Archive for the ‘Real Estate Related’ Category

Gardner 2838 Livingstone Avenue Abbotsford 77 townhomes in phase 1 by Mosaic

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Abbotsford location is a natural next step for Mosaic Homes

Kathleen Freimond
The Vancouver Sun

After nearly 20 years of building residences across Metro Vancouver, Mosaic Homes is taking its characteristic shingle-style townhomes to Abbotsford where it is developing Gardner, a 230-unit project on Livingstone Avenue.

“We are well-known and have track record in areas like Surrey and Langley, so Abbotsford was the natural next location for us,” says Geoff Duyker, Mosaic Homes’ senior vice president of marketing.

“Abbotsford is a growing centre and has lots going on there in terms of employment growth, a great university, the Abbotsford International Airport and the Abbotsford Regional Hospital. It’s a municipality we think continues to improve and grow,” he says.

He believes improvements to Highway 1 and Gardner’s location on the western side of Abbotsford close to the McClure exit make the development a natural next step for Vancouverites currently living in a condo or rental and who want to get into the market and secure their first home.

The development, designed by Ekistics Architecture, is also close to the green space and children’s playground in Gardner Park, several shopping areas including Mt. Lehman Crossing and the Highstreet Shopping Centre, elementary and secondary schools and The Rinks at Summit Centre.

The site will include 77 two- and three-bedroom townhomes currently on the market and rental apartments and townhomes that will be available later, says Duyker.

Construction on the three-acre site started in 2018 with the first homes being available for sale in September 2019 and those early buyers planning to move into their new homes this month (November).

The Gardner townhomes are designed to appeal to local young singles and couples who have grown up in the area and want to buy their first home in the city, and to people from across Metro Vancouver who are looking for affordable homes, says Duyker.

Potential buyers can choose from four floorplans ranging in size from 1,057 to 1,626 square feet. The two display homes on the site at 2838 Livingstone Avenue are the two-bedroom Gibson plan and the two-bedroom-and-den Finlay plan.

The architecture – characterized by shingles around feature elements of the buildings – and a choice of three colours for the front doors, is inspired by row homes seen during tours on the East Coast, says Duyker, adding each three-level home has a double garage and outdoor space.

Inside, the interior design is a modern interpretation of traditional style, says Stephanie Da Silva, director of interior design at Mosaic Homes.

“Our [Mosaic] homes are inspired by the sense of home that traditional Shaker-style kitchens evoke. We see a trend to a warm and cosy ambience and less sleek and modern,” she says.

Buyers can choose from two colour palettes, the matte taupe-grey cabinetry with oak-look laminate floors or the matte white cabinetry with walnut-look laminate flooring.

“Both are timeless and easy to integrate into every homeowner’s personal style,” says Da Silva.

Cut-pile carpeting features in the bedrooms, upstairs hallway and on the stairs in all the homes.

At Gardner the kitchens have a contemporary flair with the combination of the Shaker-style lower cabinets – featuring black matte hardware – while the modern flat-panel upper cabinet doors have integrated pulls, says Da Silva. A black matte Delta pull-down spray faucet is an interesting contrast against the white-tile backsplash.

In the Gibson townhome – look out for the distinctive blue front door – the kitchen is completed with a quartz countertop, an optional upgrade from the standard laminate. The large harvest table, which doubles as a prep area and a place for family mealtimes, is a Mosaic-designed optional upgrade.

With 10-foot ceilings throughout all the homes, the interior design maximizes the extra vertical height with plenty of extra storage while the larger windows also draw in plenty of natural light.

In the bathroom, the vanity is the same colour as the kitchen cabinetry (matte taupe-grey in this home), while polished chrome Grohe faucets and the showerhead and handle set add sparkle to the space. On the floor 12-by-24-inch marble-look porcelain tiles enhance the timeless design while white 12-by-24-inch tiles are featured on the walls around the deep soaker tub and shower.

Next door at the display home showing the two-bedroom-and-den Finlay floorplan, potential buyers can see the second colour scheme; white cabinets and contrasting walnut-look floors. On the ground level the den is staged as a study with the Whirlpool washer and dryer also located on this level.

