Condominium developer Solterra Group confirmed January 10 that it is buying the East Vancouver cultural hub Waldorf Hotel but denied that it plans to raze the 63-year-old building to construct multi-family housing.
"We have an open mind about the future of this site and we are studying all the options," Solterra CEO Gerry Nichele said in a statement.
"I can say that, at this point, we certainly have no intention of demolishing the Waldorf Hotel."
Outrage spread through social media January 9 after a consortium that leases the hotel, restaurant and iconic Tiki bar issued a release saying that they were forced into closing as of January 20, thereby laying off 60 employees.
Mayor Gregor Robertson was retweeted 128 times in the first two hours after he tweeted that "The Waldorf closing is a big loss to our growing creative community. They built a great culture hub." The #Waldorf hashtag was also the No. 1 trending hashtag in Vancouver on January 10 (see Storify highlights below).
Nichele said he intends to work with the city to explore "possible ways to retain and improve the hotel."
Another person at Solterra told Business in Vancouver that the contract to buy the Waldorf Hotel is binding, given that all subjects have been removed. The hotel is not likely to transfer ownership to Solterra until the end of 2013, however. That is why the real estate development company was caught off-guard January 9 by the leaseholders' press release and the public reaction.
The transaction to buy the Waldorf is part of Solterra buying the entire block.