Westin Bayshore Hotel site reported sold for $290 million. A look at land lift and zoning

Westin Hotel site and view

The Westin Bayshore Hotel has reportedly been sold to Concord Pacific for $290 million. Reports of the rumoured sale were published in articles in The Vancouver Sun (by Jeff Lee, Sept 5, 2015) and in the Straight (by Charlie Smith, Sept 4, 2015).

Westin HotelIf the sale did indeed take place, then is Vancouver looking forward to a cluster of 500′ towers by the water’s edge? Or will the restrictions put in place under the current zoning for the site be respected in the future?

The Westin Bayshore property is 241,286 sq feet (22,416 m2) or 5.5 acres in size. The 2015 Assessed value for the site was set at $115,307,000 ($61.8M land and $53.5M buildings). In other words, there is a difference of $174.4 million between the assessed value and the reported sale price. If this is true, has much of the possible ‘land lift’ already been captured by private corporations prior to any future rezoning? The rezoning process should generally capture around 75% of the ‘land lift’ for the City, and in this case that’s $131 million (in CACs and other foregone public benefits).

The current zoning allows for the construction of two additional towers of 16-storeys and 18-storeys in height (or 47m and 55m respectively) on the Bayshore Westin Hotel site, for mostly hotel related uses. The zoning sets a limit of 85 dwelling units for the Westin Hotel site (with a possibility for a modest increase). The maximum height limit is 55 metres (180 feet). The Westin Hotel is a sub-area in a larger area of land between Denman and Cardero, Georgia and Coal Harbour (CD-1 321). The Bayshore Gardens CD-1 Guidelines are applicable to the Westin Hotel sub-area. The site is “intended to serve as an attraction, not a barrier”; a couple of view corridors are also defined through the site:

westin hotel view corridors

Two additional towers can be developed on the following locations (included table shows maximum heights):westin hotel precinct and table

It is worth noting that there are a couple of 500′ tower proposals near West Georgia and Cardero (at 1550 Alberni and at 1500 West Georgia). Here are a few open questions: Are there new development plans already underway for a number of very tall towers on the Westin Hotel site? Is there an expectation that the site will be rezoned again? Why would a developer pay a 150% premium over the assessed value of the property?

Westin Bayshore South side Westin Bayshore east side

Westin VanMap

The main Westin Bayshore site in VanMap

Westin site dwelling units
Dwelling units and organizing principles (current zoning and guidelines)
Westin view corridors
References

Vancouver’s Bayshore Hotel sold for redevelopment potential, By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun September 5, 2015 (also see the comments under the article)

Westin Bayshore reportedly sold to Concord Pacific, by Charlie Smith on September 4th, 2015

Vancouver Hotel That Housed Howard Hughes Offers New Whodunit – Westin Bayshore nearing sale for roughly C$270 million to C$290 million (by Doublas Feiden, Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2015)

CD-1 (321) bylaw (1601 West Georgia Street), CD-1 (321) bylaw and backup notes

Bayshore Gardens CD-1 Guidelines

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