With 10-foot ceilings throughout all the homes at Gardner, the interior design maximizes the extra vertical height with plenty of extra storage while the larger windows also draw in plenty of natural light.PNG

Going upstairs to the open-plan living space (the staircase wall would be perfect for a gallery wall,) the kitchen has a peninsula, a Lazy Susan in the corner cupboard, a large pantry cupboard and plenty of extra storage.

Major appliances are by Samsung with a Fisher Paykel refrigerator available as an optional upgrade.

In the living room, which opens to a deck large enough for family barbecues, the wall is reinforced with a cord-concealing conduit to accommodate a wall-mounted big-screen TV.

On the third level the smaller bedroom is decorated for a young child with playful wallpaper, a ceiling-hung chair, a fun window seat and kid-size table and chairs set up for games or crafts. The main bedroom has his-and-hers closets and an ensuite bathroom with shower.

Project Name: Gardner by Mosaic

Project Address: 2838 Livingstone Avenue

Project City: Abbotsford

Developer: Mosaic Homes

Architect: Ekistics Architecture Inc.

Interior Designer: Portico Design Group

Project Size: 77 homes for sale

Bedrooms: Two- and three-bedroom townhomes

Unit Size: 1,057 – 1,626 square feet

Price: Starting from the low $400’s

Sales centre: 2838 Livingstone Avenue, Abbotsford

Sales centre hours: Daily noon – 6:00 p.m.

Sales Phone: 778.752.9316


© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Vancouver developer Holborn Group wins international property awards

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Holborn Group also won an International Property Award for best bathroom design


Vancouver-based real estate developer Holborn Group was a big winner at the 26th International Property Awards ceremony for its single-family residences in Phase II of Holborn University Heights in Squamish, B.C. The awards are judged by an independent panel of over 80 industry experts in design, quality, service, innovation, originality and commitment to sustainability.

The firm received recognition in several categories for Holborn Group, including Best Architecture Single Residence, Best Interior Design: Private Residence and Best Interior Design: Show Home for British Columbia.

The award-winning homes in Holborn University Heights represent the harmonization of wild natural landscapes and contemporary built environments, the company says in a news release. Holborn University Heights is a master-planned community. Each home has uninterrupted views of the Garibaldi mountains and features contemporary design esthetics for those seeking to connect with nature while still enjoying the comforts of modern living, the company says.

“The level of architectural design and custom interior details in our homes are things you don’t typically find in master-planned communities anywhere. We wanted to raise the bar for multi-family developments by being the first to offer it and at an attainable price,” says Joo Kim Tiah, principal at Holborn Group.

© 2019 REM Real Estate Magazine

Airbnb to verify listings, bans house parties following tragedy

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Homeowners who list on Airbnb will need to be verified

Steve Randall

The rise of short-term letting platform Airbnb has been hailed as a revolution for travellers – and derided for its impact on local rental and housing markets.

But the platform continues to see strong growth worldwide with around 7 million properties currently listed and 600 million members.

However, recent events in California which saw a Halloween party held in an Airbnb-listed home turn to tragedy with the death of 5 people, has prompted the firm to take urgent action.

In an email to its staff, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that the business is built on trust and – as some take advantage of this trust – it’s time to tighten up the rules.

It means that homeowners who list on the platform will need to be verified. This verification program is underway and means that homes will be verified for accuracy of the listing (including accuracy of photos, addresses, and listing details) and quality standards (including cleanliness, safety, and basic home amenities) and those that meet the company’s high expectations will be clearly labelled.

The plan is for every home and host to be 100% verified by December 15, 2020.

Manual screening for risky behaviour The firm will also be rolling out expanded manual screening of ‘high-risk’ bookings where its risk detection models suggest bookings may be used for unauthorized parties.

This will initially apply in North America from December 15 and then globally through 2020.

There will also be a 24/7 hotline and rapid response teams that will handle calls from concerned neighbours. This is being set up with help from law enforcement agencies in the US.

Copyright © 1996-2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Vancouver project to be among Canada’s largest Indigenous developments

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Squamish Nation is planning the construction of around 6,000 affordable units

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

A Vancouver housing project led by Squamish Nation is planning the construction of around 6,000 affordable units.

The Senakw development, which is slated to be one of the largest Indigenous-led urban projects nationwide, will be situated close to the downtown core.

