VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver’s new hotel policy, which recently allowed a developer that was fined for illegally operating apartments as hotel rooms to get a hotel licence, could open the door for a new type of hotel.
It’s one that would see the building at 576 Seymour Street renovated as apartments but rented out as a hotel.
Mason Harrison works with a company that turns apartments into short-term rentals. He says Sonder, previously known as Flatbook, is applying for a hotel licence in conjunction with a developer called Coromandel, which is applying for a permit to renovate.
The Seymour Street building, which used to be office space, will become a mixed-use hotel with 36 apartment-style units.
Harrison says that will eventually help with Vancouver’s housing crisis.
“When we help a developer incentivize the creation of new supply, once our lease is up you are still left with fully habitable rental units that can go back into the supply,” he says.
Harrison adds he knows there’s a shortage of housing but says there’s also a shortage of hotel rooms. If Sonder were a traditional hotel, he says, the company wouldn’t be accused of exacerbating Vancouver’s housing crisis.
Harrison says the city has been a great partner in the process.