The Stanley Hotel dates from 1906, and the New Fountain from 1899. Both have seen better days. They were briefly owned by Westbank, who bought them from the City Of Vancouver, and now appear to have been sold to BC Housing. They’re managed as single-room-occupancy hotels by PHS, who don’t have anything good to say about the buildings in their present state.
A scheme was submitted in 2016 to retain the facades and redevelop above and behind with 80 units of non-market shelter-rate housing and 134 units of market rental, all over street-level retail space. Designed by Henriquez Partners, it would have been an 11-storey building, funded by BC Housing through their Community Partnership Initiative. Now that project has been revised, and reduced in scale to only 62 market rental units.
An interesting twist is that Westbank proposed a 15,000 sq. foot cabaret in the basement that will be called Blood Alley, referencing the property’s back alley, a cobblestone and brick-tiled area that will be given a significant makeover in a separate City-led design process. The name is entirely the invention of 20th century marketing – there are no identified historical sources of blood in the immediate vicinity.
The project had a September date for the Development Permit Board, but the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee and the Vancouver Heritage Commission both rejected the project, and the revised proposal took over a year to emerge, but was approved in January 2018.