As much as 11 towers will be erected at the south end of the Burrard Bridge. The tallest planned so far is 56 storeys high.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to achieve the highest and best use when we do projects,” Squamish Nation councillor Khelsilem told The Canadian Press. “We have to bring back the best value for our members because otherwise they’re being robbed from the potential value that can be created on the land.”

“For a lot of other First Nations across the country, natural resources is the one option they have for growing their economies. Whereas for us, the land has been completely impacted [by the city’s growth] and so real estate is really the one thing we can get involved in that will make sense to generate revenue,” he told CBC News earlier this year.

“[The First Nation is] seeing the significant profits that everyone else is making. We’re right in the middle and we’re not doing anything, so I think there’s reasonable impatience that we should be getting involved,” the leader added.

Most of the units will be rental housing, with preference to be accorded to Squamish Nation members.

“Because we are proposing mostly rental we see opportunities to do some really interesting stuff around amenity spaces for tenants within the building, on those really beautiful vistas that might be on the roof or the really top part of the buildings,” Khelsilem stated.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media

Robust market fundamentals driving Toronto’s high-end housing segment

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Luxury housing in Toronto on an up-swing

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Toronto’s luxury housing sector has enjoyed a marked upswing in activity this year, according to a new analysis by RE/MAX.

Accelerated sales came about as a result of a stronger economy and record-low unemployment levels, along with more relaxed interest rates and generous returns in the stock market.

“The fog has lifted – buoyed by solid economic factors, but also by the belief that the worst is behind us,” RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada executive vice president and regional director Christopher Alexander explained.

“The housing market has shifted into recovery mode. Luxury home sales are climbing, prices are stabilizing, and demand is on the upswing for upscale product.”

Transaction numbers in the highest-end sector exceeded 2018 levels, with sales of freehold and condo properties valued at more than $5 million reaching 100 units from January to October. This represented an 8.5% annual increase.

Freehold properties in this price bracket now fetch an average value of $6,517,143. This is in contrast to the 3% year-over-year decline seen in the city’s single-detached housing market.

“The one consistency in Toronto’s real estate market throughout 2019 has been value – and it’s evident from the bottom end of the market to the top,” Alexander noted.

“Homebuyers at virtually all price points – including uber-luxe – are kicking the tires once again. As a result, momentum is building in the overall market, which is reflected in the escalation in sales at both the $2 million and $5 million price points.”

Sales of homes valued at more than $2 million went up by a little over 9% annually (reaching 1,975 transactions), while activity in the $3 million – $4.99 million sector slowed down by 4.7% year-over-year.

Fortunately for this segment, “sales of luxury properties between $3 and $5 million are expected to climb in the year ahead as the ripple effect works its way through various price points,” Alexander assured.

“Sales at lower price points tend to stimulate sales at the next level, as homebuyers trade-up to larger homes or more desirable neighbourhoods. Our research has found that the spread is narrowing with each month’s sales figures.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Metro Vancouver First Nations ‘buying their own land back’

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

First Nations set to be power broker in real estate as they buy their land back

Randy Shore
The Province

First Nations are poised to become the next real estate development power-brokers in Metro Vancouver, with billions of dollars worth of real estate on and off reserves at their disposal.

Westbank Corp., Polygon, Aquilini and Darwin Properties all have partnerships with local First Nations to build thousands of units of housing and commercial space in Vancouver, Burnaby and West Vancouver.

“First Nations have first right of refusal when the provincial or federal government disposes of land and they are actively making those deals,” said Indigenous planner Ginger Gosnell-Myers, formerly with the City of Vancouver.

“The nations are going to buy everything, they are buying their own land back and they will develop it so that they have income security,” she said.

MST Development Corp. — a land development firm jointly owned by the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations — was ranked No. 1 on Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50 list this week. The partnership is “poised to reshape the city, with a mixture of market and social housing, as well as some much-needed community contributions,” according to VanMag.

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MST owns 65 hectares worth more than $2 billion, including 21 hectares at Jericho and eight hectares at 33rd Avenue and Heather Street on the west side of Vancouver.

MST recently bought a parcel in West Vancouver and the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh have a partnership with Aquilini Development and Construction on 16 hectares near Canada Way and Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby.

