Category Archives: Development

Developers to pay higher rates for bigger projects

Coverage in the North Shore News today of our delegation appearance before the City of North Van Council on July 17th.  The Anchor’s extra density (10,888 sq ft) is now for sale for $11,888,000.  Detail here: NVCV – Delegation Jul 2017
Article:

If you build denser you’ll pay dearer.

That’s the message in the City of North Vancouver where rates for community amenity contributions – which tend to be levelled on developers who exceed density guidelines – are set to rise 35 per cent in the city centre and 52 per cent on the outskirts beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

The city centre is sandwiched between Mahon and St. Andrews avenues and bordered by the highway and the waterfront.

The change is late, according to North Van City Voices, a watchdog group advocating a freeze on development given the number of housing projects in the pipeline.

By not charging heftier fees, the city has fuelled real estate speculation while “doing little to generate affordable housing,” according to member Fred Dawkins, who recently appeared at council to oppose the city’s density bonus rates.

Dawkins took aim at The Anchor, a 61-unit East Third Street development approved in 2012.

In that case, the developer requested 10,888 square feet be excluded from the city’s floor space calculations. In return, the developer pledged to fill that space with 18 market rental units and to pay the city a $100,000 community amenity contribution. The developer also funded infrastructure improvements and public art.

Given that those units are now selling for approximately $1,000 per square foot, the increase in value was essentially a gift to the developer “with no strings attached,” argued Dawkins.

The value of rental density on vacant land was approximately $100 per square foot in 2012, according to a city staff report.

“This value is not to be confused with the cost per square foot of improved land in today’s dollars,” the report noted.

If a project similar to The Anchor were approved in 2018, the developer would likely be on the hook for a $2.3-million community amenity contribution under the new rules.

Coun. Rod Clark sought to defer council’s July 24 decision on community amenity contributions, citing his desire to pore over a report from North Van City Voices in greater deal.

The deferral was narrowly defeated following an objection from Coun. Craig Keating, who emphasized the city’s role in addressing the regional housing crisis.

“When you talk to actual human beings who need real places to live and cannot afford to buy in this community, rental housing policy is absolutely crucial,” he said, describing the city’s 0.3 per cent vacancy rate as
“punishingly low.”

A “healthy” vacancy rate is between three and five per cent, noted a city staff report.

Low vacancy rates are leading to higher rents, according to a 2016 report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. New tenants in older buildings face 6.4 per cent rate hikes, more than twice as much as the allowable increase for established tenants.

For Coun. Pam Bookham, all new development “needs to make a financial contribution to the redevelopment of Harry Jerome.”

Bookham also backed deferral, suggesting developers already have five months to “get in under the lower, existing rate.”

Keating differed with Bookham on both the deferral and the primacy of the new Harry Jerome community recreation centre.

“Talking about the thing that people in our community need, I think a place to live is top of the list,” he said. “By the time you get to a pool and curling . . . you’re pretty far down the list.”

The city’s community amenity contribution rates are currently “a bit low,” according to staff.

The community amenity contribution rate of $190 per square foot in the city centre is a “fair price point,” according to an analysis from G.P. Rollo & Associates. The charge should allow developers to make a 15 per cent profit, assuming prices hover above $1,000 per square foot. Charges for projects outside the city centre are set to rise to $175 per square foot.

If the housing market remains strong, the city could pocket between $6 and $10 million per year in community amenity contributions. In 2016, the city collected $3.85 million.

The payment are meant to mitigate the impacts of new projects without reducing the rate of development, according to a staff report. The payments are also meant to encourage developers to build less expensive housing, and housing for residents with special needs.

Source: Developers to pay higher rates for bigger projects

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Seller boasts of “NEVER LIVED-IN” 10-year-old condo in North Vancouver

Source: Seller boasts of “NEVER LIVED-IN” 10-year-old condo in North Vancouver

By Joyce Yip

For a mere $1.15 million, you, too, could be the owner of a 10-year-old North Vancouver condo with a unique selling point: it has never been lived in.

The three bedroom three bathroom unit at Lonsdale Pier is owned 366466 B.C. LTD., INC., whose ownership appears to be murky.

“Pinnacle Living at THE PIER Development: South facing 3 bedroom + den townhome, 3 full baths, NEVER LIVED-IN, functional layout, Main Level living, dining & bedroom with semi-ensuite bathroom, patio & balcony,” according to the MLS listing, which notes Anson Realty’s Grace Kwok as the primary agent.

The number of empty houses continues to grow sharply as Metro Vancouver grapples with an affordable housing crisis.

The percentage of “non resident” homes – empty or occupied by a foreign or temporary resident – double from 3% in 1986 to 7% in 2016 in the region.

366466 B.C. LTD was once a fully-owned subsidiary of the now bankrupt Shieldings Incorporated, a merchant bank partially owned by The Bank of Nova Scotia.

 

Letter: New condos leave us homeless

Following is a letter published in the Richmond News on July 28th, and speaks of a common concern in the City of North Van:

Dear Editor,

One hundred and forty families in central Richmond will have to move soon as our rental building is being torn down for condos ­— condos that we cannot afford to buy. 

Condos are so hot now that buyers are putting in offers sometimes $50,000 dollars over asking and without subjects. The loans the government is willing to lend first-time buyers only make the housing market more unaffordable. A 20-year-old two-bedroom apartment lists at almost half a million dollars.

