Grande Beaufort Hotel plan a bust
Plans for a new commercial residential unit at the Beaufort Hotel are off, owner Paul Saroya said.
“I couldn’t get the financing. It’s not going to go. The bank wouldn’t go for it,” Saroya said.
Saroya’s plans for the property on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Angus Street included a six-storey building with 74 residential units that would have been geared towards seniors’ assisted living. There were plans for office and retail space as well.
Instead, Saroya said he plans to renovate the existing building by adding kitchens, sinks and fridges, as well as a small office or retail space. “I didn’t get financing for the other project so I’m going to renovate what I have,” Saroya said.
Financing for the new renovations has yet to be made. Once done, the reno should take approximately four months, he said.
Saroya applied to Port Alberni City Council two years ago for the rebuild and received a development permit. Last February, council granted him a one-year permit extension.
Saroya originally asked council for the extension on Jan. 9 so he could organize project financing. But council tabled the request pending Saroya’s tearing down the burned out building he owns across the street. The building has since been demolished.
News that Saroya isn’t going to proceed with his development caught Coun. Cindy Solda by surprise. “This is very disappointing but why am I not surprised?”
Solda and Wendy Kerr pressed for a six-month extension and voted no to a one year extension, which passed.
Solda said she feels sorry for tenants; in some cases the Beaufort represents the only place they can live.
“I really wanted to be proven wrong that the development shouldn’t have gone ahead for the their sake,” she said.
Solda said she intends to raise the issue with council but that their hands may be tied by the extension. “He’s got a year, which isn’t up, so there may be nothing we can do until then,” Solda said.
City planner Scott Smith said Saroya may or may not need a building permit to undertake his new plan.
“If you’re just changing out the flooring that doesn’t require a permit,” Smith said. “But if he’s doing extensive plumbing and electrical work, then building and fire codes apply and he needs to come in and be very specific.”
Beaufort tenants displaced by fire.