“People are still scratching their heads and rubbing their eyes wondering what it means,” said Gosnell-Myers, who is about to start a three-year fellowship with Simon Fraser University focusing on decolonization and urban Indigenous planning.

Bureaucratic inertia is holding municipalities back from properly servicing the areas around what will soon be new, high-density neighbourhoods, she said.

“The District of North Vancouver has left the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Raven Woods development floating like an island in the ocean with nothing around it,” she said. “Municipalities need to step up with community centres, schools, transit and all the things that make cities cities.”

Developers are increasingly looking to First Nations land as a way around a municipal development process that is mired in bureaucracy and largely failing to supply the market for housing, the industry says.

“First Nations partnerships represent a new opportunity for our home, office and industrial builders to create communities that can get built quickly with less red tape, delivering the homes people need to rent or buy now,” said Anne McMullin, CEO of the Urban Development Institute.

Only two municipalities in Metro Vancouver met their regional growth targets between 2011 and 2018, with some missing their housing goals by 80 per cent, according to an analysis by HAVAN, the homebuilders association of Vancouver.

The Squamish First Nation made headlines this week when it revealed a new vision for a five-hectare parcel at Kits Point, which includes 6,000 units of housing in 11 towers to be developed in partnership with Westbank Corp. Because the property is on reserve, the City of Vancouver has no control over how the land is developed.

The Musqueam First Nation is developing a nine-hectare parcel in the University Endowment Lands at UBC on land that was returned to its control by the provincial government, which made the Musqueam fee simple owners.

Lelem —meaning “home” — will include 1,250 rental units, commercial space and public amenities such as parks, a community centre and a daycare, according to Alex Laguardia, chief financial officer of Musqueam Capital Corporation.

The Musqueam are developing the land in cooperation with the UEL, so it, too, is beyond the control of the City of Vancouver, even though it is not technically reserve land.

The first phase includes high-rise towers with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and townhomes, and a retail plaza, being built by Polygon.

The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation has been butting heads with the District of North Vancouver over an 18-hectare parcel near the northern foot of the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.

The First Nation has recently applied to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to have that land added to its reserve, which would allow it to control the form and scale of development independent of the district.

A new federal law allows First Nations to add lands to their reserve to advance reconciliation and create economic opportunities.

Projects built off reserve lands will be subject to the local municipality’s requirements for social housing, while on-reserve projects are not.

The Squamish Nation is considering providing some affordable units to its members at Senakw. The Musqueam say it is too soon to determine the rents at Lelem.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Another crypto crash raises fears

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange latest to shutter with millions owing to clients

Matt Robinson
The Province

When clients of Einstein Exchange discovered last weekend that the website of the Vancouver-based cryptocurrency trading platform had gone dark, many feared they had fallen victim to the latest QuadrigaCX.

The distressed customers were referring to the case of another B.C.-based exchange that earlier this year left some 115,000 clients out of pocket for $260 million in cryptocurrencies and cash in what some termed an “exit scam” by its late founder and CEO.

This latest case of a crypto exchange leaving millions of its clients’ dollars in question has investors, regulators and experts warning people to be careful when using exchanges, and calling for clearer oversight of the industry.

This week Einstein clients learned interim receiver Grant Thornton Ltd. had “entered and secured” the company’s premises on Friday to preserve and protect the assets of the company, which owes customers more than $16 million, according to the B.C. Securities Commission.

Kyle Dulay counts himself as lucky among Einstein’s customers. The Vancouver man only had “a couple hundred dollars” in bitcoin on the exchange at the time its site went down. Dulay told Postmedia he had the bulk of his cryptocurrencies in cold storage — safely held offline on a piece of hardware — rather than held at the exchange.

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Lisa Lan, a Burnaby resident, said she had intended to transfer about $3,250 in cryptocurrencies from Einstein to cold storage on the very day the company’s website went down. “I just missed it by hours,” she said.

Lan recommended people do their research and due diligence and remove their cryptocurrencies from live exchanges. Dulay said there should be regulations that govern how exchanges store and use their customers’ digital assets.

The Securities Commission opened an investigation into Einstein in May after it received complaints that people were unable to access their funds, according to court documents filed by the commission on Nov. 1.

