City of Vancouver selling 1.42 acres once slated for non-profit housing, beside Granville Bridge. Future 500-foot-plus tower?

model granville loops

Model displayed at a February 2013 open house for what became the “Vancouver House” (tall building centre-left) shows a tower much taller than 425′ (foreground) at 601 Beach Crescent. Site currently for sale. Submissions due by 27-Jul-2016.

(Updated) This is public land. Careful public scrutiny is crucial to ensure what happens here is a good deal for the people of Vancouver. In the past several days, the City of Vancouver posted a notice of City-owned land for sale, at 601 Beach Crescent — beside (east of) the Granville Bridge. The deadline for offers is July 27, 2016.

(We have changed the headline to replace “425-feet” with “500 feet.” The future developer and developer-funded Council majority would likely use the 509-foot foot tower on the west side of the bridge as a precedent for height, and justify  it by saying the height should be “symmetrical” for the “gateway” effect. This is how the current regime operates in the City of Vancouver. It is time to ban corporate and union donations from municipal politics. But if Council is using its license to print money using public land, it is important for the public to scrutinize and ensure that it is getting full return on investment by extracting the maximum possible from the land lift for public  coffers.)

Here is the notice. CoV notice, 601 Beach Crescent for sale, City property, June 2016

601 Beach Crescent for sale, City property, June 2016 poster

For-sale notice posted on City of Vancouver website


The 1.42-acre site is irregularly-shaped and currently vacant, and its location mirrors the “Vancouver House” site at 1400 Howe Street (Westbank Projects Corp., now under construction).

City of Vancouver planning documents (“Implementation of ‘Vancouver Views’ and Opportunities for Higher Buildings in the Downtown,” 21-Jan-2011) show the potential height at 425 feet, same as what was originally planned at the Vancouver House site (which was later approved at 509 feet).

CityHallWatch believe that greater public scrutiny is needed for valuations done by the City’s real estate department to ensure that full public value is obtained when any public land is sold. The processes and decisions regarding disposition of public land also require greater public attention.

Perhaps City officials should also publicly provide information about the reasons for the timing of this sale, and what is planned with the proceeds. Who is involved in reviewing bids?

Incidentally, as far as we know, the City has not made any public announcement about the results of a 2014 “for-sale” announcement for the Eastern Granville Loop, immediately northeast of the current site for sale (see map above). (The deadline for submissions on the latter was August 15, 2014).

HAHR heights at South end of Granville Bridge pre 2011

Before Council adopted the “Vancouver Views” policy in January 2011, the permitted height at 601 Beach Crescent (right, green tower) was 185 feet.

Council boosted the permitted height at 601 Beach to 425 feet when it adopted "Vancouver Views" polity in Jan 2011.

Council boosted the permitted height at 601 Beach Crescent (right, green tower) to 425 feet when it adopted “Vancouver Views” policy in Jan 2011. (Vancouver House on left ended up at 509 feet. How did that happen?)

Non-profit housing was planned on site

CityHallWatch reported in 2012 that non-profit housing was originally intended for the site currently for sale at 601 Beach Crescent. See “Granville Loops sites once slated for Non-Profit Housing on City owned land” (31-Aug-2012). We are not aware of when City officials actually discussed and decided to change plans for this site.

CityHallWatch reported on the sale of the land nearby. See “Watch this! Public land sale: Eastern Granville Loop, with bridge ramp demolition, new Aquatic Centre, tall tower” (30-Jul-2014). As far as we know, the outcome of this sale of public land has not been reported by the City or covered in the media. Who bought it, who owns it now, and what were the proceeds for the City (i.e., the citizens of Vancouver)?

CityHallWatch also reported “City owns majority of Granville mega-development rezoning site – huge ramifications on process & views” (31-Aug-2012).

Also, we have noted before that, as far as we know, the City has never revoked the “Bridgehead Guidelines (Vancouver, 1997),” which prescribe rules to protect views from bridge access points in Vancouver.


Image displayed at Feb 2013 open house for the “Vancouver House” (right) also shows location and the possible height of a future building at 601 Beach Crescent.

3 thoughts on “City of Vancouver selling 1.42 acres once slated for non-profit housing, beside Granville Bridge. Future 500-foot-plus tower?

  1. City should not be owning land it should be monitoring land with latest technics and surveillance owner must produce all identity

  2. The East Granville Loop sale process was halted in late 2014 or early 2015. The City still owns it (a quick land titles check will show that). I’m pretty sure it was halted because of the ruling that was coming down at the time regarding the Brenhill development and Jubilee house, and the fuzziness of the definition of social housing and so on.

    As for the aquatic centre that was rumoured to be moved here, it won’t happen. The parcel being sold will eventually be bisected by a road. Neither side of the road leaves enough room for an aquatic centre to be built.

    Regarding most of your other questions, perhaps you should get a copy of the sales package from the City. It probably has a lot of that info.

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