Open house for 54-storey ‘Granville Gateway’ highrise (601 Beach Crescent) to straddle north end of bridge with ‘twisty tower’ Vancouver House: Mon 26-Nov-2018

Rendering granville gateway bldgs credit gbl architects

On the left is Westbank’s Granville House, now under construction. On the right it the proposed 54-storey tower, subject of today’s open house. Credit GBL Architects

Rezoning Open House
For proposed 54-storey “Granville Gateway” tower at 601 Beach Crescent
November 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Executive Hotel, Portofino Room, 1379 Howe Street

The applicant team and City of Vancouver staff will be present to answer questions. You can provide comments on this rezoning application by filling out the City’s online feedback form.

Below are links to recent media coverage (plus excerpts) on the rezoning application and storeys about the controversy with the site, originally owned by the citizens of Vancouver (via the City).

The two towers beside the north end of the Granville Bridge, one opening soon, and this one now going ahead for rezoning, could be considered a symbolic and prominent legacy of Vision Vancouver, which ruled with an absolute majority from 2008 until decimated in the October 2018 civic election.

CityHallWatch first started covering the Higher Buildings Policy, which enabled these towers and many more, in 2010. Through our FOI inquiries, we learned that the City sold the public land to Pinnacle for a fraction of what it is worth. (See 11-Sep-2018 story in TheBreaker News.)

Official information on the rezoning application is here:
Rezoning Application – 601 Beach Crescent
https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/601beach/index.htm

The City of Vancouver has received an application from GBL Architects Ltd. to rezone the site to a new Comprehensive Development (CD-1) District to permit the development of a 54-storey mixed-use building which includes:

  • 303 market residential units and 152 social housing units;
  • a floor space ratio (FSR) of 7.23;
  • 2,094 sq. m (22,543 sq. ft.) of commercial space at grade;
  • a floor area of 41,755 sq. m (449,444 sq. ft.);
  • a building height of 163 m (535 ft.); and
  • 442 underground parking spaces and 970 bicycle spaces.
  • The application is being considered under the Higher Buildings Policy.

The applicant is Pinnacle International, based in Vancouver and with property here and in San Diego, Toronto, and Mississauga. “Pinnacle International is one of North America’s leading builders of luxury condominium residences, master-planned communities, hotels and commercial developments.” The website does not indicate who owns the company.

With a rezoning Public Hearing likely in the coming months, now is the chance for taxpayers and citizens to scrutinize the details and see if the City has gotten a fair deal from this public land on behalf of the people it serves, the people of Vancouver. 

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Nov. 26 open house set for ‘Granville Gateway’ 54-storey tower proposal
Building envisioned for north end of bridge at 601 Beach Crescent across from Vancouver House  (Vancouver Courier, 20-Nov-2018)

https://www.vancourier.com/real-estate/nov-26-open-house-set-for-granville-gateway-54-storey-tower-proposal-1.23504052

Excerpt: Mark Nov. 26 on your calendar if you want to inspect plans for a 54-storey high rise envisioned for 601 Beach Crescent at the north end of Granville Bridge across from Westbank’s 49-storey Vancouver House ‘twisty tower’ that’s nearing completion. An open house for the Beach Crescent rezoning application is planned on that date. Pinnacle International and GBL Architects are involved in the project.

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Developer files application for 54-storey downtown Vancouver tower
What would be city’s fourth-tallest high-rise aims to echo under-construction Vancouver House opposite, to create new “Granville Gateway”
Joannah Connolly / Glacier Media Real Estate (Vancouver Courier, 10-Oct-2018)

https://www.vancourier.com/real-estate/developer-files-application-for-54-storey-downtown-vancouver-tower-images-1.23459188

Excerpt: A rezoning application, along with a fresh set of renderings, has been filed with the City of Vancouver for what would be the city’s fourth-tallest tower… Pinnacle International wants to build a 54-storey luxury high-rise at the north end of Granville Bridge, opposite the under-construction Vancouver House. Together the redevelopment of the Granville loop lands is intended to create the new “Granville Gateway” – a grand architectural entrance from the bridge into downtown Vancouver…. If built at the proposed 163 metres, 601 Beach Crescent would be the fourth-tallest tower in the city, after Shangri-La, Trump Tower and One Burrard Place.

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Exclusive: Did Vision Vancouver choose to subsidize another luxury tower on land meant for non-profit housing? (TheBreaker News, 11-Sep-2018)
https://thebreaker.news/news/beach-crescent-appraisal/

Excerpt: The Vision Vancouver-majority city council decided to sell land earmarked for non-profit housing to a luxury tower developer at a fraction of the appraised value, theBreaker has learned. Pinnacle International bought 601 Beach Crescent in November 2016 for $20 million, which was higher than the $8.1 million property assessment. But, documents obtained by CityHallWatch via freedom of information and provided to theBreaker, show that the land beside the north end of the Granville Bridge was appraised at $90 million to $160 million, depending on how high and dense a tower could be built on the site. In May of this year, Pinnacle revealed its plan to build a 52-storey tower near Westbank’s Vancouver House. The Pinnacle tower, designed by Shanghai’s JYOM International, would be 535 feet, compared to the 493-foot Vancouver House. Pinnacle must also build 152 affordable housing units, worth $44.5 million.

