Vancouver's Waldorf Hotel to close
The Waldorf Hotel, an emerging cultural institution in East Vancouver, will be vacated by January 20, 2013. It will have lasted for three years in its current incarnation.
Vancouver residents will be completely unsurprised that the Waldorf will be replaced with a condo development.
The closing of the Waldorf touches on issues of economic diversity, consumer engagement, property owners' responsibilities to the community, and Vancouver's licensing laws.
The question is, even had the Waldorf been packed every night and rent wasn't an issue, would the landowner still have sold to a condo developer? I suspect that the answer is "yes".
Vancouver reacts to Waldorf closure news
Vancouverites are horrified, caught off guard by the Waldorf's announcement; which seemingly came out of nowhere. That the Waldorf would experience financial difficulties isn't exactly unimaginable, though: it's a destination, not readily served by foot traffic.
Still, why could no arrangement be reached? I can't wait to hear the full story, but so far the property owner is looking like the bad guy here.
Also, as a former resident/snob of New York City and London, I don't think that the closure of the Waldorf is setting Vancouver's cultural scene back... it's keeping that scene from developing properly in the first place.
This is a city that rewards developers who sell overpriced apartments, and prevents anything resembling economic diversity for after-dark establishments.
Vancouver is a large town, and this sort of business-side apathy toward local cultural endeavors will only hinder Vancouver's development into the world-class city it so clearly aspires to be.
Let's hear from other locals, though:
The Waldorf's fate may already be decided but how this city supports its artistic communities needs desperate attention. @mayorgregor
— Jody Glenham (@jodygthatsme) January 9, 2013
the waldorf in vancouver is closing for more condos. this is the kind of thing that makes people think this city is a cultural wasteland.
— torquilcampbell (@torquilcampbell) January 9, 2013
The Waldorf closing is a big loss to our growing creative community, they built a great culture hub
— Gregor Robertson (@MayorGregor) January 9, 2013
Sending love to all our friends at The Waldorf Hotel. RIP to our East Van neighbours <3 fb.me/17gpHONly
— Fortune crew (@FortuneSound) January 9, 2013
What's so galling about the Waldorf closure is that there're many vacant buildings or parking lots nearby that could be redeveloped instead.
— ♔ Nick Routley (@Phanyxx) January 9, 2013
— Vancouver Is Awesome (@VIAwesome) January 9, 2013
— Mike Usinger (@MikeUsinger) January 9, 2013
— Monika W-K (@pillowspeaks) January 9, 2013
damn the Waldorf got sold?! one of my fav things about one of my fav cities. sorry vancouver. you've still got sushi.
— ☆ YUNG ☯ SKEETER ☆ (@yungskeeter) January 9, 2013