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Hotel and condos could be part of plan to revitalize New Westminster’s Columbia Theatre

By Theresa McManus for Business in Vancouver

The owners of the Columbia Theatre are prepared to invest several hundred thousand dollars into a feasibility study to assess the possibility of building a hotel and residential tower above the heritage theatre.

Tricor Pacific Land and Redic Developments have submitted a pre-application review to the city regarding a proposal to build a 22-storey mixed-use residential and commercial development on the Columbia Theatre site at 530 Columbia St. In addition building a tower with 70 to 80 hotel units and 155 residential strata units, the proponent is proposing to retain and restore historic elements in the interior and exterior of the atmospheric-style theatre that opened in 1927.

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“We are working with a jewel that’s very dusty and has not been properly maintained,” Adel Bellemlih, Tricor’s founder and managing director, recently told the city’s land use and planning committee. “The whole idea was, let’s make this whole list of community benefits happen through the polishing and rejuvenation of this jewel, and let’s make people appreciate it and let’s make it become again the centrepiece of what used to be a bustling Columbia Street.”

The Columbia Theatre is “struggling to stay alive” in its current form, Bellimilih said, but the beauty of the vision being proposed is that it creates a “really interesting synergy” by having a theatre, restaurant, hotel and condos on the site.

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