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City of Vancouver selling 1.42 acres once slated for non-profit housing, beside Granville Bridge. Future 500-foot-plus tower? (CityHallWatch, June 16, 2016)
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/city-selling-601-beach-cr-by-granville-bridge/

Excerpt: 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.

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City completes sale enabling 152 units of new affordable housing
November 21 2016  – The City’s official announcement of the sale of the lot.

http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/city-completes-sale-enabling-152-units-of-new-affordable-housing.aspx

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Controversial Vancouver property sale promises affordable housing (Frances Bula, The Globe and Mail, 21-Nov-2016)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouvers-controversial-property-sale-promises-affordable-housing/article32971938/

Excerpt: A controversial piece of property owned by the City of Vancouver has been sold to a local developer for $20-million and a promise to develop tens of millions of dollars’ worth of affordable-housing units. The city announced on Monday that Pinnacle International Inc. beat three other bidders for the property at 601 Beach Crescent downtown, near the Granville Bridge, with a commitment to provide 152 affordable-housing units.

In exchange, the developer is expected to seek higher density during a planned rezoning process for the property, allowing Pinnacle to build more than the 138 market units allowed there, although it is not clear how large the final project will be.

Vision Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie said no level of density for the property is guaranteed, and if Pinnacle does not like the final result, “there’s recourse for them.” Mr. Louie said he believes the public will see it is a good deal. “We’ll be judged when the information is available at the end.”

Mr. Louie, who said he could not provide a lot of details because the need to respect the confidential information from the in-camera meeting where the agreement was made, said Pinnacle will likely be asked to provide community benefits besides the housing units if extra density is granted, and will have to pay an additional $365 per square foot to the city for community amenities.

Aside from a potentially contentious rezoning process, the land is also the subject of a lawsuit against the city by Concord Pacific, which originally owned part of it.

The company started the lawsuit in August, as the city was asking for bids on the property. Concord said it had turned the land turned over to the city for social housing as required in Vancouver policy on mega-projects, not to be sold to another private developer.

… The agreement with Pinnacle echoes other controversial land deals in Vancouver, in which developers agreed to build social housing for the city as part of the sale conditions.

The public raised questions about how much density was promised to the developers in exchange, before any public hearing was held.

See original article for more – Little Mountain, etc.

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Concord sues Vancouver for trying to sell land intended for low-rise housing
(Frances Bula, The Globe and Mail, 19-Aug-2016)

Excerpt: One of Vancouver’s biggest developers is suing the city for trying to sell off a piece of land that was originally intended for a low-rise housing project when Concord Pacific turned it more than 20 years ago.

The land 601 Beach Cres. was one component of millions of dollars’ worth of community benefits Concord provided through negotiations with the city as part of the company’s massive redevelopment on the north shore of False Creek.

The site, which the city put up for sale in May, is in a formerly derelict part of town, next to the Granville Bridge.

However, it is now positioned directly across the bridge from an eye-popping development under construction, Ian Gillespie’s Vancouver House. That cantilevered tower, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and marketed as a high-end residence, is expected to transform the neighbourhood.

But Concord says that the site, which is made up of half Concord land and half land from another source, was supposed to be used for charitable, community purposes.

As well, the suit says, the sale will cause Concord “irreparable commercial harm.”

“It was an expressed and/or implied undertaking of the city that the Concord Lands would not be used for development of high-rise market housing, a use that would compete with Concord’s own development plans for its other lands,” says the suit, filed by Concord’s lawyer, Howard Shapray.

The lawsuit also asks for an immediate injunction to prevent the sale.

Concord has offered to buy back the land at a fair market price.

…. Concord Pacific is the company that has been developing former industrial land on the north shore of False Creek since 1987, when the provincial government decided to sell the 67 acres after Expo 86 was held there.

It has since built about 10,000 units of housing that accommodate a population of more than 13,000. As part of the redevelopment, the company was required to provide land for schools, daycares, parks and social housing.

According to city policy, all mega-projects are supposed to incorporate 20-per-cent social housing, with the developer providing the land and other levels of government providing the money for construction.

That arrangement has been under stress since 1994, when the federal Liberal government ended its support for new social-housing projects. Since then, several sites on the Concord lands, designated for social housing, have sat undeveloped.

The land at 601 Beach is one of four parcels set aside just in Area 1, one of six designated sectors of the Concord lands.

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