Earlier today, The Kettle Society and Boffo Properties announced the cancellation of the Kettle-Boffo project, a proposed 12-storey, mixed-use development at the northwest corner of Commercial Drive and Venables. Kettle-Boffo would have provided:

  • up to 30 units of supportive housing to local residents
  • approximately 200 market homes (1-3 bedroom apartment units)
  • a new facility for The Kettle Society
  • 18,000 square feet of retail.

The proponents say that due to the city’s financial requirements, the project was no longer economically feasible; city staff say they ‘went to the wall‘ for Kettle-Boffo.

So we’re asking candidates in Vancouver’s 2018 civic election — what would you have done to close the gap between the city and Kettle-Boffo?*

We’re sending this question to every mayor and council candidate on the list maintained by The Cambie Report podcast team. We’ll publish responses as they come in.

*For the four incumbent councillors, the question is, “Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?”

Comments

  1. Yeah, they probably can’t recoup additional CAC costs in the Strathcona area the same way that developers can pass on higher costs to purchasers in the Cambie Corridor or other Westside neighbourhoods.

    1. It’s more Grandview-Woodland than Strathcona, but you’re correct, this wouldn’t attract the same land lift that a Westside project would generate. But presumably the City of Vancouver wouldn’t expect it to generate the same land lift as west side projects.

      A fair comparison would be Strathcona Village, just completing on East Hastings. That was negotiated a few years ago when real estate values in the area were quite a lot less. Buyers paid around $500 per square foot when sales started four years ago – they’re now looking to sell at over $800 per square foot, so that’s probably less than the Commercial drive location would command. Boheme condos, also on East Hastings near the end of the Drive sell at over $900 per square foot. The Strathcona Village rezoning saw the City of Vancouver receive a parcel of 70 non-market units to rent, with the developer retaining 280 condos to sell. That suggests the offer here of ‘up to’ 30 non-market units in association with 200 condos wasn’t a particularly generous offer – and it would appear that it was a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, as Boffo have decided not to submit a rezoning, so a negotiation never actually took place.

      It was also a much more ambitious project for Boffo than they’ve ever undertaken – this is not the same Boffo building a tower Downtown, their projects generally have up to 50 units. In a possibly cooling market (as interest rates and stress tests start to impact the ability of buyers to get into the market) it may be that other reasons also influenced the decision to pull the plug.

      The City of Vancouver have an opportunity to work with the Kettle to fulfill their plans. It will be interesting to see if Boffo want to develop the odd parcels they own to current zoning, or sell them. If they dispose of them, provided the sites are reasonably priced, it may even allow the City to acquire them and put together a much-needed rental project, incorporating the Kettle units.

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