Victoria Plaza Hotel up for sale, redevelopment on hold

The Victoria Plaza Hotel was to have been re-imagined as a 106-unit mixed-use development, but nearly a year after receiving city approval, the only change to the site is a for sale sign tacked to an upper floor.

The 105-year-old hotel at the corner of Government Street and Pandora Avenue, has 65 rooms, and is the former home of Monty’s Showroom and Cabin 12 restaurant. It is on the market for just under $5.8 million.

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Though the real estate firm Brown Bros. calls the site a “rare opportunity to purchase an already re-zoned development site,” the sale calls into question what happens to the development plans that included residential units, retail spots and public space within the building’s 16,000 square foot footprint.

The sale of the hotel, which had been managed by Jairo Rincon and his wife Jenny Thio, and owned by the Vancouver-based Thio family since the late 1990s, seems to be tied to the troubles faced by the League group of companies.

League, which is under creditor protection as it tries to restructure, had planned to purchase the hotel and finance the redevelopment in partnership with GMC Projects.

According to GMC Projects’ Jordan Milne, his firm was hired to act as development manager for the project and get it through the zoning process. GMC is now one of League’s commercial creditors.

Milne said when League filed for protection they were unable to go forward with the purchase.

League’s chief executive John Parkinson said the Victoria Plaza Hotel was under a purchase agreement at one point, but the deal did not close as the seller could not deliver a clear title to League.

“The deposit of $680,000 remains in escrow, and we continue to pursue its return to us,” Parkinson said. He said he holds out hope that a sale would mean the redevelopment plans could go ahead.

Though it did approve the redevelopment of the site, Victoria council was split on the project with some concerns being raised that it lacked sensitivity to the building’s history.

GMC and League were to construct a six-storey building around a renovated and seismically upgraded four-storey hotel building.

While the historic Government Street facade was to be preserved, as much as 30 per cent of the building would have been demolished.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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