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Vancouver might be losing downtown five-star hotel

Last Updated May 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm PST

(Courtesy Google Maps)

Operators of the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Vancouver say they won't be renewing their lease in 2020

Hotel managers have indicated members of Unite Here Local 40 will be hired first if the Four Seasons moves

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A hotel that’s been a fixture at the corner of Howe and Georgia Streets for more than 40 years is set to close in less than two years.

The operators of the Four Seasons have confirmed their lease is not being renewed at the end of January 2020.

Landlords have also confirmed it will close, but Cadillac Fairview staff are not talking about “future development plans” for the luxury 306-room hotel.

Last October, the property manager took legal action against the Four Seasons based on claims the hotel needs major upgrades, but the chief negotiator with the union which represents 300 workers, Robert Demand, says that’s not true.

“We’re not a part of the wrangling that’s going on with this landlord, but any suggestion the Four Seasons is less than a five-star hotel is really ridiculous. This is one of the finest hotels anywhere in Canada. That’s the landlord posturing for lease negotiations.”

Demand adds hotel managers have already indicated members of Unite Here Local 40 will be hired first if the Four Season moves to a new location.

“If and when the Four Seasons were to close, there would be a pathway forward to any new Four Seasons in the Metro Vancouver area, so that this staff would be the first hired and keep the kind of standards they’ve been able to build up over years of working at the Four Seasons.”

He adds staff were informed during a meeting with employers on Tuesday.

Tourism Vancouver raises concerns

Meantime, the head of Tourism Vancouver admits he’s worried about the pending closure of the Four Seasons.

“We have been losing hotels for many, many years probably about 12 per cent of our hotel stock over the last 15 years, so that’s a problem because our visitors are growing,” says President Ty Speer. “That’s not where we want to be, so I think we’ve really got to now, re-double efforts with the city and re-double efforts with the private sector to figure out how we turn that around.”

He’s also hoping the Four Seasons moves to another location in the city.

“Obviously, the uncertainty’s not great, given the overall hotel situation, so we’ve got a real imbalance between hotel supplies shrinking and our visitor volumes growing. Of course, the Four Seasons is a great brand. I would love to see them find another location, so that a company of that stature and that quality stays in our city.”

Speer says the key thing is to keep looking ahead, to ensure growing demand for accomodations can be met.