The Granville Bridge was replaced in 1954 for the second time, (so the third bridge) and the new on and off ramps carved through a neighbourhood of small businesses and houses which dated back to the city’s rapid expansion in the early years of the twentieth century. The area didn’t immediately change and the first investments were a new Travelodge on the east side and then in 1970 a new 4-storey hotel, the Villa Inn Motor Hotel, built on Howe Street right at the point that the street became the on-ramp for the bridge.
It’s an odd location in some ways – it catches passing traffic leaving the Downtown peninsula! The design (possibly by D Hamer – although we haven’t found anything else to confirm this) features a barrel vault design that would have looked good near an airport. The hotel was obviously successful enough for the owners to want to add three more floors. The application was made by Netupsky Engineering – presumably because most of the issues associated with altering the structure in such a radical way were engineering considerations.
The barrel vaults disappeared in the expansion, and about a decade later the hotel (which these days is the Quality Inn, having been the Inn at False Creek in the meantime) is bookended by a hotel tower at one end and a mixed use tower at the other. Although in theory the top floor was intended to be residential, in practice it’s all hotel.