Managers of the Pacific Inn – home to a former hotel and now filming studio – are yet again finding a new purpose for the property known by many on the Semiahmoo Peninsula as the Pink Palace.
General manager Margarett Lange told Peace Arch News Wednesday (March 24) that there’s a plan in the works to use the Pacific Inn parking lot this summer for a weekend farmer’s market.
Lange said she’s yet to receive approval from the city, but the plan includes a 100-vendor market from May 1 to Oct. 10. The operation is to run Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s some flexibility, she added, as the market will be on private land as opposed to public land.
Last year, the hotel reinvented itself as the Pink Palace Film Studios. The 150-room hotel’s principal paying guests are B.C. film and television productions taking advantage of the high-ceiling building and its airplane hangar-sized atrium. Filming schedules will not conflict with market days, Lange said, as filming only takes place during the week.
While the intention is to have local vendors selling fresh produce and other items generally found in farmer’s markets, Lange said they’re also to incorporate vendors that offer items not found in the area.
“It’s not just your traditional farm market. We’re going to be inviting vendors from outside of the city, as well,” Lange said. “We will include items that are very difficult to find elsewhere.”
Lange said they’re in the process of connecting with vendors now, and she hopes to meet with the city soon to pitch the idea.
She said Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, which is located directly beside the palace, has been supportive of the proposal. She also noted that the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce has been of great assistance.
She said they currently have two plans in place, one with a focus on COVID-19 regulations and the other being a post-COVID plan.
“We will have a one-way thoroughfare for COVID reasons. The public parking will be around the side and back of the hotel,” she said, adding that the market will be situated in the front entrance parking lot of the hotel.
Lange said they’re looking to do things “a little bit differently” than traditional farm markets.
“Quite a few surprises, just adding some more fun and different events within the farm market. Every couple of weeks it’ll be something different so that it won’t be the same old farm market.”
Many of the plans, she added, are dependent on where the province is with COVID-19 health and safety regulations.
“I’m hoping COVID restrictions ease up more. We have so many ideas down the pipe but a lot of them are obviously pending COVID.”
In 2018, the hotel announced a $25-million redevelopment as a DoubleTree by Hilton.
The market will serve as an opportunity for hotel officials to keep the community up-to-date with the progress of that development.
“We want to share with the community, when they come and visit us, what our plans are for the future,” Lange said. “I know everybody’s wondering. So they’ll be able to join the farm market and we’ll be able to share what our journey is going to be for the next couple of years.”
The Pacific Inn, located at 1160 King George Blvd., was nicknamed ‘The Pink Palace’ by locals because of its unusual bright pink colour scheme.