Archive for October, 2010

Reliance Properties Ltd. and Jim Pattison Developments Ltd. announce a $500-million mixed-use development called Burrard Gateway. At the corner of Drake & Burrard – Jim Pattison Toyota Location

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Burrard site may contain 510 strata units

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

A new development proposal would put three new towers—one 48 storeys—near the north end of the Burrard Bridge, a 36-storey condo building (355 feet) and a 13-storey office structure (184 feet). . Photograph by: submitted illustration, for Vancouver Courier

Jon Stovell, president of Reliance Properties, talked about the planned three-tower Burrard Gateway Tuesday at Jim Pattison’s Toyota dealership on Burrard Street. Photograph by: submitted, for Vancouver Courier

The city’s downtown skyline could be changing again now that two developers want to build a 466-foot tower–the same height as One Wall Centre–near the north end of the Burrard Bridge.

Reliance Properties Ltd. and Jim Pattison Developments Ltd. held a press conference Tuesday at Pattison’s Toyota dealership on Burrard Street to announce a $500-million mixed-use development called Burrard Gateway.

“The Burrard Gateway site will be a very prominent and stunning architectural statement on that skyline,” said Jon Stovell, president of Reliance Properties, which owns 14 of the 23 city lots that comprise the development. Pattison owns the other nine.

The 48-storey tower is the tallest of three proposed for the project, including a 36-storey condo building (355 feet) and a 13-storey office structure (184 feet). A seven-storey “podium” will be attached to the tower and feature up to 100,000 square feet of office space.

The development is spread over 23 city lots between Burrard and Hornby streets at Drake Street. It has the potential for 510 strata units and 79 or more market rental units, ranging from 600 to 1,400 square feet. Subsidized housing will not be part of the development.

Although the tower exceeds the city’s view corridor guidelines by about 100 feet, the city has identified the project as one of six downtown sites that could receive an exemption and allow a taller building.

This came after city council in January directed staff to report back on potential opportunities for higher buildings outside of view corridors, if they demonstrated “a new standard for green building design and recognizable architectural excellence.”

The proposed design of the complex aims to achieve LEED Gold status, with an emphasis on energy savings and the use of green roofs. A 5,200 square foot daycare, a community gallery, a large public courtyard and a car share program operated by Toyota are also part of the plans.

The Toyota dealership will remain on the site but will be significantly upgraded with a 50,000 square foot, three-storey glass “jewel box” showroom where Toyota vehicles can be viewed from the street.

If accepted by city council, the tower will obstruct views of residents living in neighbouring smaller towers. But Stovell said people who live downtown accept the cityscape is always changing.

“I think a lot of people understand that,” he said. “You’re buying in a city. There may be a view, there may be less of a view in the future.”

The proposal comes as the housing market remains flat. Sales remain slow at such landmark projects as the Olympic Village condo complex, built by Millennium Developments. Stovell wouldn’t say how much the units at Burrard Gateway would cost.

“Millennium is going to be a successful project–we’re going to see that quite soon,” he said. “That being said, this is the downtown core, it’s a very proven, very deep market and those units can be brought on in increments. So, no, we really don’t have that concern.”

The developers are in the early stages of seeing the proposal through the necessary channels at city hall, which includes filing a rezoning application, a public hearing and approval from city council.

The proposal would also have to be reviewed by an expert panel of architects, including two from outside the country–a common practice in the city for reviewing proposals for buildings that exceed 450 feet. Stovell anticipated the project could be built by 2014, if accepted by council.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Jim Pattison/Reliance Properties Burrard-Gateway Project

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Greg Mitchell

Burrard Gateway Development

Jim Pattison/Reliance Properties Burrard Gateway Development at Burrard and Drake to cost $500 million.

Three new high-rise towers are on the drawing board at Vancouver City Hall pending rezoning. Jim Pattison and Reliance Properties are planning a 774,000 square foot development on the corner of Burrard and Drake streets in Vancouver. The development will include two residential towers, 36 and 48 storeys high and a 13 storey office building.

The project is expected to take 4.5 years to build and will cost around half a billion dollars. The Vancouver developers are to exceed current height bylaws by 31 meters which would allow their tallest tower to top out at 142 meters. Their plan is to entice the city by including extra garden space, daycare facilities, adhering to green building standards and provision for a car share program. The project is to consist of 79 rental units, 510 strata condos and parking for 971 vehicles. (That is of course, assuming vehicles are still allowed downtown in 4.5 years time…)

The development plays into the City of Vancouver’s big-picture plan of higher density developments in the downtown core. According to Jon Stovel, President of Reliance Properties “The proposal marks the beginning of a rezoning process with city council and key stakeholders in developing an acceptable project.”

Vancouver’s tallest building is currently the Shangri-La Hotel at 1128 West Georgia Street which is 62 storeys and 201 meters tall.

Copyright © 2010 Valuabledirt


Residents voice laneway housing concerns at Vancouver city hall

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Lack of notification rankles some neighbours

Cheryl Rossi
Van. Courier

Peter Selnar, a member of the Dunbar Residents Association, says the city must do a better job of notifying neighbours of pending laneway housing. Photograph by: Dan Toulgoet, Vancouver Courier

Laneway housing kept residents, city staff and councillors at city hall until 11 p.m. last Thursday, Oct. 21.

“We think that, generally, things are working pretty well,” said Heike Roth, a senior planner with the city. “And we agree with the public that there is room for looking at some improvements.”

