Published Jan 10, 2013Vancouver's arts and music scene took a massive punch to the gut yesterday (January 9) when Waldorf Productions announced they'll be wrapping up their just over two-year run at the Waldorf Hotel due to the land being sold to a real estate development company. Musicians and patrons haven't buckled from the sudden announcement of the impending January 20 closing date, though, and have taken to Twitter and online petition sites to vent their frustration.
"Wow Vancouver is so fucked if they shut down the Waldorf," Vancouver-born Grimes (aka Claire Boucher), who had previously DJ'ed at the venue, posted. "Fuck this city. You've destroyed nearly every piece of culture that you had."
Klezmer-influenced Vancouverite Geoff Berner reacted angrily to his hometown, tweeting, "With news that the Waldorf, one of the last great music venues, is being sold and demolished, it's undeniable: Vancouver, I hate you." He later sent some scathing words to Mayor Gregor Robertson — who himself tweeted his concern for the arts hub — noting, "Mayor Gregor Robertson: DO SOMETHING about protecting Vancouver from runaway condo development, or just shut up."
Robertson suggested, however, that "The City is exploring ways to support the Waldorf continuing as one of Vancouver's most unique + vibrant cultural spaces."
Electronic artist-turned-piano soundscaper Cameron Reed got all wiseguy about the situation. Referring to Vancouver's rep as "No Fun City," the Toronto-based but BC-bred musician delivered the Twitter quip, "Vancouver is REALLY good at being Vancouver sometimes."
Nardwuar the Human Serviette, meanwhile, weighed in by posting "This is really bad news," along with some footage of his band Thee Goblins backing up Blowfly in the Waldorf's cabaret.
Along with the artists' ire, patrons of the Waldorf have set up a petition hoping to save the building. "The loss of this cultural hub will greatly impact the Downtown Eastside," it reads. "With the recent loss of many cultural institutions to condo and commercial development, the City of Vancouver is quickly losing the arts, culture and creative vibe that once dominated the city."
Since the property is currently zoned for mixed-use commercial property, the petition is hoping to block a rezoning bid from new owners the Solterra Group of Companies. It is expected the East Vancouver lot will be turned into condos.
You can see or sign the petition, which has currently tallied over 4,500 signatures, over here.
UPDATE: Late today, Solterra CEO Gerry Nichele released a statement concerning the Waldorf. It reads, "Over the past 24 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. 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.
"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."