It is not sustainable in the long run, to see a vast exodus of folks in their 20s and 30s (from Delta). We cannot have an exclusionary community based on income, any more than we can have a community segregated by age. Delta needs to be what it has always been – a place where everyone is welcome, and where there are housing options for you, regardless of what the numbers are on your birth certificate or your income tax return. .The proposal in question was for a 35-storey high-rise on Scott Road and 75A, which included an affordable housing component that would see 70 units (20%) offered under the Affordable Home Ownership Program in partnership with BC Housing. . Cllr Dylan Kruger voted in favour, along with Mayor Harvie, but the rest of council voted against and the proposal, after a contentious public hearing, decisively lost. Knowing this was a critical vote, Kruger took the opportunity to write out his position. Here is an abridged version (the full text can be found here). . . A Vote for Delta’s Future . I think this is a well-put together application. The building is aesthetically pleasing, and would certainly be a Delta landmark if approved. The unit mix is appropriate for the desired market, which is first time home owners, young professionals, young families and seniors looking to downsize. … Read more »
The New York Times explores the Boardwalks of real-estate development:
… the surface lots that are peppered throughout cities, a vestige of a time decades ago when car ownership had surged and mass transit use had declined. Surface lots bloomed throughout the country, in big and small markets. Now, these lots are becoming more valuable.
“It’s like when you’re playing Monopoly, and you get your ticket for Boardwalk — that’s how rare it is,” said Gina Farruggio, a broker …
Sales of such lots in the U.S. have surged to more than 200 in 2016 – more than double the amount in 2006 through 2014. It’s something that’s been going in Metro Vancouver for several decades – and at a vastly different scale.
The Times profiles a major development in Los Angeles at Culver City along the Expo Line:
The 500,000-square-foot development (on 5.2 acres), called Ivy Station, is expected to open next year with 200 apartments as well as 240,000 square feet of office space, 55,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, plus a hotel.
Amazing Brentwood by comparison is on 28 acres: 1,300,000 square feet of retail, 500,000 square feet of office, and about 1,700 residential units.
Perhaps not comparable given the difference in area – except for one thing.
- At Ivy Station: 1,500 parking spaces.
- At Amazing Brentwood: 1,400.
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Goodman, Vancouver’s pre-eminent seller of small (and some large) apartment blocks, has raised the alert about a Council motion that emerged from the Rental Incentives Review. The gate-worthy motion instructs staff “to prepare a report for consideration for referral to public hearing” that would extend rental replacement requirements.
…. older commercial properties with three or more rental apartments will be bound by rate-of-change regulations and will have to replace those rental apartments upon redevelopment, including redevelopment to four-storey condos.
A few observations.
If you’re in the hysteria business, don’t -gate your issue. Overuse, like inflated currency, lessens value.
Goodman maintains that this move, if enacted, would “reduce the residual land value of these commercial properties. (This) amounts to a downzoning.” Leaving aside whether that is technically a downzoning, the conclusion is nonetheless “that if you own a C-2 zoned site in Vancouver, your property is on its way to devaluation.”
That, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the price will drop commensurately. It may mean that owners over time won’t get as much a return as they might have otherwise.
It may also mean that these regulations kill off re-development and new rental housing along arterials and in some commercial zones. But it’s hard to get as excited about something that may not happen as it is to protest the loss of existing rental stock.
It’s also hard for those who have seen a spectacular rise in their asset value to receive sympathy if the rise in the worth of their property is consequently less spectacular. Sympathy tends to go to those downstream who pay the increased rents from the spectacular rise.
It’s surprising that the rental replacement policy isn’t already in place for apartments along commercial strips. If Burnaby had had that requirement for its rental stock south of Metrotown, Derek Corrigan might still be mayor. In the current political climate (elections have consequences), it will be hard to persuade the Vancouver council that they shouldn’t take action to protect the rental housing stock.