The key concerns of the 30 residents who addressed council were upper storey heights and the desire for notification, Roth said.

Roth said the city is considering making one-storey laneway homes more viable on standard lots, possibly through the extension of laneway homes several feet into backyards. The allowable overall building height could be reduced on larger lots through a reduction in unit size or enclosed parking or storage space.

But a staff report presented to council Oct. 21 didn’t include a recommendation about more notification for neighbours for laneway development applications. The lack of notice rankled residents including Peter Selnar, a member of the Dunbar Residents Association.

“It is ironic that in order for a property owner to build a deck or enclose a porch, neighbours are notified and their input is considered prior to issuing a building permit, yet a two-storey high building with far greater impact requires no such process,” Selnar told the city.

Council will consider recommendations by staff and the public at its regular council meeting Nov. 2.

The concept of laneway housing was part of the previous council’s EcoDensity initiative.

City council approved laneway housing in July 2009. A year later, 100 permits for laneway homes had been issued by the city. Forty of the 100 are located east of Main Street and 60 are located west of Main. As of last week, the city had approved 170 applications with another 40 under consideration.

Staff reported that homeowners and developers are spending at least $180,000 to add 500-square-foot laneway homes to residential properties across the city, and $125,000 or more when the whole lot is being redeveloped. Permit processing takes four to five weeks.

Of the first 100 laneway homes approved, 61 were part of a total site development, but staff say single-family home demolition and replacement hasn’t increased.

Rents for laneway homes range from $1,000 to $2,100 a month. The city won’t allow them to be strata titled. Laneway homes are meant to provide more options for renters and family members.

Sixty-seven of the 100 laneway homes are one-bedroom units, 28 are two-bedrooms and five are studios. They average 580 square feet, but range from 340 to 750 square feet, excluding garages and storage space. Lots with a laneway house must have at least one parking space onsite.

Eighty-three per cent of the laneway homes are one-and-a-half storeys high with traditional pitched roofs. They can be a maximum of 20 feet tall, or up to six feet taller than maximum permitted garage heights.

Selnar said the Dunbar association wants a moratorium on the construction of laneway units until further study and consultation with neighbourhood groups is completed. He also called for an independent review of laneway housing.

Instead of sweeping rezoning changes that allow laneway homes in most residential areas in the city, Selnar, a retiree who trained as an architect and worked in office interiors, says the association wants the city to take a neighbourhood-led approach to laneway housing so that the distinct character of each community will be maintained.

Staff would like to report back to council with an update one month after 150 units have received their final inspections.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Buyers powered as sales fall, prices stabilize

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010


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HST, GST, Home Buyers Plan Info + 18 other tips that every new Buyer should know about

Friday, October 15th, 2010


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Millennium owners want to sell condos at lower price

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Malek brothers need permission from city to sell below base rate

Cheryl Rossi
Van. Courier

Millennium Development Corporation and Rennie Marketing Systems hope “momentum pricing” at the Olympic Village will help Millennium get back on track paying off its loan from the city.

That could include asking the city to allow Rennie to sell some condos lower than the city’s base rates, as set out in their confidential loan agreement.

“We’re saying let’s sell a certain number of units… and even if we have to go a little bit below their release prices, we will gradually increase the prices as more people move in,” said Shahram Malek, director of Millennium, Oct. 7. “That also makes it more appealing for people to buy now, as opposed to waiting in the future.”

Malek and his brother Peter Malek, president of Millennium Development Corporation, gave rare interviews Oct. 7.

Millennium, developer of the Olympic Village, was $8 million short in repaying the $200 million that was due to the city at the end of August and roughly $350,000 short as of Oct. 7.

Malek believes the company will be able repay the $75 million due Jan. 3. He says the key will be the city approving the company’s pricing and incentive program as soon as possible.

“We are aware that there are many people waiting to buy sitting on the fence,” Malek said. “They’re waiting for this announcement to be made.”

As of Sept. 30, 454 of the 737 condos for sale in the Olympic Village remained unsold. Sixty per cent of Millennium’s 119 rental units were rented. The city was scrambling to figure out how it would fill its 252 units of proposed rental and subsidized housing after Rich Coleman, minister of housing and social development, rejected all three operating bids.

Bob Rennie, director of Bob Rennie Marketing Systems, hopes the city will sign off on a new pricing and incentives package within the next three weeks.

Bill Aujla, the city’s project manager for Southeast False Creek and the Olympic Village, couldn’t say Oct. 8 whether the new marketing plan would be approved by November. He said the city could complete its risk assessment of the plan, as a lender, as early as today (Oct. 13).

Last week, the city announced Millennium was $2 million behind on repaying its loan as of Sept. 20. The city wanted a loan repayment and a marketing plan. It is still waiting for the loan repayment plan.

As of Oct. 7, Millennium owes the city $562.7 million plus accrued interest and servicing fees.

Malek noted 85 per cent of the commercial space at the Olympic Village has been leased. A TD Canada Trust bank is to open there Oct. 18. Malek said Legacy Liquor Store will launch in November and London Drugs and Urban Fare are scheduled to open in the spring.

Millennium hopes to sell the remaining 454 Olympic Village condos within two-and-a-half years.

Millennium and Rennie are forging ahead with another condo development in West Vancouver north of Park Royal mall.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver September 2010 Stats

Friday, October 1st, 2010


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