“Historic Chinatown SRO up for sale”

June, 16, 2016 – CKNW News AM980

may-wah-hotel

A historic hotel in Vancouver’s Chinatown is up for sale, and local housing advocates say they’re worried about what could happen to its residents.

Built in 1913, the “Royal Building,” also known as the May Wah Hotel now acts as an SRO.

King-Mong Chan with the Chinatown Concern Group says the community is worried the sale could displace many of the current residents.

“Seeing this on sale is very concerning. 120 units, a mix of Chinese and non-Chinese residents.”

”I’m actually worried to tell them that your building is on sale because it’s a lot for someone to handle. For younger folks dealing with work, it’s a lot of mental stress. And for seniors who are used to the environment, especially who have lived in that area for some time.”

Chan says he’s worried many of the current occupants will have a hard time finding somewhere else to live at a comparable price.

He says he’s looking for the city or province to step in and fill the gap.

“It is a resources issue, and I think the governments need to look to how to protect this affordable housing because the housing there is quite affordable and they have been able to keep the rent fairly low.”

The sale listing describes the four storey building at 262 E Pender St. as “a landmark building at the heart of world renowned Vancouver Chinatown,” adding “First time offered for sale in decades. Don’t miss this opportunity to own this historic building.”

It further lists the hotel as having 120 units.

The building is on Vancouver’s heritage register, and listed both as “significant” and protected under a legal heritage designation by the city.

Chan says the building is owned by The Shon Yee Benevolent Association, and he doesn’t understand why it would want to sell.

“It’s the largest SRO in Chinatown but it’s also an association owned building.”

The hotel is listed for $10-million.

The Shon Yee Benevolent Association could not be reached for comment.

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