It looks like downtown Vancouver may be getting an injection of L.A.-style glitz.
A gleaming new “entertainment-focused urban resort,” roughly modelled after the L.A. Live complex around Los Angeles’ Staples Center, has been proposed for the area surrounding B.C. Place stadium, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.
Occupying several city blocks, the $535-million, 675,000-square-foot complex proposed by Paragon Gaming Corp. will feature two new hotels, conference space and stores and will be the new home of the Edgewater Casino, currently housed in the Plaza of Nations building.
The proposal comes in the wake of a failed bid by Paragon to open a mega-casino on the site in 2011. City council struck down that proposal, citing opposition to more gambling in downtown Vancouver. The new project skirts that objection by relocating the existing Edgewater Casino at its present size rather than introducing more casino space.
Artists renderings of the entertainment complex show a U-shaped wall of dark, mirrored glass towering above the southern end of Smithe Street. The distinctive design is intended to honour the existing mountain views and “evoke the natural mountain environment,” according to architects. Hotels rise on the corners, while B.C. Place nestles within part of the complex.
Nor would that be the only change coming to downtown’s stadium district. The owners of nearby Rogers Arena, the Aquilini Group, are already working on a three-building, $300 million project in the same area.
Whether the new Paragon proposal will meet with city council’s approval, however, remains to be seen. B.C. Pavilion Corp., owners of B.C. Place, are eager to begin leasing their lands in order to recoup the estimated $560 million spent on the stadium’s new roof. But opposition has already been voiced by Vancouver Not Vegas, the grassroots organization that helped snuff the previously proposed mega-casino.
If city council does approve the new plans (a ruling is not expected until early next year), construction may be finished as early as 2016.
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