Earlier this week I wrote THIS piece in support of one of our partners over the years, the team who brought the Waldorf Hotel back to life.
In it I wrote about how Waldorf Productions had “worked their goddamned asses off for nearly three years after turning a seedy old has-been into a renewed cultural oasis for our city” then went on to share a few of the events and festivals that we’ve co-produced with them and partnered on. At the end of the piece I encouraged you to sign a petition letting the mayor know how you feel about this cultural hub in our city. Gregor was one of the first to express dismay over the closing as news hit, so in a way you were speaking to the choir, but Vancouver spoke up and let it be known that they won’t be giving up the Waldorf without a fight.
Sure it would be nice if the new owners didn’t tear down that old building (which many would like to see designated as heritage), but I think we all know that the only thing that made the Waldorf what it was over the past few years was the energy of the team at Waldorf Productions and the ability they had to bring communities together. Daniel Fazio, Thomas Anselmi and Enersto Gomez, and the team behind them, that is what made it a cultural hub. Without them the Waldorf itself would be, as I earlier stated, an old shithole. The City has recognized that and our Mayor is introducing a motion very shortly which will hopefully yield a positive outcome for the Waldorf, and for all of us really.
Below is the full statement from the Mayor’s Office, which can also be seen HERE. Chin up, Vancouver.
This photo I shot accompanied my article “The New Waldorf” published October 2010
FULL RELEASE FROM THE MAYOR’S OFFICE:
Mayor Robertson has directed the City Manager to bring forward a report to the next Council meeting on protecting the Waldorf Hotel, and will be introducing a motion asking staff to meet with Waldorf Productions to discuss options for continuing an arts and culture venue in Vancouver, including options for continuing on site.
“The Waldorf is both a significant cultural amenity and a major neighbourhood asset, one that resonates with people of all ages throughout Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “To lose such a historic building would be a big blow, which is why we need to do what we can to protect it – we need to be building up Vancouver’s arts and culture. I want to ensure the Waldorf Hotel is protected and that we don’t lose a valuable live performance venue.”
The Mayor has asked the City Manager to prepare a report for this Tuesday’s council meeting that would protect the Waldorf Hotel and its heritage values, including plans to prevent any demolition of the building. The staff report will include:
– Steps to prevent any Demolition Permit from being issued, in the event the owners were to seek one;
– Preparing a Statement of Significance for the Waldorf Hotel, based on its cultural heritage, followed by a report back to Council on retention options.
The Mayor’s motion will also ask City staff to meet with Waldorf Productions to discuss their business plan and identify possibilities for continuing an arts and culture venue in Vancouver, including partnerships with other organizations. The motion will also ask staff to consult with the current and new landowners to see if any accommodations can be made to keep Waldorf Productions on site.
“It’s disappointing that Waldorf Productions is intending to stop operations – we need more cultural venues in Vancouver,” added the Mayor. “City Hall has done a big push in the past few years on increasing artist space, whether it was saving the York Theatre, offering city-owned buildings for lease to arts groups, or delivering over 20,000 square feet of new studio space in 2012. I’m hopeful we can find a new solution.”