On Monday, Burnaby City Council voiced strong support for a request by Thind Properties to convert 10 floors within its Highline Metrotown tower from its previously planned office use into hotel use.

Highline Metrotown sits at 6505 Sussex Avenue, at the intersection with Beresford Street right next to Metrotown Station and across the street from the Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre. The project was first proposed years ago, receiving final approval in October 2018. Initial plans called for a 48-storey high-rise with 38 storeys of strata condominiums atop a 10-storey commercial podium for office use, as well as retail space on the ground floor.

When the project was first introduced to the City, Thind Properties had considered hotel use for the 10-storey podium, but eventually settled on the offices. In October 2023, Thind then submitted a new rezoning application seeking to allow for hotel use, going back to their original plans. The move is strictly a change of use and involves no new floor area being created.

The move is likely reflective of the current commercial real estate market, where the office segment has been defined by uncertainty and hotel development is en vogue.

Construction on Highline Metrotown already completed in Fall 2023, so the new hotel space will likely be entering the market relatively quickly, although it will still require a bit of construction in order to consolidate the retail space into hotel use.

"To achieve a generously sized hotel lobby, two of the three existing ground-level retail units are proposed to be consolidated with the existing commercial lobby to create one large space with the opportunity for a hotel lounge, concierge, business centre, and liquor primary lobby bar establishment," according to City staff report. "The remaining commercial retail unit, at the corner of Beresford and the lane, is proposed to be a liquor primary pub or food primary restaurant which can work in partnership with the hotel operator to provide food and liquor services to hotel guests and patrons."

Staff note, however, that if the remaining commercial retail unit does come to be, the City is comfortable with the space being used as an expanded common area for the hotel.

Highline Metrotown's commercial podium on February 25, 2024.Highline Metrotown's commercial podium on February 25, 2024.(Howard Chai)

Additionally, six parking stalls will be removed in order to make space for hotel utility needs, such as laundry spaces and linen storage spaces. According to City staff, hotel guests will also have access to a fitness centre and outdoor roof deck on level five, which was previously intended as amenity space for office employees.

A hotel operator has yet to be identified, although the staff report alludes to "conversations" with a prospective operator having taken place, but the new hotel will house a total of 159 rooms. The residential component above consists of 336 strata units, some of which are still available for purchase and are move-in ready according to Thind's website.

On Monday, multiple councillors voiced their support of the pivot from office to hotel use.

"I just want to say that I'm pleased to see that there is this application to create hotel space in the Metrotown area," said Councillor Pietro Calendino. "I think it's something that Burnaby needs."

"I think this is exactly what we need," added Mayor Mike Hurley.

The rezoning application will not be subject to a public hearing and will instead be considered at a future council meeting.

Development Projects