WEN has obtained information that things are picking up at Maxine’s (1215 Bidwell), which was rezoned in December 2009 as the first project under the Short Term Incentives for Rental (Housing) program. (For details about the rezoning, click here.)
STIR was adopted quietly in 2009 by the current Vision Vancouver City Council (with no public input, and largely as a stimulus package for the construction industry) and it gives major incentives (over $100,000 per apartment in this case) to developers in return for building what amounts to expensive rental apartments. The owner (Millennium) at the time of the rezoning has since gone into receivership due to financial problems connected with its involvement in the Olympic Village, and the property is apparently now owned by Concord Pacific. The development includes 49 small rental apartments under the STIR program, and about 85 condo units, many of them high-end (top price over $1 million). As the site was originally zoned outright for six storeys maximum, this 21-storey (confirm) tower would never have been permitted had it not been for the STIR program.
Here are some important updates, especially for the nearest neighbours.
- Demolition of Maxine’s may be coming soon. We have received unofficial word that the demolition permit for this site was issued by the city today (#DB437064) and that preparation for demolition might begin next week.
- Demolition can cause considerable disturbances (noise, dust, traffic, ground vibration, etc.) to your daily life, especially in a densely populated neighbourhood like the West End. We have discovered from a demolition at 1401 Comox St. that the City’s current regulations are considerably weaker than in a city like Toronto, and fail to adequately protect local residents from disturbances. It is important for locals to be proactive, know the rules, and respond quickly to pressure the City to stay on top of the situation. For information about issues surrounding nuisances from demolition please visit http://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/special-topics/demolition-its-impacts-recycling-and-vancouver-building-bylaw/
- Concord Pacific Investments apparently has permission from the City to use public space on the City street to mount a display model and market the yet-to-be-built luxury condo units, with top prices over a million dollars.