Archive for May, 2012

A look Inside Meccanica 108 East 1st Avenue

Thursday, May 31st, 2012


Since opening this spring, Meccanica has seen tremendous success in the Southeast False Creek community. The Cressey brand name which has become synonymous with superior design and quality construction of course plays an important role as does this brand new, extraordinary, transportation oriented community but really, the true success of Meccanica has come from the design.

We get people everyday who are extremely excited about the level of design that we offer at Meccanica that they just don’t get elsewhere.” says Hani Lammam, Vice President of Development and Acquisitions at Cressey Development Group.” We spent a great deal of time with our architect and interior design team to go over every detail of every home to ensure maximum utility and storage with clean contemporary lines for a truly unique feel.”

The Cressey Kitchen philosophy embraces thoughtful design where every millimeter counts. “Our walk-through style kitchen allows for a Chef’s wall making the kitchen much larger than in other typical condos and gives your home a high-end and custom built-in look” reports Lammam. “Our appliances are integrated to keep things clean and sleek and of course we have included all of the bells and whistles our buyers have come to expect from us with clever storage details throughout, stone countertops and backsplashes, under cabinet lighting, soft-close details, high-end appliances, gorgeous fixtures – and that’s just in the kitchen.” Meccanica also includes air conditioning, a custom entertainment built-in, extra ceiling height, and a custom large aluminum sliding door. What’s even more unique are some of the customizing features including 6 cabinet colour options to choose from as well as a host of other items to personalize each home.

Meccanica is named after Intermeccanica, a master replica-Porsche builder who has operated on the same site for over 30 years. “As Intermeccanica and the Porsche brands are all about high design, we felt it only right to assume this same philosophy when designing Meccanica. Ultimately, we are very pleased with the outcome and buyers have told us how excited they are to buy into a new community with this level of design, at this affordable a price in this extraordinary Southeast False Creek location.” Lammam explains.

Esther Tien Chan, a Vancouver real estate agent adds that her buyers tend to gravitate to modern, well-serviced developments built around transport links.

“Today’s buyer is looking for high-end, modern projects in close proximity to major transportation routes and amenities – it’s what they’re accustomed to,” says Tien. Meccanica offered the perfect fit for her sophisticated buyers who saw longterm value whether planning to live at Meccanica or renting it out.

The Meccanica Showroom is open everyday from 12-5pm except Fridays at 104 E 1st Avenue, Vancouver at Quebec. Call 604.876.8819 or visit for more information. Homes from $389,900.


The Cottages at Cultus Lake

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Cottage living as it was meant to be


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Powell Street overpass proposal will level buildings, raise street

Friday, May 25th, 2012

$50 million project would add pedestrian paths and bike lane

Micki Cowan
Van. Courier

The proposed overpass for Powell Street will cost $50 million and lead to the demolition of numerous buildings, including a heritage building in one of the oldest parts of Vancouver.

The subject of public consultations through a series of open houses, the overpass project seeks to move Powell Street approximately 20 metres to the south between Hawks Avenue and Clark Drive. The street would be raised as much as 10 to 11 metres in some sections to pass over a rail line that runs up from the south.

“We’re trying to improve the east-west corridor, but at the same time we’re also going over another rail line that comes in from the south. As trains are using it, traffic is delayed,” said Ted Barry, city engineer and Powell Street overpass project manager.

He hopes to take a motion to council by July, start construction early 2013 and finish in March 2014. The project would close Powell Street between Hawks Avenue and Clark Drive for about a year, detouring traffic to East Hastings Street.

The $50 million project would add pedestrian paths and a separated counter-flow bike lane—the first leg of the Portside Greenway bike lane—but not increase the double lanes of traffic that run each way. It would also allow for an additional CP rail line to be built in the rail yard north of Powell Street, which Barry says would benefit the city’s port economically by allowing for more transportation of goods by train.

But since the southern side of the street is lined with buildings, room would have to be made before the project could begin. City buildings would be demolished, while private buildings would be cut back in size or bought out.

One of the buildings set for demolition is a heritage building built in 1912 at 992 Powell St., which is just south of the historic Rogers Sugar factory, birthplace of the Canadian Rogers Sugar refiners. The building is the last standing structure of the Ramsey Brothers and Company Warehouse, which played a large role in Vancouver’s industrial history.

“There’s one heritage building that we’ve taken to the heritage committee and made them aware of the fact that we’re going to have to demolish that building because it’s right at the extreme portion of the project and there’s no way we can retain it,” said Barry.

