17-storey downtown Vancouver hotel to be converted into student dormitories

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1311 Howe St

Viva Suites on Howe and Drake streets, near the north end of the Granville Street Bridge, has been purchased by CIBT Education Group for conversion into student housing.

The 17-storey building will undergo a six-month-long renovation project to accommodate 230 dormitory beds upon opening later this year, just in time for fall 2015 enrolment.

Proponents say the $37-million acquisition and renovation project is being fuelled by pent-up demand. About 100,000 foreign students live in Metro Vancouver, which annually generates $1-billion in housing revenue and over $5-billion in tuition revenue for B.C.

With this project specifically, it is an ideal location for students given that it is within close proximity to 150 high schools, language schools, colleges and universities as well as the dining and entertainment options that come with living in downtown Vancouver.

The suites will be “luxuriously furnished” with granite floors and marble countertops, a full kitchen and laundry appliances, in addition to building amenities and services such as a fitness centre, electronic library, TV lounge, private tutoring, daily hot meals, weekend excursion activities, IT support, academic counselling and free shuttle bus service.

Rents will be set at about $1,000 per month with units ranging between 400 to 800 square feet in size.

CIBT also owns Sprott Shaw College, Ascenda School of Management, and numerous ESL businesses in China. Within the short term, according to CEO Toby Chu, CIBT aims to add one or two properties per quarter, including possible properties at Cambie and King Edward, Cambie and 60th, and a multi-building education and long-term hotel campus in Richmond.

viva suites 1
Image: Viva Suites

viva suites 2
Image: Viva Suites

 

Feature Image: Google Maps Streetview

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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