Victoria lost about 1,000 hotel rooms over last 4 years, realtor says
Several hotels have converted to residences; 189-room Harbour Towers in James Bay could join them
A number of Victoria hotels have been, or are in the process of being converted into residences over the last four years and that's leaving tourists with a dwindling supply of beds.
Randy Holt, a commercial real estate agent and partner at Newmark Knight Frank Devencore Victoria, says high occupancy rates and prices could come as a shock to some visitors.
Since 2012, the Queen Victoria, Travellers Inn and Dominion Hotel have been in various stages of conversion into residential housing, to name only some. Now, the 189-room Harbour Towers in James Bay could join them as owners have just applied for rezoning.
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"There's been more than a dozen properties converted and the Harbour Towers would probably bring the total number of hotel rooms taken out of supply to close to 1,000," Holt told All Points West host Robyn Burns.
"There's no question [tourists] are going to pay more than they ever have here. We've seen room rates increase over the last four years by more than a third."
Holt says the mass conversion of hotels into residential properties came about because of the Great Recession of 2008. From then until 2013, many hotels saw extremely slow business, which caused some owners to get out of the business shortly thereafter.
Another more recent cause is the tight rental market in Victoria, which is leading some owners to see greater profit in residential housing.
Holt also says the shortage may become its own solution: high prices and demand may encourage other hoteliers to start new businesses in Victoria.
With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West
To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Victoria lost about 1,000 hotel rooms over last 4 years, realtor says