Complex to add hotel towers to Bridgeport

The proposed $100-million Ampri International Gateway Centre, as seen from Bridgeport Road. - artist rendering from IBI Group, courtesy, the City of Richmond
The proposed $100-million Ampri International Gateway Centre, as seen from Bridgeport Road.
— image credit: artist rendering from IBI Group, courtesy, the City of Richmond

City council has approved a $100-million hotel and office tower complex in North Richmond.

Ampar Ventures Ltd. plans to build one nine-storey hotel with 122 rooms, another 11-storey hotel with 167 rooms and a 12-storey office tower near the Oak Street Bridge.

All three towers will be built on a site sandwiched between Bridgeport Road, Beckwith Road, the Highway 99 viaduct and Airport Gateway Plaza.

According to planner Brian Guzzi, the development "will serve as an important catalyst to encourage light-industrial development in the Bridgeport Village as well as continue to improve the visual interest and variety of architectural design in the surrounding area."

Civic politicians gave the project third reading at a public hearing Dec. 20, at which council fielded no delegations.

In an earlier news release, Amit Sandhu, CEO of the Ampri Group of Companies, which owns Ampar Ventures, said he aims for the project to attract global businesses looking to establish offices near key transportation links.

"What we're proposing here looks past current economic conditions such as the soft office market and state of the hospitality industry," said Sandhu.

Sandhu said he aims to begin marketing office space to potential tenants in the "coming months," and construction of the first hotel could start in late 2012.

The new accommodations will boost Richmond's fast-growing hotel inventory, which now stands at 27.

This fall, the 193-room The Hotel opened at River Rock Casino Resort, and in 2010, the Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Hotel opened with 180 rooms in North Richmond.

Other hotels are in various planning stages. Home Run Developments Ltd. is planning a 101-room hotel at 8540 Alexandra Rd., Dynasty Hotels Inc. has proposed a 191-room hotel at 8451 Bridgeport Rd. and Vancouver International Airport Authority has preliminary plans to build a 250-room hotel and business park on Sea Island.

While the airport keeps the hospitality business brisk, there is little current demand for office space in Richmond, which has the highest vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver.

According to the most recent figures from Avison Young, 23.9 per cent of Richmond's office space is empty, compared to the region's average of 7.6 per cent.

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