Minutes from the April 16 meeting of the Vancouver Heritage Commission show the motion to approve the demolition of the Ramsey warehouse passed unanimously.

“The Vancouver Heritage Commission regrets the loss of the last fragment of…992 Powell Street, and the Commission acknowledges the need for the new Powell Street overpass,” read the motion.

Richard Campbell, president of the B.C. Cycling Coalition, supports the overpass project to provide what he says are greatly needed bike lane improvements.

“Powell Street is absolutely horrible. It’s probably one of the worst streets in the city. It really needs improving.”

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports home owners are the best investment in the country

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Home buyers prove sterling investment


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Englewood Village 45750 Keith Wilson Road, Chilliwack

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

A step back in time, and into the future


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Fate of Vancouver viaducts to be decided this summer

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Last winter, city held contest for re-envisioning of Northeast False Creek

onny Wakefield
Van. Courier

Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs told a forum on the viaducts that council’s “very close to a historic decision.” Photograph by: Dan Toulgoet , Vancouver Courier

City staff will deliver a report to council before it breaks in August on whether to tear down the Dusmuir and Georgia viaducts.

Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs told a forum on the viaducts at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus May 17 that “we’ll find out whether or not we’re going to go ahead with the viaducts, or whether we’ll plan for the future without them.”

He added, “We’re very close to a historic decision.”

The debate on whether to keep, demolish, or modify the city’s nearly 40-year-old elevated viaducts has been going on since 2009, when Meggs passed a motion to have city staff study the possibility of tearing down the viaducts.

The closure of the viaducts during the 2010 Winter Olympics was another sign that maybe the city could live without them. Meggs told the forum, organized by SFU as part of its City conversations series, that despite the closure, traffic into downtown was not as bad as many had predicted.

“We saw much larger increases into the downtown core than people thought was possible with very few traffic jams,” he said. “People did make the switch to transit and other modes of transportation, so it can be done.”

But residents of the Strathcona neighbourhood remember the Olympic experience differently.

“I had traffic pretty much 24/7 on my street,” said Frank Ducote, an urban designer who lives on Abbott Street and made a presentation at the forum.

Teresa Vandertuin had a similar experience.

“As soon as the viaduct closed, we had all of the traffic going down Pender during the Olympics. We were impacted very heavily.”

Ducote said that the argument that traffic was unaffected during the Olympics is a myth. He said there would need to be an extensive upgrade of infrastructure before any removal work could begin on the viaducts. He favours combining Expo and Pacific boulevards into one larger avenue.

Ducote also said it was overly optimistic to think the 40,000 daily car trips across the viaducts would be replaced by modes like transit and cycling.

The city has been weighing the options. Last winter, the city held a public ideas contest for a re-envisioned Northeast False Creek area. One submission that called for the removal of the viaduct suggested connecting Georgia and a realigned Pacific boulevard between B.C. Place and Rogers Arena.

Others argued that the viaducts could be turned into green space, like New York’s High Line Park.

Meggs couldn’t give any details on what city staff would propose.

“I think inevitably the city staff proposals will be more grounded in pragmatic considerations,” he said.

The Northeast False Creek area, which includes B.C. Place, the viaducts, and a large lot owned by Concord Pacific, is one of the last major undeveloped tracts of real estate in the downtown peninsula. Area residents say they have been waiting for years for Concord to convert a vacant lot near Rogers Arena into a park.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Vancouver’s Edgewater casino edging to relocation

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Paragon Gaming president may announce new home in August

Bob Mackin
Van. Courier

Paragon Gaming’s president hopes to announce a new home for Edgewater Casino by Aug. 1.

Scott Menke wouldn’t say how the scope of a proposed hotel and casino complex evolved since city council rejected expanding the licence from 600 to 1,500 slot machines in April 2011.

Last December, city council rezoned the site west of B.C. Place Stadium for the $450 million project, but Menke said other locations are under consideration.

“Until we confirm a site it’s premature to talk about what the project is,” Menke told the Courier. “We’re really under a lot of confidence levels with everybody in government and partners and we’d love to tell you more at the appropriate time.”A source said B.C. Pavilion Corporation negotiations with Paragon are progressing and an announcement is nearing, while B.C. Place management is preparing for a development permit board application and a fall groundbreaking. The project would impact operations of the stadium’s west entry and could force removal of the video board that faces the Cambie Bridge.

PavCo chief executive Warren Buckley and stadium general manager Howard Crosley did not respond for comment. Menke did not dispute the information.

“Unfortunately I can’t talk about it,” said Menke. “But I hope your sources are right.”

