Vancouver Sun: Downtown hotel converting to housing for foreign students

February 2, 2015

Company has a dozen similar projects either planned or in development, CEO says

The Viva conversion project is just the first in an ambitious plan by the company to bring one to two properties on stream per quarter, primarily to rent to foreign students but also to provide housing for Canadian students and technology companies establishing development centres in Vancouver.

Founded in 1994, the “education management” company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and in the U.S. on the OTCQX International.

It has schools in China, the Philippines and the Middle East. It owns the well-established Sprott Shaw College, which offers diplomas to 7,000 domestic and international students annually. Included in its satellite companies is the Global Education Alliance that provides international student referral and related services to more than 100 public and private educational institutions in Canada and the U.S.

The company is set to open a rental building at Cambie and 60th and is eyeing a property at Cambie and King Edward as another possibility. It also is seeking to open an education hub in north Richmond, including a nine-storey office and school building, a 15-storey long-stay hotel and a six-level parkade and amenity building. Requiring a rezoning of property between Bridgeport Road and Sea Island Way, the project is mired in the planning department at Richmond city hall. Chu said he is targeting two other properties in Richmond because of its proximity to the airport and slightly cheaper land costs than in Vancouver.

The company has a target of bringing 5,000 beds onto the greater Vancouver market.

With the federal government increasing the foreign student quota from 250,000 to 450,000 within eight years, the demand will only grow, Chu said. Twitter:@yzacharias


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