01/10/2013 08:08 EST | Updated 03/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Waldorf Hotel Could Be Saved, Says Developer

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The condo developer that is set to take over the Waldorf Hotel site in East Vancouver says they are willing to work with the city to retain and even improve the hotel.

In recent years the hotel and its original Tiki lounge has become a trendy hang out in the city's arts and culture scene.

But on Wednesday the operating partners suddenly announced they were vacating the premises on Jan. 20 because the building had been sold to the Delta developer Solterra and they could not secure a new long-term lease.

On Thursday afternoon the CEO of Solterra, Gerry Nichele, released a statement intended to quell a flurry of rumours about the fate of the building.

"Over the past twenty-four hours there has been a considerable amount of discussion and speculation in the media and public about the future plans for property at the 1300 and 1400 block of East Hastings, which includes the Waldorf Hotel," said the statement.

“It will be a while before we take possession of the property, and right now the Puharich family is still responsible for the ongoing operations of the hotel," said Nichele.

"We have an open mind about the future of this site and we are studying all the options. I can say that at this point we certainly have no intention of demolishing the Waldorf Hotel. We want to work with the city to explore possible ways to retain and improve the hotel.”

The Puharich family, who remain the owners of the hotel refused to comment on any deal, but told CBC News after the current operators depart they plan to keep it open and it will be business as usual at the Waldorf, while they still own it.

But one of those departing operating partners, Danny Fazio of Waldorf Productions, says that will be next to impossible.

"I think the space is a backdrop. I think what was really interesting to people was the arts and culture and the kind of programming we were putting.

"If business as usual for him is going back to the way it was before, I wish him all the luck, but it will not be the same."

Still, Fazio says a big celebration is planned for the weekend of January 18th and 19th.

Closure points to bigger problems, says musician

Since the closure was announced, many in the city have said the loss of the multi-faceted cultural venue will leave a big hole in Vancouver's arts and culture scene.

The popular night spot includes its iconic Tiki bar, plus nightclub and performance spaces, restaurants, renovated hotel rooms and an art gallery, which have supported a large number of local musicians and artists.

David Vertesi, the bass player with local band Hey Ocean!, says it is just one more closure in a long list of cultural venues in the city.

"It's happened a number of times. We've seen Richard's on Richard's go away," said Vertesi.

"There has to be a bit of a strategy for culture in this city and in the province and it's not something I personally see."

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Photo gallery Waldorf Hotel, Vancouver See Gallery