City Council has voted to redevelop the 2400 Motel – Kingsway’s iconic landmark – is demolition inevitable or can we retain some of the site’s character within a new development?
What is the threat to the 2400 Motel?
In November 2010 Vancouver Council approved the Norquay Neighbourhood Centre Plan, including a vision for the City-owned 2400 Motel site, located where Kingsway Avenue meets Slocan Street, East 33rd Avenue and Nanaimo Street.
The 2400 is slated for redevelopment into a medium density centre of shops, services and community spaces after a public process to rezone the land, but proposals are not required to keep any feature of the historic Motel site.
The City of Vancouver Heritage Group commissioned a study on the 2400 Motel in 2007, which describes its heritage value and significant features such as the white stucco bungalows closest to Kingsway, the landscaping that surrounds them and the iconic ‘2400’ neon sign.
While heritage was as an important consideration in consultation with Heritage Vancouver and other local groups for the Norquay Plan, conservation of the 2400 is missing from the approved vision. We continue to have serious concerns about the future of this unique historic place.
Why is the 2400 Motel significant?
The 2400 Motel, built in 1946, is simply the best of the postwar Kingsway auto-courts.
Ten years earlier, completion of the Patullo Bridge and King George Highway had made Kingsway the final leg in a modern highway system linking Vancouver to the United States. When the late 1940s and 50s ushered in an age of unprecedented mobility, auto-courts sprung up across North America to capture the market for highway-oriented accommodation.
Typical of the early motels, the 2400 was built as a cluster of cottages on a lawn around a central office, with a freestanding roadside neon sign to attract passing motorists. An early example of the trend to modernism, the motel’s Streamline Moderne design — most notable in its flat-roofed office building — evokes the post-war world of speed and personal mobility.
Heritage Vancouver’s Position
The 2400 Motel has been scrupulously maintained over the years and is virtually unchanged. It is the last, best remnant of how Kingsway developed during the postwar era, and a unique example of auto-oriented heritage that is fast disappearing.
While the residents of Norquay have expressed a strong desire for shops, services and community spaces on the site, a creative approach to its intensification could achieve the Plan vision, while keeping meaningful remnants of the auto-oriented past for all of Vancouver’s citizens.
October 8, 2020
Vancouver Council has approved $30 million to assist in buying and leasing hotels and buildings for the homeless, and also directed staff to use the 2400 Motel for “Temporary pandemic shelters”, currently a relief site for unsheltered Vancouver residents.
Our letter to the City of Vancouver (PDF)
April 25, 2006
2400 Motel website
2400 Motel Statement of Significance (January 2007)
By Birmingham & Wood
They say the neon lights are bright on Kingsway (JPG, 1.9Mb)
Robert Sarti; Vancouver Sun; July 11, 1994
Protection sought for 2400 Motel by heritage group (JPG, 709k)
John Bermingham; The Province; August 6, 2006
Best of Vancouver: Kensington-Cedar Cottage
Anne Roberts; Georgia Straight; September 19, 2007
Norquay Village development threatens Vancouver’s 2400 Motel
Carlito Pablo; Georgia Straight; August 25, 2010
How an iconic Kingsway motel became a temporary Syrian community
Mike Howell; Vancouver Courier; February 24, 2016
Vancouver council commits $30 million to fight homelessness
City to buy, lease hotels, open shelters, move homeless people into 2400 Motel
Mike Howell; Vancouver is Awesome; October 9, 2020