Among those documents was an affidavit that alleged Einstein had improperly used its customers’ assets. That affidavit, sworn by Sammy Wu, a lead investigator for the Commission’s enforcement division, also stated the commission had received complaints that raised concerns about potential money laundering.

The claims have not been tested in court.

Chris Rowell, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business, said that crypto assets were initially intended to exist and be used outside of the traditional economy. But they eventually came to be viewed as investments that people buy and sell. It is at the intersection of these two worlds, where there is a regulatory grey area, that problems are being seen, he said.

When asked about the regulatory picture in this province, Peter Brady, the executive director of the Securities Commission, said the lack of clarity around cryptocurrencies is a fundamental issue and said more needs to be done.

“B.C. residents need to be really, really careful in this space. It is high risk. Not one of these exchanges has yet been recognized by BCSC or any other securities regulator. Their assets may not be protected. They cannot be assured that their transactions are going to happen,” he said.

On Oct. 31, counsel for Einstein told the commission that the company planned to shut down “due to lack of profit,” but that it had sufficient crypto assets to fill withdrawal requests from its customers, according to Wu’s affidavit. That same day Wu demanded Einstein, through its lawyer, provide information on the location of its cryptocurrencies.

“Two hours later, Einstein counsel notified me that they no longer represent Einstein,” read the affidavit.

Einstein Exchange did not respond to a request for comment and Michael Gokturk, the company’s director, could not be reached. Christine Duhaime, a Vancouver-based financial crime lawyer who has served as the exchange’s lawyer, said she could not discuss the file without the company’s consent. It is unclear whether Duhaime was the counsel referred to in Wu’s affidavit.

In the QuadrigaCX case, company founder and CEO Gerald Cotten had died, taking with him the passwords to the company’s cold wallets.

Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, recently entered into a voluntary settlement agreement that includes the transfer of about $12 million in assets from Cotten’s estate to the company.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

ERA at 22255 Dewdney Trunk Road Maple Ridge 143 condos in phase 1 by Johnston Meier and SwissReal Developments

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

A Master Plan Community In Maple Ridge

Kathleen Freimond
The Province

An enormous master-planned community called ERA is poised to transform downtown Maple Ridge, eventually becoming an amenity-rich neighbourhood with some 1,000 homes.

When complete, the project being established by Johnston Meier and SwissReal Developments will also include parks, amenities like an amphitheatre and retail and commercial units.The first phase includes 143 market condos and townhomes and 49 rental units.

Peter Hildebrand, principal at Iredale Architecture, says the city’s designation of the southeast corner of the site on the corner of Dewdney Trunk Road and 224 Street as the new civic centre of Maple Ridge is the impetus behind the seven-phase ERA development.

Hildebrand notes that Maple Ridge’s location between the dense urban environment in Vancouver and communities like Chilliwack and Hope in the Fraser Valley influenced the master plan and the architecture.

“We wanted to have a sensitive approach that touched down gently. The result is a less dense site, and that has allowed us to be more flexible in the outdoor space, introduce more space between the buildings themselves and create meeting areas in the landscaping to foster neighbourliness and create a truly livable community,” he says.

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There are condos in the six-storey north and five-storey south buildings, with 30 townhomes — the developers call them ‘city homes’ — in the centre of the first phase bounded by Plaza Street, Brown Avenue and Dewdney Trunk Road. The south building, on Dewdney Trunk Road and Plaza Street, will include retail units to provide residents with local amenities like shops and services.

The architecture in phase one speaks to the area’s agrarian past when buildings like barns would have been plentiful and this influence has softened the lines of the design, says Hildebrand.

Jeremy Towning, vice-president of SwissReal, says development of the entire community on the almost eight-acre site will take about 10 years and will eventually be home to between 1,500 and 1,700 people. Construction of the first phase of condos and townhomes is scheduled to start later this year with the first homeowners expected to move in after completion in two years.

Towning anticipates buyers of homes in the initial phase will be a mix of first-time buyers and downsizers. Amenities in this phase will include a playground and rooftop terraces on the north and south buildings, while the north building also features an indoor social space connected to the terrace with a kitchenette and dining area. The south building will include a gym.

For the interiors, Megan Bennett of Megan Bennett Design aimed for a timeless design and selected materials to endure both, in design intent and durability.

