In a startling turn of events, Vancouver City Council has denied the Trump Tower a liquor licence, prohibiting them from operating a bar or nightclub.
The development was planning to bring Las Vegas’ legendary Drais Nightclub to Vancouver in a move that recently irked nearby residents of Coal Harbour concerned about noise and disruption in their neighbourhood.
All councillors voted in favour of the first recommendation to allow the Trump Tower to operate a liquor-primary establishment as a lounge, but only three supported the second recommendation for a nightclub, including Councillors Meggs, Affleck, and De Genova. Councillor Louie and Mayor Robertson were absent from the meeting.
“As a resident downtown you learn to live with a lot of different kinds of sounds,” said councillor George Affleck in support of the recommendation to allow licences for both a lounge and a nightclub.
“I have the utmost confidence that they will actually be a good neighbour and a great addition to our city. I think their biggest challenge will be getting people to go there at all with the name ‘Trump’ on the building.”
Despite the ‘No’ vote, Trump Tower is able to resubmit an application with the option of being a food-primary establishment with a special occasion licence for events or minimize the seating capacity for a liquor-primary licence within a smaller setting.
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Approximately 3,000 to 3,500 people would be directly affected by this development, according to Director of Coal Harbour Residents Association, Alex von Kleist, who spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting. Surrounding residents, like von Kleist, were concerned with loud music and noise disruptions, smoking and littering around the building, drunk behaviour, and increased traffic in the area.
Trump Tower has been advertising the addition of a Drais Nightclub since early 2015, long before a licence application had been submitted.
As of Thursday, the building’s website was still promoting Drais as the city’s first pool bar and nightclub.
“Drais has reinvented the nightclub and this lavishly designed space will entertain the most coveted VIP parties and draw celebrated DJs from across the globe creating the preeminent entertainment venue in Vancouver,” the web page’s description read.
The nightclub would have accommodated 280 people inside and another 103 on an outdoor patio, with the hours extending to 2 a.m. on weekends. The seasonal patio would close at 11 p.m. nightly.
“Liquor establishments of this size and structure such as hotel lobby lounges and bars located within hotels, generally do not generate complaints or negative issues with the surrounding residents and business operators,” said the report from the deputy chief licence inspector. This nightclub, in particular, would have been located on the third floor and only accessible from inside the hotel, limiting the disruption to the outside street area.
Prior to the vote, the public was consulted with 3,687 notices mailed to area residents with 66 in total responding. Only two supported the plan for a nightclub on the tower’s third floor.
The unique feature of the Trump Tower nightclub was an indoor pool, which prior to 5 p.m. would be open and used for swimming and family use, after which it would convert to a nightclub. The pool floor would also be able to rise up and become a multi-use floor for dancing and other activities. Liquor would only be served when the pool was covered.