Menke said financing problems at the company’s River Cree Casino near Edmonton would not affect Edgewater operations or the relocation because the entities are separate. Paragon defaulted on a $111 million loan in mid-April after the Alberta government stopped payments from the First Nations Development Fund. Menke said “the business has been uninterrupted at every level.”

“We’ve made great progress over the past couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s certainly been easier for us to get to government after the elections. We’re very confident we’ll see a positive resolution in the not too distant future.”

Meanwhile, the total cost of the budgeted $563 million stadium renovation remains a mystery. A spreadsheet provided by PavCo under Freedom of Information showed $490.04 million was spent by December. Expenditures for January through March were censored. Additional costs, which are not visible, include resolution costs with Telus, claims resolution and project work requiring better weather in spring 2012.

Telus offered $35 million to $40 million in cash and goods and services to buy naming rights for 20 years. The deal was scrapped by the provincial government in February, after Telus installed telecommunications equipment last summer and fall. Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the company continues to negotiate for exclusive supplier status.

PavCo was named as a defendant in a $6.5 million lawsuit filed by French cable supplier Freyssinet against steel contractor Canam last October. Canam countersued for $26.15 million. A B.C. Supreme Court trial is scheduled in fall 2013. In March, a judge heard that grease damage to the roof fabric from the cables could cost $10 million to fix. PavCo claimed cleanup would be $1 million and the responsibility of contractors.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier


Real estate marketer Bob Rennie talks about the demographics of condo selling

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Rennie’s company responsible for selling 414 apartments at Cambie and Marine towers

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

When a new condominium project sells out in one day, as it did with the Marine Gateway building in April, ever wonder who actually buys one of the units?

Real estate marketer Bob Rennie, whose company was responsible for selling the 414 apartments at the Cambie and Marine towers, gave some indication in his annual speech Thursday to the Urban Development Institute

“I think that the marketplace needs us to open the vault a bit here and share the consumer data that we received,” Rennie told a crowd of more than 800 people gathered in a ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

In a survey sent to 414 buyers, of which 170 responded, Rennie said 66 per cent were from Vancouver, 16 per cent from Richmond and nine per cent from Burnaby. He didn’t say where the remaining eight per cent hailed from.

Of those from Vancouver, 23 per cent came from the immediate and adjacent postal codes and 37 per cent from six neighbouring postal codes.

Rennie’s survey found 48 per cent of buyers spoke Mandarin or Cantonese at home-he noted 28 per cent of Greater Vancouver’s population is Asian-and 46 per cent identified English as their primary language. Of the 414 buyers, 405 had B.C. driver’s licences and dealt with a local bank, he said.

The survey also found that 109 purchasers were first-time buyers and 44 per cent were under 40 years old. Half of the condos for sale were advertised for under $350,000.

More than 70 per cent of respondents said access to transit was very important in choosing a location to live. Rennie noted 105 of the 414 sales were to people who will not get access to a parking spot. That’s a trend that has occurred with other projects he’s marketed, including downtown’s “Electric Avenue,” where 102 buyers didn’t get a parking spot.

Unlike the 70s and 80s when the real estate mantra was “location, location, location,” Rennie said he believes it’s now all about “transit, transit, transit.”

The Marine Gateway project, which features two towers, is on the Canada Line, which provides area residents with easy and quick access to downtown and Richmond.

“If you’re under 25, you don’t own a car because it’s an inconvenience and you care about the environment,” he told the crowd. “And unlike the ’50s, you do not need a car to find out where your friends are. The reality is, youth has replaced dependency on the automobile with the dependency on the iPhone. And unlike their moms and dads, youth does not require a car to get laid.”

Rennie’s company, Rennie Marketing Systems, is also responsible for selling the former Olympic Village condominiums. He said 516 of the 737 condominiums have been sold.

“My company’s job was to protect the asset,” he said. “All of us at [my company] considered our newly named Village on False Creek quite possibly to be the most watched and quite possibly career making or career breaking assignment of our company’s history.”

The city took over the financially troubled project and, as of Dec. 31, 2011, its investment was $462 million. Recovery of that investment is primarily based on proceeds from sales of the remaining condominiums.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier


$8.5 million and counting … Charitable contribution program

Friday, May 18th, 2012


Each year your Board asks for help in recognizing our members’ charitable works so we can let the public know what Greater Vancouver REALTORS® have accomplished. To date, you have told us that you have fundraised or donated $8.5 million for charity.

