as the great cultural asset that it is.

After the severe backlash to the pending closure of The Waldorf, the CEO of Solterra, Gerry Nichele, released this statement via Huffington Post.

“Over the past twenty-four hours there has been a considerable amount of discussion and speculation in the media and public about the future plans for property at the 1300 and 1400 block of East Hastings, which includes the Waldorf Hotel,” said the statement.

“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,” said Nichele.

“We have an open mind about the future of this site and we are studying all the options. I can say that at this point we certainly have no intention of demolishing the Waldorf Hotel. We want to work with the city to explore possible ways to retain and improve the hotel.”

The pending closure of The Waldorf is significant for many reasons. It’s just the latest in a long line of venues to meet the reaper in a city that is fast losing it’s cultural venues. Let’s face it, city hall can only do so much to save these places because city hall relies on developers to fill up their municipal coffers.

The time has come for the cultural community in the city to start thinking differently and develop sound business models to keep the venues alive and financially viable. They also have to start becoming owners of these sites. Easier said than done, I know. This city has been run by developers for a long time and that will not change. The simple fact is money talks. The city alone can’t do it and it’s up to the developers and artists to bridge the gap and start working together. This would be beneficial to the city as a whole. More condos, with no place to go, will further entrench this city’s no fun moniker.

A protest of hula skirt, lei-wearing patrons is planned for Tuesday before city hall meets. So if you’re interested in this I suggest you show. We’ll be there.

It’s not a done deal as The Waldorf operators will meet with city hall on Friday and if Solterra Group is willing to talk and present with an offer, the institution might stay open. Otherwise, Saturday Jan. 19 will be the last night for The Waldorf.

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