Proposed development of the Ocean Beach Hotel has been postponed.

Proposed development of the Ocean Beach Hotel has been postponed.

Ocean Beach Hotel proposal postponed

Marine Drive property owner 'exploring all his options'

The Ocean Beach Hotel zoning amendment application is on hold – for now.

White Rock planning and development services director Paul Stanton confirmed Tuesday that hotel owner Tony Veltri and his architects, Ankenman Marchand, have asked for “a deferral to reconsider their proposal.”

Preliminary plans for redevelopment of the site, presented at a public-information meeting last month, included a two-building mixed residential-commercial project.

Residents up in arms over the city’s proposed CR-3 zoning bylaw have suggested it may have a significant impact on the direction of of the project, aimed at replacing the historic, but aging, hotel block.

White Rock council is scheduled to vote April 15 on the controversial new zoning bylaw, which could relax restrictions on development along the waterfront, including maxiumum heights, density and the requirement that retail space be included in the ground floor of all buildings.

But project architect Tim Ankenman told the Peace Arch News he still expects a lengthy process of determining what will be “financially feasible” for the hotel site.

Ankenman – also the architect for the contentious White Rock Muffler site redevelopment – said the well-attended  March 13 information meeting provided valuable feedback that suggested to him there is a public appetite for redevelopment of the hotel site.

“Most people feel the building has reached the end of its useful life and that something should be done on the site,” he said.

“What needs to be seen is if there is any taste at all for going over the height limit – which is not proposed, as yet.”

Veltri has owned the property for a long time, he noted.

“He’s not in a big hurry to do anything – he’s exploring all his options. Nothing is going to happen overnight.

“He’s trying to get a sense of what’s possible on the site, and if it makes financial sense for him to move forward.”

Ankenman acknowledged that the former cabaret-lounge portion of the hotel is currently being leased for a new business venture.

The Joseph Richard Group, operators of the Town Hall chain of suburban pubs, have announced the venue is being re-modelled for reopening as the Hemingway Public House.

Group principals Ryan Moreno and Andre Bourque have not returned calls about what impact Veltri’s zoning-amendment application would have on their plans.

Ankenman suggested any impact

“If it doesn’t make sense for the owner to move forward, the building will probably remain status quo, with the lease in place,” Ankenman said.