I thought as a teacher I had a good job, but I can’t afford a home in Vancouver. The B.C. economy does not allow the average person to legally make enough money to buy an apartment. Notice, I didn’t say house. Those rarities are for investors or the lucky children of people who bought years ago.

There is a problem here. The high-rise condos that will replace my apartment building will not densify the neighbourhood because most of them will sit empty. 

The property speculators who are building these new buildings believe renting devalues them. When our buildings are torn down, there will be 140 families looking for accommodation. The vacancy rate is under one per cent in Richmond! Waiting lists for most co-ops are closed. 

Where are we to go?

Renters who work in the city will have to move farther afield. But now there’s another problem. The Liberals’ 15 per cent tax did not extend to outlying areas. So now homes in Maple Ridge and Chilliwack have gone up by 12 per cent from last year. Are we supposed to move to another province? 

A lot of young people who were raised in B.C. have moved away because of unaffordable housing. If the government cannot do something as simple and necessary as providing affordable housing — we’re not asking them to solve climate change here — then we really need to ask ourselves if they’re competent enough to manage the province.

Some people may think that since they own their house, none of this applies to them. 

Well, sorry, it does. 

I have friends who own houses and say they can’t move because the prices are too expensive to move up the property ladder. Their children have moved and they see their grandkids once or twice a year. No one wins, except for the property speculators who’ve turned what used to be affordable homes into lottery tickets. Our slogan should be Formerly Beautiful BC.

Lexy Clayburn

Richmond

http://www.richmond-news.com/opinion/letters/letter-new-condos-leave-us-homeless-1.21442532

Delegation to Council Jul 17

Fred Dawkins represented North Van City Voices’ delegation to Council last night. The script follows:

Voices Delegation to CNV Council, 17 July 2017

Good evening Your Worship, Councillors.

I’m speaking tonight on behalf of North Van City Voices.

As everyone here is aware, the city has been undergoing an unprecedented building boom over the past several years. Council has been facilitating this rapid increase in population through density bonusing, consistently going beyond the guidelines that were established by our Official Community Plan just a couple of years ago.

Of course, bonusing is a tool that the city uses in an effort to achieve certain policy objectives. Is it working? We’ll get to that in a minute.

First some context. Voices has been monitoring the growth in housing units in the city, keeping a running total of new units built, approved, or otherwise in the development pipeline since 2011. We have on several occasions pointed out that the city is well ahead of the pace of development required to meet its long-term objectives for population growth. These objectives formed a large part of the rationale behind the City Shaping exercise and the revised OCP that emerged from it. So, how much are we getting ahead of our growth projections?

read more:  NVCV – Delegation Jul 2017

Density for sale $34.88 per square foot

Source: Decision on Onni’s bowling bid delayed 

From the North Shore News Jun 21st, comment from Voices:

The ‘over-excavated’ space will be a commercial venture, probably leased to an operator.   Bargain price: $275,000 for 7,884 sq ft = $34.88 per square foot.  Another 4-3 vote with the developer-funded slate voting in favour.

 

 

 

 

Sky-high condo prices aren’t a supply problem

From the Globe and Mail (Gary Mason), quoting in part:

‘No, there is lots of “supply” in Vancouver and Toronto. That isn’t the issue. It’s who’s getting access to that supply that is a big part of the problem. And it’s also the type of “supply” being built.

Many of the condos being constructed are designed to be purchased by wealthy investors, the Lamborghini crowd. They aren’t being built for a couple of young professionals starting a family. Not unless you consider $1-million for 1,000-square-feet on the 10th floor of a tower in suburban Burnaby, B.C., reasonable. No, somehow, some way, governments need to encourage developers, through incentives or whatever it takes, to start building housing that the middle class can afford.

Right now, developers are getting everything their way. They are putting pressure on local politicians to speed up the approval process so they can erect more towers, more quickly, but they are doing nothing – nothing – about the costs of the units they are constructing. In fact, you could argue they are engaging in activity that is helping ensure the costs keep going up.

It’s ridiculous.’

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/sky-high-condo-prices-arent-a-supply-problem/article35091277/

EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

Editorial in the North Shore News today:

Source: EDITORIAL: Health and wealth

We celebrate this week with the District of North Vancouver and the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture on the (phased) opening of the new Delbrook Community Recreation Centre.

A community with a busy rec centre is a healthy community.

The district initially intended to pay some of the $53.5-million cost by selling off some of the old Delbrook land but, facing blowback from the community, council scrapped that plan and citizens will pay down the $28 million in debt and the accompanying interest largely through their taxes.

As municipalities go, rec centres are big, big-ticket items. The City of North Vancouver could be spending three times as much on a replacement for the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre depending on what amenities it will include.

Plenty of people in the aquatics community have questioned the wisdom of building two 25-metre pools within walking distance of each other when pool users from both sides of the city/district boundary say they’d prefer one (much more expensive) 50-metre one.

It’s a crystalline example of how, even with shared services like the recreation and culture, North Vancouverites’ interests are divided by silly borders.

But, as we saw with paying for Delbrook, a council can be persuaded.

On Monday night, the city council is holding a special meeting just to listen to presentations from Harry Jerome’s user groups.

On Tuesday night, the wider community is welcomed to offer their input at a town hall meeting at the Pinnacle Hotel. We encourage everyone to show up and help shape the rec centres that will keep them in shape.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-health-and-wealth-1.19669793#sthash.oVwJCmny.dpuf

Full CNV report details: http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/recreation/harry-jerome-rec-centre