Developer proposes 198-room hotel for former Plaza Hotel site

Developer proposes 198-room hotel for former Plaza Hotel site
The site of the former Plaza Hotel at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Government Street is shown. Feb. 8, 2024.

Almost five years after the Plaza Hotel was destroyed in a fire, a developer has come forward with a plan to build on the location.

In May 2019, the vacant Plaza Hotel caught fire, and the blaze continued for more than 24 hours.

READ PREVIOUS: Flames still visible more than 24 hours after blaze started that gutted Victoria Plaza Hotel

On Jan 29, 2024, Ocean Gate Developments submitted a proposal to build a 12-storey building, consisting of two storeys of commercial space with 10 storeys of a new hotel above, on the site at the corner of Pandora Avenue and Government Street.

The proposal, submitted to Victoria’s Community Association Land Use Committee for consideration, estimates the hotel will see 70,000 guests per year.

“The architecture is a contemporary interpretation of taller buildings from the Edwardian/classical revival period,” the proposal says. “Key design considerations are integration with the heritage street wall, having a scale and materiality that is compatible with the Old Town fabric, and activating the public realm.”

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An architect rendering of the plaza next to the proposed hotel on the corner of Government Street and Pandora Avenue. (Hapa Collaborative/OurCity Victoria)

In addition to the 12-storey building, the developer plans to build a public plaza with tactile and passive elements, including a misting feature, rest areas and a tree canopy.

“According to Tourism Victoria, the City attracts close to $1.4 billion in visitor spending in a typical year, with hotel revenues estimated at $250 million per year,” the proposal says.

“However recent events have impacted the local hotel industry’s ability to manage visitor demand. Over the past decade, nearly 1,200 purpose built hotel rooms in Victoria have been lost to either redevelopment or supportive housing conversion.”

Additionally, the proposal notes the recent provincial government ban on short-term rentals that will come into effect on May 1 will have an effect on the shortage of tourism accommodations.

The proposal also notes that 12 storeys would be necessary, as it estimates a mid-priced hotel would need around 200 rooms to be financially viable in Victoria.

Ocean Gate Developments originally held public consultation for the project in 2019, originally with the plan to build an 150-room hotel, according to the Times Colonist.

READ PREVIOUS FROM 2020: Missing Plaza Hotel caretaker suspected of starting fire, Victoria police say

Members of the public

A photo of the Plaza Hotel site in 2019 after the fire is shown. (CHEK News)

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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