As people around the world scratch their heads today to figure out which news stories are real and which are April Fools’ jokes, CityHallWatch has one for you. (Afternoon update, 1-Apr-2014: This is NOT an April Fool’s Joke. The public should not let this assessment matter go unnoticed. Other taxpayers foot the bill. Our politicians are responsible for fixing the problem, so perhaps they should hear from you — MLA and City Council.)
The 9 acre parcel of land owned by Concord Pacific (which bills itself as “Canada’s largest community builder”) at 88 Pacific Blvd is assessed at $1. This property houses a sales centre complete with generous parking for clients. There’s even space left over for a pay parking section as well as space that can be leased out to hold events such as Cirque du Soleil. The 2010 Olympics hosted the Quebec pavilion on the site and the rent paid for approximately one month was reported to be $1.3 million.
As City Council debates the 2013 Property Tax Exemptions during the Council meeting on April 1st, it appears that one of the biggest corporations benefiting from a tax exemption is Concord Pacific. The so-called ‘temporary’ sales office has almost become a permanent fixture on False Creek. Concord Pacific derives great benefit from using this space because leasing commercial space for a sales centre elsewhere in the city would come at a substantial expense.
The justification used by Concord for the $1 assessment hinges on an agreement that stipulates that a park will be provided on this site, at some time in the future. Residents have been waiting for decades. The property at 88 Pacific Blvd is located east of Carrall and north of False Creek. The context is illustrated below in Google Maps and VanMap:
There are two parcels of land labelled as 811 Carrall Street. The smaller parcel is assessed at $2042. The larger parcel to the south, however, is assessed at $10,077,753 for 2014. This is a decrease in previous land valuation from 2013 that was of $14,588,417. Concord donated $36,250 to Vision Vancouver back in 2011. An open question is whether City Hall will fight BC Assessment’s $1 valuation of this property.
The assessment value is an issue of fairness to all taxpayers. When valuable Concord land is assessed at $1 or $2048, other property owners in the City have to pay more to make up for the shortfall. One of the parcels is used for a SoleFood garden, and is assessed at $2,042; this parcel can also be seen in the following photo:
The lot on the south side (also at 811 Carrall) is assessed at $10,077,753 for 2014.Pictured are the sales offices:
WestPark provides pay parking on the Concord land assessed at $1. The parking lot is also rented out to park trucks for film crews.Events such as the 2010 Olympics also generate revenues for the owner through a lease. Pictured below is the Quebec Pavilion (La Maison du Quebec, $1.3 million rental). The significantly larger Canada Hockey House (~80,000 sq feet) is also pictured in the background (rent unknown). False Creek (March 2014)