British Columbia

Trump's '69-storey' Vancouver tower is only 63 storeys

The Trump International Hotel & Tower holding its grand opening today in downtown Vancouver isn't quite as tall as the company claims it is.

Company is counting below-ground areas including parking to get to 69 storeys, says publicist

The Trump International Hotel & Tower is on West Georgia in downtown Vancouver, across the street from the tallest building in the city — the Shangri-La hotel. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The Trump International Hotel & Tower, which held its grand opening today in downtown Vancouver, isn't as tall as the company claims in its marketing materials.

"The twisting $360-million tower ... is one of the tallest buildings in the city at 69 storeys high," a news release from Trump Hotels says.

However, the development permit issued by the city in May 2008 for the address says otherwise — the tower is only 63 storeys above ground.

The property's developer, Holborn, also described the tower as 63 storeys in multiple press releases featuring the Trump family in 2014. No one from Holborn responded to CBC's request for comment on Tuesday.

Trump Hotels' media contact for the Vancouver grand opening confirmed the building is only 63 storeys above ground.

The company is counting the below-ground floors, which are primarily parking, to get to the publicized count of 69, said Chantel Cassar of Talk Shop Media.

"Only in the Trump era can you have a debate about how many floors there are," said former Vancouver chief city planner Brent Toderian, who is now a planning consultant.

"It's extremely uncommon if not unprecedented to count below-grade floors. I've never heard that before."

The City of Vancouver's zoning and development bylaw stipulates, "a storey shall not include a basement or cellar."

The twisting tower, designed by Arthur Erickson, has 63 storeys, according to the developer and the City of Vancouver development permit. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Building skips floors to reach 69

Inside the Vancouver Trump Hotel, the upper penthouse is labelled as "Tower Floor 69," according to the building plan filed with the Land Title and Survey Authority of B.C.

The developer skipped floor 13, and each floor ending in four (4, 14, 24, and so on), following a practice that was not uncommon in Vancouver. The word four in Cantonese sounds like words and phrases involving death.

That numbering "had nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with Eastern and Western superstitions," said Chris Cryderman, president of Underhill & Underhill, the B.C. land surveyors on the residential part of the project.

"This has been common practice in Vancouver for quite a number of years," said Cryderman, who noted the city put an end to it in 2015.

The elevator for the hotel side of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver shows floors 4, 13, and 14 missing, a not-uncommon practice the city has cracked down on. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Trump Hotels is also claiming the Vancouver Trump hotel is the "first hotel to open in the city in over six years," which is not the case. For example, Hotel Blu on Robson Street opened in 2014.

Inflating the height of a building is not a new thing for the Trump Organization, or U.S. President Donald Trump, according to media reports in the U.S.

According to the New York Times, the Trump Tower in New York City is built to 58 floors — but marketed as 68.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver officially opened on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)