52-storey Surrey development caps hotel building boom

Eight hotels are under construction and another 22 are planned across the province
The view from atop Surrey’s new 52-storey Civic Hotel | Photo: Chung Chow

The 52-storey Civic Hotel in central Surrey is the tallest, but far from the only, hotel under construction in the province as B.C. experiences the biggest hotel development boom in years.

The Civic Hotel, set on a plaza flanked by Surrey City Hall and the Surrey City Centre Public Library and just steps from the Surrey Central SkyTrain station, is one of Marriott International’s (Nasdaq:MAR) Autograph Collection of 50 luxury boutique hotels worldwide and is only its second Autograph hotel in Canada.

Last week, media and Surrey officials gathered as the diamond-shaped Civic Hotel sign was readied to hoist into place atop the third-highest building in the Lower Mainland.

“It is a historic occasion for the hotel, and the building and for Surrey,” Franklin Jackson, the hotel’s general manager, said July 26.

David Bowyer, project director for ITC Construction Group, said the building is 540 feet tall. It features 144 guest rooms and suites, a café, a restaurant, a conference floor with two ballrooms, more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop deck for private events.

The tower also includes 50,000 square feet of office space that was sold to Kwantlen Polytechnic University for a five-storey campus, and 349 condominiums, which are sold out.

“It was expected to be a stunning project,” said Carrie Russell, managing director of consulting and valuation for industry consultancy HVS, noting it is among more than 20 new hotels underway in the province this year.

“There are eight hotels under construction in B.C. with a total of 1,254 rooms,” Russell said. “There are another 12 or so in the final planning stages, with approximately 1,500 rooms, and another 10 in the early planning stages with approximately 700 rooms.”

Aside from the Civic, the 329-room Marriott Parq hotel and the 188-room Autograph Collection Douglas will anchor the Parq casino development in downtown Vancouver, which will open this fall.

Other new hotels include the 12-storey luxury Opus Hotel Versante in Richmond; Best Western properties in Merritt and Fort St. John; a Marriott hotel in Prince George; and the 85-room Ramada hotel in Revelstoke, which has just opened.

“We are getting a lot of calls about potential new developments,” Russell said. “I think we will see more new development, although it is still challenging for [Metro Vancouver] hotel developers to compete for sites with the residential condo players.”

According to HVS, Metro Vancouver posted Canada’s highest hotel occupancy rate, 67%, and the third-highest revenue per available room, $100.49, among major Canadian cities in the first quarter of this year. 

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