Vancouver’s Cecil Hotel is demolished to be replaced by the Roston, a 23-storey tower

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

shedding assets: Brass artifact to be sold for charity at private party in strip-club showroom

Andy Ivens

The Cecil Hotel’s steamy contribution to Vancouver entertainment history will bump and grind to a halt this summer, when the building is demolished to make way for a new condo development. Les Bazso — PNG

When Vancouver’s Cecil Hotel is demolished later this year, a vestige of the strip club’s lively history will survive.

The brass pole used by a cavalcade of exotic dancers in their acts over the years will be auctioned off next week in what the developers of the condo project that will replace the Cecil have dubbed “The Last Dance.”

“We’re hoping [the pole] will bring in [a donation] in the thousands,” Will Lin, president of Rize Alliance Properties, told The Province on Wednesday.

Rize Alliance has booked the Cecil’s showroom for a private party Jan. 26 for the soiree.

“There will be entertainment, but in good taste,” Lin said of the party.

“I don’t think it will be quite as far as what they currently have.”

Proceeds of the auction will go to the St. James Community Service Society, which manages numerous supportivehousing initiatives around the city.

The showroom, operated by a different company, likely will shut down for good closer to the demolition date — set for July or August — said Lin.

Rize Alliane also owns the Yale Hotel, which will undergo an extreme makeover when the new 23-storey tower is completed.

The Yale, which first opened in 1889 as the Colonial Hotel, is on the city’s list of heritage buildings, but the Cecil is not.

Rize Alliance has committed to upgrading 43 singleroom accommodations (SRAs) in the Yale and handing them over free of charge to the city — a $3.8-million amenity — to make up for the loss of the 50 SRAs currently in the Cecil.

The Yale’s makeover will pay meticulous attention to preserving the architectural details of the Second Empire style that make it so special, such as the mansard roof and gabled dormers.

The 225-seat Yale pub, widely known as Vancouver’s “Home of the Blues,” will be renovated, but keep its current footprint.

“The current owner of the pub will come back and continue to operate it when the renovation is completed,” said Lin.

The new tower replacing the Cecil will be called the Rolston. It will have 187 units of market housing above two floors of commercial space fronting on Granville Street.

The Cecil’s 200-seat liquor licence will be retained for a new restaurant.

The Rolston will feature horizontal slabs that push in and out similar to a Jenga puzzle, accommodating large decks, according to the development permit’s description.

The Rolston also will pay homage to the rich history of the Cecil, including an interpretive plan recording the Cecil’s role in the formation of Greenpeace and the Georgia Straight.

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