Pessimism clouds Richmond hotel plans
May. 28, 2012

City reduces projection for hotel growth, but developers remain skeptical that Richmond can support 15 new hotels within 20 years

Scrutiny of City of Richmond claims last month that developers will build 16 hotels with a total of 2,500 rooms in that city within 20 years reveals hopeful thinking.

The city has since revised those projections to 15 hotels with more than a total of 2,000 rooms.

Two hotels that Ampri Group plans to build have council approval and await development permits. Six of the proposed hotels rely on Jingon International Development Group following through with the largest co-ordinated real estate project ever to be attempted in Richmond.

All other projects, however, are in nascent stages and involve developers who do not want to discuss their projects.

Some of the city’s most prolific developers are skeptical that Richmond, which currently has 27 hotels with a total of 5,150 rooms, can support so much new accommodation.

“Originally we were going to put a hotel in our development [in the third phase of Aberdeen Centre], but I realized that with 16 hotels potentially coming up in Richmond there will be an oversupply,” Fairchild Group owner Thomas Fung told Business in Vancouver.

Home Run Developments Ltd. and Modern International Holdings Ltd. are still considering building hotels near Fung’s mall, between Cambie Road and Alderbridge Way, but no one from those companies was available for comment at press time.

IBI Group architect Bill Quan told BIV that Home Run’s owner is based in China but that the project is alive and seeking rezoning.

Others, however, said they believe Modern International’s plan for a nine-storey hotel along with retail and restaurant space is not being pursued.

North of Fung’s mall, between Cambie and Bridgeport roads, there are several proposals for hotels from owners who did not want to speak with BIV.

Yamazaki Enterprises Ltd. had discussed plans with Richmond for three hotels on land between 7760 and 7840 River Road, but the company recently sold the property to an offshore owner who has yet to file an application to build hotels. Yuanheng Seaside Developments and 0892691 B.C. Ltd. have also expressed interest in developing hotels between Cambie and Bridgeport roads, according to the City of Richmond.

North of Bridgeport Road there are proposed hotel projects. Jingon’s plan is by far the largest of these. The offshore group plans six hotels that include 900 units and are part of a development that also has:

  • 1.5 million square feet of retail and entertainment space;
  • 1.1 million square feet of office space;
  • a 450,000-square-foot convention centre; and
  • eight floating restaurants.

Other hotel projects north of Bridgeport Road include:

  • Hotel Versante Ltd.’s proposal for a 191-room hotel;
  • Canada Fei Cui International Industrial Group’s vision for a 150-room hotel; and
  • a 100-room hotel to be built by a local developer who did not want to be named

and is represented by Eric Law Architects Ltd.

Finally, there are the two Ampri Group hotels that council has approved.

“Our project was one of the earlier applications,” explained Ampri Group CEO Amit Sandhu. “Someone has to go there as a first mover to show that this will work.”

His vision for an initial 127-room hotel followed by a 167-room second hotel is to target a niche that he describes as being “no frills chic” – affordable hotels that provide large rooms and style, but that cut back on staff costs.

“It’s not necessary to have a concierge, a doorman, valet parking and all that stuff, so we’re stripping away some of those things,” Sandhu told BIV.

More savings would come from creating and building a new Bloom hotel brand that Sandhu aims to develop and eventually franchise. He expects that his hotel projects will get development permits by summer 2013. It would then take 18 months to build the first of what will eventually be three towers – the third being an office complex with 110,000 square feet.

Business In Vancouver

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