A rezoning proposal for a 215 foot office tower at Great Northern Way and 1980 Foley Street will be at Vancouver City Council on Thursday, January 23rd at 6pm. A building height of 215 feet (65.5m) with a total floor area of 518,369 sq. ft (48,158 sq. m) and a total of 840 parking spots is being requested. The rezoning also seeks to add retail and cafe/restaurant uses to the ground floor level. This rezoning is item #6 on the agenda as 1980 Foley Street (email for letters: firstname.lastname@example.org).
There would be no Community Amenity Contribution or CAC in this rezoning. The staff report states the following: “As there is no increase in floor area proposed in the text amendment application, no Community Amenity Contribution or Commercial Linkage Target applies.” (p.15)
Are staff really saying that by increasing the maximum building height from 120 feet to 215 feet (or 36.6m to 65.5m), there will be absolutely no impact on property values? According to VanMap, the current land value of this property is $85,927,000. The City could seek to capture 75% of the land lift, which would be difference in the value of the land before the rezoning and after. Here is a key question: Is the City potentially forgoing millions of dollars in Community Amenity Contributions?
It’s worth noting that this proposal, at 215′, is the same height as the 21-storey Independent by Rize at Kingsway and 10th Avenue (see CD-1 here). The floor height is not taken into consideration by staff. While this building proposal is ’13-storeys’, the floor heights for office uses are often higher than residential uses. At a 9′ floor height, 13-storeys would come in at 117 feet (which is actually within the current 120′ zoning for the property). In this rezoning proposal, levels 2 through 12 have floor heights of 4.00m (or 13.12′). This rezoning, being as tall at the Independent with a larger floorplate, would create a large impact on views from south of the site (for residents on East 6th, 7th, 8th, Broadway, 10th and other streets in the area).
This rezoning has the potential to make Industrial Land even more expensive. Art spaces in industrial zones could continue to become prohibitively expensive due to increased tax assessments. Could other parcels in the neighbouring Finning Lands be rezoned and sold off for office uses (specifically the adjacent and now empty lands between this site and Emily Carr Campus & the Hanger)? Could it result in a piecemeal sell-off of land that was once conceived to be a major campus hub with multiple universities involved?
The CACs from previous rezonings of this site have been scant. In 2009, a rezoning change of the land use designation to allow for general office, with a CAC equivalent of $2.1 million. The original rezoning for the 25.4 acre Finning Lands in 1999 CAC would be very minor when diluted to this site (links to reports further below).
The site is the easternmost parcel in the Finning Lands (CD-402) that were originally rezoned in 1999. The property is located across from western tip of China Creek North Park (it is about halfway between Emily Carr Campus and VCC).
Staff report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200123/documents/rr9.pdf
Rezoning Centre (plans): https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1980foley/index.htm
Bylaw revisions: https://app.vancouver.ca/bylaw_net/Report.aspx?bylawid=8131
consolidated change: https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/consolidated/8131.PDF
Design Guidelines: https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/CD-1/G001.pdf
Sept 21, 1999 Public Hearing (original rezoning): https://council.vancouver.ca/previous_years/990921/990921ph.htm
Policy report for 2009 rezoning: https://council.vancouver.ca/20091006/documents/phea2.pdf
(to permit the addition of General Office, Financial Institution, Health Care Office and Health Enhancement Centre)
Previous CAC in 2009 (minutes of Oct 6 & 8, 2009 Public Hearing): https://council.vancouver.ca/20091006/documents/phea20091006min.pdf
“COMMUNITY AMENITY CONTRIBUTION (i) secure the registered owner’s offer of an on-site community amenity contribution to lease approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of improved leasable area in the building located at 887 Great Northern Way for use by early stage technology companies, each for a period of nine (9) months, at no cost to these companies, over a 20-year term, having an equivalent potential value of $2,100,000, such offer to be secured by way of a lease or such other mechanism as is satisfactory to the Director of Legal Services, including that if the 20-year term is shortened for whatever reason the registered owner will pay to the City the value of the unexpired term.
If required by the City, this obligation will be secured by a charge against title to both the Northern Way parcel and the 1980 Foley Street parcel.” (pp. 4-5, emphasis added)
This previous CD-1 amended was then passed resulting from the 2009 public hearing (enacted on July 20, 2010):
Great Northern Campus CD-1 (with Sub Area numbering for height):