British Columbia

Downtown Eastside hotel owners launch court action over expropriation of 2 properties

The Sahota family owns the Balmoral and Regent hotels, which last month council unanimously voted to take ownership over.

The family's lawyer filed a petition on Wednesday for judicial review in B.C. Supreme Court

The Sahota family owns the Balmoral and Regent hotels. Last month, Vancouver city council unanimously voted to take over the ownership of the two properties. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The owners of two Downtown Eastside properties are taking the City of Vancouver to court over its attempt to expropriate the properties for $1 each.

The legal challenge comes a month after city council voted unanimously to expropriate the Balmoral and Regent hotels from the owners — the Sahota family.

Their lawyer, Evan Cooke, filed a petition on Wednesday for judicial review in B.C. Supreme Court.

He says the city has overstepped its bounds and argues the expropriation bid exceeds the city's statutory authority.

The Sahotas have asked the city to let them sell the property for what they consider fair market value. Cooke has said the family has received offers as high as $25 million for the properties but have been unable to sell due to the expropriation claim. 

The two buildings once housed around 280 low-income residents but have sat empty since the city shut them down in 2017 and 2018 due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

With files from Justin Mcelroy

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