We’re now looking to identify the total amount of money members donated to or fundraised for charity in 2011. Whether the amount is small, medium, or large, we’d like to hear from you! With your help, this project will again allow us to show the full commitment that REALTORS® make to their communities.

How does this program work?

When you and other members share your donation information, we total the amounts to determine how much Greater Vancouver REALTORS® donated to charity in 2011.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes. Your individual charitable-giving details are kept secure and will not be used for any other purpose without your permission.

Why should I participate?

REALTORS® are generous with time and monetary support for charities, and we would like to share that aggregate information with the public.

How can I help?

Let us know the amount of money you and your office donated to a registered charity in 2011. A registered charity would have given you a tax receipt, so the total of these receipts would be the amount you donated in 2011.

How to submit your information

Email your information to [email protected] or click here to fill in and submit the form.

More information

To learn more about this project, please contact Catherine Chu, Communications, at 604.730.3022 or email [email protected].

© Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

New legislation will open doors to development on First Nations lands

Friday, May 18th, 2012


“We have been working in partnership with local, provincial and federal governments on this initiative because we believe it will enable our lands to compete on a level playing field in the marketplace.” Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell

“The District of West Vancouver looks forward to working with the Squamish Nation as they enter a new phase of economic development and prosperity. We will work together to develop a servicing agreement which is fair and equitable to both parties.” District of West of Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith

Investors and developers planning to do business on reserve land will find it easier thanks to new provincial legislation. Bill 43, the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) Implementation Act, introduced in the BC Legislature on May 3, 2012, will create certainty for business by enabling provincial laws and regulations to apply to major commercial, industrial and residential projects on First Nations lands.

Currently, provincial laws and regulations don’t apply to reserve lands. First Nations lands are under the jurisdiction of the federal government and only the federal government has the authority to make laws for “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians,” as set out in the Constitution Act,1867, s 91(24) and under the Indian Act.

One notable exception is the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN). Its landmark 2008 Tsawwassen treaty with the federal and provincial governments gave the TFN self-governing powers similar to those of a municipality and land in fee simple, which it can lease.

Of the province’s 198 First Nations, 116 have expressly stated they want the same rights as the TFN by participating in the BC Treaty Commission’s treaty negotiation process. However, progress has been slow, often taking years. During this time, business opportunities are being lost – and their accompanying economic and social benefits including jobs and tax revenue.

Bill 43 holds the potential to speed and simplify business activity by creating a level regulatory playing field so that developments on reserve lands are subject to the same provincial regulations that apply to off-reserve developments. This will lead to certainty for business, residents and neighbouring local governments.

The impetus for the new legislation came from requests from two First Nations involved in two projects:

·         The Haisla Nation which has a proposed liquefied natural gas facility for its lands near Kitimat; and

·         The Squamish Nation which has a proposed commercial and 600 unit, four-tower residential development for its lands in West Vancouver.

Bill 43 will operate at the request of a First Nation and will also be project-specific. For example, a First Nation planning a mixed-use development alongside a stream can ask the federal and the provincial governments to produce project-specific regulations, which the province will have the authority to monitor and enforce.

Regulations could span everything from the building code to environmental issues to a land title system and a title assurance fund compatible with the BC land title system.

Bill 43 will work with two pieces of federal legislation:

·         the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) (2006), which facilitates commercial and industrial development on First Nations lands by allowing provincial regulations to be replicated and to apply on reserves; and

·         the First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act (2010), which gives the federal government the authority to make regulations respecting commercial land title at the request of a First Nation where the First Nation has the support of a private sector partner and the provincial government.

Currently, First Nations land interests are registered under the federal Indian Lands Registry System, which contains three separate deeds-based systems:

·         the Indian Land Registry System (ILRS), which includes documents related to and interests in reserve (and any surrendered) lands administered under the Indian Act;

·         the First Nations Land Registry System (FNLRS), which includes land records of First Nations operating under their own Land Code as set out in the First Nations Land Management Act (FNLMA); and

·         the Self-Governing First Nations Land Register (SGFNLR), which includes First Nations self-government agreements and documents which grant an interest in self-governed First Nation lands.

None of these systems is as secure as the Torrens-based land registration system used in BC.

Bill 43 will work with the First Nations Certainty of Land Title Act (2010), to enable the provincial government to create, at the request of a First Nation, a land title system administered by the provincial Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) on behalf of the federal government.

The Squamish First Nation has made this request. A new land title system will be created for residents of the proposed Squamish project, who will be able to register leases with the provincial LTSA on behalf of the federal government.

The Squamish First Nation will also negotiate a range of service agreements, for example, transportation, schools, water and sewer.

© Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.