A pair of dilapidated single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside at the centre of a legal dispute are now city property.
In a Friday media release, the city said it had reached a settlement with the owners of the Balmoral and Regent hotels to expropriate the properties.
The buildings will now be transformed into social housing.
The hotels were evacuated in 2017 and 2018 for “life safety” reasons, after years of citations and bylaw infractions relating to what was described as “disgusting” living conditions.
Vancouver city council voted to expropriate the two hotels in November, 2019 for $1 each, but the Sahota family, which owned the buildings, took the city to court last December seeking a judicial review.
The value of the settlement, which has been approved by council, is not being revealed.
But the city says it was necessary to “mitigate the financial risk” of the legal challenge.
Starting in 2021, BC Housing will begin a community engagement process with the neighbourhood on the future of the buildings.
Over the course of the Sahotas’ ownership, the city had documented hundreds of bylaw violations along with deplorable living conditions.
The Sahotas eventually agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and make a $20,000 donation to the Union Gospel Mission and a $5,000 donation to EMBERS Eastside Works.