West End Plan will spark a real estate boom here, says Business in Vancouver (June 17, 2014)

West End aerial view, in CoV WE Plan draft 22-Oct-2013Business in Vancouver carries an interesting story about the West End Community Plan.

Real Estate Boom Projected For Vancouver’s West End: A new community plan unlocks value—and development potential—in one of Vancouver’s most storied (and storeyed) neighbourhoods
(by Margo Harper, June 17, 2014)

WEN has raised many issues about flaws in the public engagement process that led to the adoption of the Plan in November 2013, and a package of major zoning amendments in January 2014. Did the community get the full goods during the process? Now we are beginning to see what the Plan is looking like for the real estate and development industry. In time, we will have a better understanding of impacts on our community. Who benefits and who loses from the Plan? Below are some excerpts and relevant points. We encourage readers to also see the full original article.

Real Estate Boom Projected For Vancouver’s West End

Vancouver’s West End is on the verge of a dramatic real estate revival sparked by density brought on by a recent community plan, according to a real estate industry report to be released Thursday.

The article goes on to indicate how important the West End Plan will be for a development boom in our neighbourhood.

The report, to be issued on June 19, is Colliers Spring 2014 LandShare Report, “which analyzes sales, rezoning and development applications in all municipalities, Metro Vancouver has seen a surge in the completion of larger scale transactions since the beginning of the year after recently introduced community plans spurred land owners to sell. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than Vancouver’s densest urban village.”

“Nothing would have happened without the West End community plan,” says James Lang, the market intelligence manager for Colliers International Realty. “That plan unlocked value and growth potential in the downtown core where land is so scarce.” 
“…There are other ones [real estate deals] in play that I can’t talk about yet,” says Lang. “We are expecting three or four significant sales to close soon. These will be quite large transactions for existing buildings. When the community plan came in, the land value went up. The land is now worth much more than the buildings, so it makes sense to redevelop.”
The Rental 100 program—while a boon for developers—has not been without community controversy. The West End Neighbours Association (WEN) has challenged the program several times in B.C. Supreme Court—most recently on the grounds that it would not provide affordable housing to Vancouver renters. In a recent decision, the B.C. Supreme Court found that the City has wide discretion to define housing affordability, and said further definition is best left to voters at the ballot box.

In a press release, WEN director Virginia Richards criticized the city rental program which has “virtually unlimited powers to give developers incentives without producing affordable housing.” 

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