Preamble: Below are excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Now Arriving: New Condos at Vancouver Train Stations. About 50 projects are under development along Vancouver’s rapid-transit lines.” (We are not aware of any subsequent local coverage along these lines. Not yet.)
With rapid transit comes many things, not the least being towers, densification, land speculation, skyrocketing land prices, demolitions, and rental evictions. We have seen this pattern. Consider the Cambie Corridor (Vancouver), and major towers in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and elsewhere. Metro Vancouver is racing along this track (think Broadway Corridor aspirations). The developer industry is happy, of course, but how about the general populace and net impacts on society? The public needs to get involved more. Metro Vancouver is about to launch a study entitled “Transportation Planning and Governance in Metro Vancouver,” on “options to strengthen the connection between land use and transportation planning.” (More on that later….)
Now Arriving: New Condos at Vancouver Train Stations
About 50 projects are under development along Vancouver’s rapid-transit lines
By Kris Hudson, Wall Street Journal, 1-Sept-2015
(Excerpts only.Please go to the WSJ for full article.)
- COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Months before the debut of the newest extension of Vancouver’s rapid-transit rail system, a new station in this sleepy suburb is flanked by towering construction cranes and lumbering excavators.
- The scene, an erecting of two condominium towers and a grocery store, is a familiar one throughout this lush, mountainous region. Developers, pension funds and big banks are racing to build thousands of condos and commercial complexes along the rail lines, pushing the metro area to the forefront of North American cities clustering billions of dollars of development around rail stops.
- About 50 projects are under development along Vancouver’s now-49 miles of rapid-transit rail lines, representing more than C$15 billion ($11.4 billion) of development costs, according to officials at TransLink, the region’s transportation agency formally known as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. The boom has enticed several of Canada’s biggest real-estate developers, lenders such as Royal Bank of Canada and equity partners like Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.
- … Vancouver’s surge of development near train stations was sparked in 2009, when TransLink expanded its 30-mile rail system by opening a C$2 billion, 12-mile extension, called the Canada line, from downtown to Vancouver International Airport in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It gained more momentum with the scheduled opening next year of the C$1.4 billion, seven-mile Evergreen line extending east into Vancouver’s suburbs.
- Since 2012, developers in the region have constructed more than 8,700 condominiums near the rail lines, with another 13,100 in planning and development as of this year, according to residential-analysis firm Urban Analytics Inc.
- ….There also are drawbacks to the transit booms. In Vancouver, land prices for parcels near some of the new rail stops have increased sharply, causing some developers to balk. Real-estate advisory company Altus Group Ltd. calculates that land values have more than doubled since 2010 along the Canada line, to an average of $463 a square foot from $191.
- Investors are cashing in by assembling home sites near new rail stops to sell to developers planning condo towers or mixed-use complexes. …