Buyers can choose from a light or dark colour palette. Countertops in both palettes are a marble-look quartz, while Italian-inspired kitchen cabinetry is white in the light scheme and grey in the darker option. Bennett notes that with the plethora of home design and improvement programming on television and social media sites like Pinterest, buyers are becoming more and more discerning.

She points to the Shaker-style kitchen cabinetry with one-and-a-half-inch rails (compared to the more usual two-and-a-half inches) designed to appeal to buyers with traditional and contemporary tastes. Finishes like the black matte faucets and hardware in the kitchen and bathrooms is a step-up from the chrome finishes in many new developments, adds Bennett.

“The interiors are designed to be universally appealing – when people move in they can decide on their own touches and furnishings to make the space their own,” she says.

Depending on the floor plan, kitchens have an island or peninsula with a double sink. In the two-bedroom, two-bathroom show suite (plan D2) at the sales centre at 22351 Dewdney Trunk Road, the white subway tile backsplash – with the tile laid vertically – adds an interesting element in the kitchen.

The slide-in gas range and a stainless steel hood fan creates a focal point in the kitchen, while the microwave is under-counter in the perimeter cabinetry. Open shelving enhances the airy ambience, while Lazy Susans ensure access to the two corner cupboards.

In the dining room in the display suite, a built-in hutch — an optional extra — makes best use of a nook and provides plenty of extra storage.

A vanity with double sinks, a bathtub and a separate shower with glass enclosure make for an elegant and practical ensuite bathroom, Bennett says, while the black border around the mirror complements the black matte plumbing fittings and hardware.

ERA is conveniently located close to city hall, the library and a leisure centre. Residents travelling to Vancouver can take the West Coast Express from Port Haney station, and the B-Line bus service connects commuters with the Coquitlam SkyTrain station.

The parks and landscaping in the first phase will set the precedent for the development’s central ‘green spine.’

 “It’s going to influence future phases and become a real community asset. It will encourage people – not just residents, but people from the entire community – to walk from the first phase through the other phases [to the civic core],” says Daniel Hawreluk, principal at Iredale Architecture.


Project address: 22255 Dewdney Trunk Rd. (224th and Dewdney), Maple Ridge

Developer: Johnston Meier and SwissReal Developments

Architect: Iredale Architecture

Interior designer: Megan Bennett Design

Project size: Phase 1: 143 condos and city homes with one to three bedrooms (approximately 1,000 homes in the master-planned community)

Unit size: Condos: 615 – 1,335 square feet; city homes: 1,400 – 1,500 square feet

Price: one bedroom from $350,900; one bedroom and den from $370,900; two bedroom from $416,900; two bedroom and den from $506,900; three bedroom from $616,900; three bedroom and den from $651,900; city homes from $626,900

Sales centre: 22351 Dewdney Trunk Rd.

Sales centre hours: noon to 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Phone: 604-239-1898


© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Squamish Nation development to expand downtown Vancouver’s footprint

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Squamish Senakw project to expand Downtown Vancouver?s footprint

Randy Shore
The Province

The $3-billion Senakw project will consist of 6,000 mostly rental units in 11 towers on a five-hectare parcel at the western foot of the Burrard Bridge. The tallest tower is expected to be 56 storeys, a shade shorter than Shangri-La and the Trump Tower, just across the bridge from the downtown peninsula.

The project was announced last April as a two-tower, 3,000-unit development; the new concept adds nine towers.

As the downtown Vancouver residential community has expanded from the West End, through Yaletown and into False Creek, the density has changed dramatically as part of the evolution of the area, according to Squamish Coun. Khelsilem.

Senakw’s design has changed several times over the years and this latest iteration reflects the extreme shortage of rental housing in Vancouver, he said.

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“We see a huge need for rental with the vacancy crisis at one per cent or even lower in some places,” he said.

The City of Vancouver has struggled to get rental housing built, because developers would rather build condos. But because the Squamish have a preference for a long-term revenue stream rather than a quick profit, they can do things differently, he explained.

Senakw will not employ the typical podium and tower design used in many large projects. Because of the tower-only design, 80 per cent of the land at grade will be activated for public use such as park space, Khelsilem said.

By targeting renters, they can also dispense with most of the parking typically required by the city.

