The Flint Hotel

The Flint Hotel at 1516 Powell Street is looking good with a recent fresh coat of paint and other repairs. It’s an interesting building on a narrow 33-foot lot with a four-storey form. It was built around 1905. This “hotel” is a hotel in name only; currently it provides approximately 90 units of non-profit housing.

The units are single occupancy, there are shared showers and toilets, kitchen spaces, some rooms are used for storage and administrative offices. The Flint Hotel is listed as an SRO in City’s 2015 Rooming Houses & Residential Hotels document.

This building goes from one street to the laneway on a long, narrow lot. It is sandwiched between a gas station on one side and two-storey industrial building on the other. There are a few others apartment buildings like this one in Vancouver such as 107 East Broadway (which extends north to East 8th Avenue). An open question: would the City allow building similar housing today? Or are these buildings simply relics from another era, classified as existing, non-conforming to current bylaws? Are there lessons to be learned here? And should we try to preserve other mature rental stock like this for the future?

There’s a little work still to be done on the renewal of the façade as there was a pediment above the entrance; this is currently exposed brick. The property is outlined in green in the following screenshot from VanMap. Note the context (two-storey building to east, no building directly adjacent to the west as it is a gas station lot, zoning is M-2 Industrial District).

From 1912 (VanMap Goad’s Atlas layer with current property lines):

3 thoughts on “The Flint Hotel

  1. Cov bylaws are concerned, certainly. But mre crucially, it is the cov building bylaw, which is based on the bc building code, which is based on the national building code. Hallway widths, stairways, ventilation, insulation, daylight, exiting, washrooms….all deficient to current code and nonconforming.

    But nonconforming status protection is a fundamental priciple in municipal regulation everywhere.

    If it was not, then building maintenance, and therefoe rentale tenure protection, would be imperilled, and along with it, the entire rental stock.

  2. What Adam said. That’s not to say that, in certain locations, COV may allow a building of this height and FSR to be built today. But it would have to conform to Vancouver Building Bylaw, which is tougher than BC Building Code, which in turn is more stringent than National Building Code.

  3. This is a grand looking building, and as long as the interior is clean, bright, warm and comfortable, it should be maintained. It’s just not acceptable to insist that every old building be torn down to make space for a more modern one. It impacts the landfills, the history and heritage of our city, and makes everything look and feel boring and unimaginative and potentially short-lived, as it seems we will always feel the need to “improve” on what has gone before. Congratulations for up-grading this grand old lady!

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