Vancouver’s City Center Motel was sold and closed in November

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Developers have sniffed out the downtown site for decades, but the owner, Capital (Canada) Trading Company, kept the 1954 motel, which it bought for $ 2.8 million in September 1989.

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Lower Mount Pleasant is on the rise, with sparkling new condo towers and tech buildings sprouting up everywhere you look.

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But one of its main properties has been an outlier – the City Center Motor Hotel.

Located on a full block between East 5th and 6th at 2111 Main St., the modest, two-story 76-room building is one of Vancouver’s strangest landmarks because it’s so out of place in the modern city – a good motel marketed on a very expensive good.

The City Center Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, October 27, 2021.
The City Center Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, October 27, 2021. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

But the city center finally seems to be changing hands. Reception has confirmed that the motel will close in November.

A call to the motel manager was not returned, but real estate sources say the site has been sold to Nicola Wealth, a Vancouver real estate and asset management company that owns 180 properties in North America, including 40 in the Lower Mainland. The purchase price is unknown but estimated to be around $ 60 million.

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In an email, a spokesperson for Nicola Wealth said the company “is unable to confirm the purchase of 2111 Main at this time.”

Developers have sniffed out the downtown site for decades, but the owner, Capital (Canada) Trading Company, kept the 1954 motel, which it bought for $ 2.8 million in September 1989.

Motel rates are still relatively low – $ 100 per night on several online booking sites. The downtown area supplements its motel income by renting out the site as a filming location – TV series like Batwoman, Once Upon a Time, Charmed and iZombie were filmed there.

Still, the property is worth much more as a development site – its property assessment in 2021 is $ 36,958,000.

Oddly enough, the valuation is down 25% from 2019, when it was valued at $ 49,257,700. Property taxes for 2021 were $ 382,183.09, down from $ 389,906.29 in 2019. (BC Assessment did not respond to a question about why the downtown assessment was as much lowered.)

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The site is located in what the city calls the “Mount Pleasant Industrial Zone,” which has an IC-2 zoning. A city spokesperson said that under the existing zoning, new development could include ” manufacturing, storage, office, artist studio, retail (or) service. If a new owner wanted to change the zoning of the property, “ a mix of residential, office and retail uses is permitted, typically up to six storeys would be considered.

According to its website, Nicola Wealth manages $ 6.1 billion in assets, including more than $ 4 billion in real estate. Its real estate portfolio is diversified, including condos, industrial buildings, offices and retail businesses. The company has acquired $ 800 million in assets over the past 12 months.

Among its holdings is The Lightworks Building at 22 East 5th, located a block and a half west of the downtown site. The six-story, 54,350-square-foot office features ground-floor retailing built behind a 1940s art deco facade.

Nicola Wealth owns two other buildings in Lower Mount Pleasant, the 25,207 square foot four-story office / industrial flex building at 5th and Columbia and the 72,641 square foot two-story Nickel office building at 285 West 5th.

The immediate neighbor of the downtown site to the north is Main Alley, a 683,000 square foot five-building “collaborative campus” developed over four city blocks by Westbank.

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