“We are looking at removing mandatory minimum parking requirements and it makes more sense when you are building rental,” he said.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart agreed the project “will really help us hit our own targets” for rental housing, a need that is at crisis levels.

Stewart isn’t concerned that other developers will try to push for increased density, citing the Senakw project.

 “The Squamish development is a very special case because it’s on reserve land,” he said. “This is a very special case and we’re treating it as such.”

The Squamish planning group has briefed Vancouver city staff on the vision for Senakw and hopes to tap into their expertise as the project moves forward, especially concerning public consultation. But that consultation on Senakw will have a historical context attached.

“This is a government doing a project that has a particular history of injustice in the removal of our ancestors in 1913, who were evicted by the provincial government at the request of the Vancouver parks board and the City of Vancouver,” said Khelsilem.

Because the project is on First Nations land, the city has little power to influence the scale and form of the development, nor is the project subject to municipal zoning.

“We’ve seen some tentative support from city staff, in part because we are able to propose some big solutions for the city, quickly and at scale,” said Khelsilem.

The Squamish Nation isn’t required to apply to the city to redevelop this area, the city confirmed.

In 2014, city council designated Vancouver as a City of Reconciliation and set as its goal the creation of “sustained relationships of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community.”

The Squamish Nation plans to collect taxes on the development themselves and use the revenue to buy services, such as policing, fire protection, water, sewage and waste removal from municipalities.

The development is a near-perfect experiment in urban development, to see what a landholder would do if it were free of the constraints placed on it by municipal government, said Tom Davidoff, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C.

The Squamish are making bold choices about what the market wants by choosing to build rental units and the decision to limit parking, he noted.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Residential sales across B.C. to rise 10.9% in 2020: BCREA

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Biggest recovery in sales activity will be seen in the hardest-hit areas of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley

Joannah Connolly
Western Investor

After what is expected to be a weak 2019 overall, with sales down 1.8 per cent from 2018, residential resale transactions in B.C. are predicted to recover significantly in 2020, according to a November 6 B.C. Real Estate Association forecast.

MLS residential sales across the province are predicted to increase 10.9 per cent to 85,500 units in 2020, which would take the annual total to just below the 10-year annual average for MLS sales of 85,800 units.

“After a slow start to 2019, MLS home sales in B.C. have embarked on a sustained upward trend since the spring,” said Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist.

“The dampening effects of federal mortgage rules mean that rather than a return to the heights of recent years, home sales are simply returning to trend after sustaining a significant shock.”

The BCREA said in its quarterly forecast report that it expected sales and listings to find balance in 2020 “as demand normalizes.”

However, the predicted sales increase is for all of B.C., and flattens out the widely varying predictions across different regions.

Most of the recovery in activity is forecast to be driven by rising sales in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where the markets were hit hardest by the recent slowdown.

Greater Vancouver residential transactions are predicted to increase by 18.2 per cent in 2020, compared with 2019, and Fraser Valley sales are forecast to go up 12.4 per cent next year. In comparison, Victoria’s resale transactions are expected to rise a more modest four per cent in 2020.

Lower Mainland developers agreed that activity was returning to the local market and that sales were starting to recover from the recent hiatus.

Ian Renton, general manager of Auguston Town Development, said, “We are experiencing strong population growth in our Metro Vancouver cities and demand is prevalent. More specifically, our Fraser Valley area is experiencing strong employment growth and potential buyers are well informed on their market decisions. However, even with a significant amount of home construction, accessibility to the market and diverse housing types is still a live issue in areas such as Abbotsford.”

Jason Wong, director of marketing and sales at Aragon Properties, added, “We are seeing more buyer confidence compared with last year. Buyers are very well informed and they take time making informed, value-based decisions… Nonetheless, we are witnessing a significant increase in activity in all of our newest projects across the Lower Mainland.”

However, the higher sales forecast in the Lower Mainland was not mirrored in BCREA’s price predictions. Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are both expected to see an average MLS sale price rise of just one per cent in 2020, compared with an average sale price uplift of 3.6 per cent across the whole province.

The highest forecast for an average sale price increase is in the B.C. Northern region, which includes Prince George and Kitimat, where prices are expected to jump 8.1 per cent in 2020.

To read the full BCREA report and regional breakdown, click here

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