However, Goodman does possibly raise something gate-worthy at the end of the missive:
“The 5th bullet says to direct staff to report back on:
“The possibility of using zoning similar to the DEOD (Downtown East Side-Oppenheimer) zoning (60% social housing and 40% rental for anything above 1 FSR) to depress land prices so it will be cheaper to buy for non-market housing.”
Gee, I wonder which councillor moved that motion. Announcing that the intent of your policy is to sterilize land values so you can pick it up cheap won’t go down well in in the business community, or in the courts.Read more »
Sesame Street is 50.
The Washington Post celebrates its Kennedy honours here.
While us Boomers weren’t the target market (by 20, I knew my alphabet), our kids were – and every generation thereafter. But Sesame Street did teach me a lot about a particular version of New York – a working class street of brownstones, stoops, a mix of shops and homes, a mix of people. This was not the suburbia of my neighbourhood or the rest of sit-com TV.
And while this version of New York was, well, nice, it was also edgier than even today’s version of the show, and it prepared me for a New York in the late 1970s and 80s that was anything but nice. As the Post writer recollects:
On a recent afternoon’s binge, I watched one “Sesame” musical number from 1975 called “The Subway!” several times in a row. It’s funny and impressively clever — edgy, even, when compared with the show’s present-day tone. “You could lose your purse; or you might lose something worse, on the subway,” sang an old-lady Muppet, squeezed into a subway car with a trenchcoated Kermit the Frog, a testy Bert and too many others.
Sesame Street taught me the ABCs of an urbanity of which I had no experience. And so, when I had the chance to experience it, I saw the city not just as some dangerous, undesirable, perverse world but as a place to which I had been given an introduction by a green frog and his friends – even the underground world of The Subway.
*Here are the lyrics to The Subway:Read more »
We have a new downtown neighbourhood – or at least a new name for a neighbourhood.
The Chandelier District.
The blocks between the Burrard and Granville Bridges, south of Pacific, are labelled as “Beach” on some city plans, or Granville Slopes. Maybe it’s south Downtown South. Or west Yaletown east of the West End. No one calls it any of that.
The Hornby-Howe blocks serve as the squared-out equivalent of a cloverleaf off-ramp from the Burrard Bridge to get vehicles to the West End, or as a bypass to avoid Pacific. Wait til Vancouver House opens. Wait til the grocery store and other services go in under the bridge. One guess what the identifying graphic will be for this commercial hub.
Ian Gillespie of Westbank consolidated the public-art requirement to fund the $5-million price tag on Rodney Graham’s artwork. The media immediately grabbed on to a presumed controversy, thereby achieving what progressives believe art is supposed to do: create a conversation.
So far the conversation consists of a lot of swipes and doubts: bling for the rich, a slap in the face for those who can’t afford the unaffordable city, a gesture of contempt on the day after the homeless count was released. It will be vandalized. It will be a target for the stoned, the drunk, and the pigeons. It will get dust covered*.
Could the money have been better spent on housing for the homeless? Of course. So could the money we spend on flower gardens. That’s zero-sum budgeting.
Development-required public art is not, strictly speaking, funded by taxpayer dollars, nor is the extraordinary collection that comes with the Sculpture Biennale. But the perception that there’s tax dollars involved or the millions could have been better spent is a consideration when political leaders are asked to devote more to the arts and they’re wondering if they’re going to end up on the wrong side of a microphone.
Artists, on the other hand, cry out for more – more public art, more protected studio space, more galleries and even more housing. They assume the public wants a city with art and a place for them.
Fortunately, the city does. Particularly if its Instagram and selfie-friendly.
Graham did get an ideal location: lots of room for the work to breathe, perfectly balanced on all sides, high enough to avoid vehicles, with a backdrop of uninterrupted sky to the east that will not change, thanks to the park beyond.
So if not ‘Chandelier District,’ what’s better?
- *Fair warning: art with moving pieces will have to be scrupulously cleaned and maintained. This one drops and spins. Unfortunately, I can’t think of an artwork with moving pieces that still does. Except the Steamclock, and it gets a lot of care and attention.
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