Mature rental buildings versus the Broadway Plan. 324 West 10th Avenue sold for $16 million in March 2022. Are demovictions to follow if Council approves the Plan May 18?

Above: 324 West 10th Avenue (Villa Florencia) sold for $16.23 million on March 24, 2022.

How could mature rental apartment buildings be impacted by the proposed Broadway Plan? Tens of thousands of renters currently live in such buildings, at relatively affordable rents. They have established communities and relations with their neighbours. Here we’ll look at example where “the rubber hits the road” with the Broadway Plan covering nearly 500 city blocks from Clark to Vine and 1st to 16th Avenues, the final draft of which was just released on May 10th.

In this case study, we’ll examine a mature rental building at 324 West 10th Avenue. This site could potentially be redeveloped into a 20-storey tower with a Floor Space Ratio of 6.5, if the Broadway Plan were to be adopted by Vancouver City Council at a standing committee meeting on May 18th, 2022.

According to the Goodman Report, the 35-unit, 3-storey rental building at 324 West 10th Avenue sold for $16,230,000 on March 24, 2022. Goodman’s summary page lists the “development potential” to be “15-25 storeys based on Broadway Corridor Plan” on a lot measuring 150′ x 125′ (18,750 square feet). The site currently includes 30 parking stalls. There are 32 one-bedroom units with an average size of 600 square feet and an average rent of $1,397. There are 3 two-bedroom units with an average size of 750 square feet with an average rent of $1,875. The assessment for this property in 2021 was $10,660,000; thus, the sale represents a whopping 52% increase. In 2021, the land was valued at $7,476,000 while the building was worth $3,186,000. The detailed summary from the Goodman Report can be found here.

The final draft Broadway Plan provides the following description for the Mount Pleasant South Apartment Area zone that includes 324 West 10th Avenue:

One of the scenarios shown in the table is a rental tower with height of 20-storeys and a Floor Space Ratio of 6.5 FSR if 20% of the residential floor area is secured at “below market rents” — albeit by the City’s definition. A minimum frontage of 45.7m (150 ft) would be required, so this site fits the bill. This frontage requirement essentially marks large mature rental lots as easy sites for redevelopment.

What might a tower look like here? The storeys are un-dimensioned and no maximum height has yet been listed in the Broadway Plan by the City planners. For the sake of this analysis, we’ll assume a floor-to-floor height of 2.75m (9.02 ft) from the second floor up. For the tower size, we’ll assume a 24.0 m (78.74 ft) square floorplate (at 576 sq m or 6,200 sq ft it’s, a size just below the typical floorplate for a Vancouver highrise). This form for a 20-storey tower on the site would easily fit under a FSR of 6.5 (for the 18,750 SF site and still leave some area left over for a podium or another small building; note that FSR calculations contain exclusions). The site is currently zoned as RM-4. We’ve included a number of renderings of a tower on the site in the slideshow below.

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A few of the renderings in the slideshow show the current height view cone 3.1 from Queen Elizabeth Park; the Broadway Plan looks to weaken view cone protections and it seeks to move the QE view cone over Central Broadway higher up. At the current level, a 20-storey tower at this location would pierce this view cone. In addition to the mature rental units, this part of Mount Pleasant also has a number of high value heritage properties, both with protected sites and unprotected sites (an obvious concern as the Broadway Plan would create an incentive for lot assembly).

Here are a few open questions that we encourage the public to ask our elected officials to consider and take responsibility for in their votes to support or non support the Broadway Plan: How many rental properties have similarly changed hands recently? How many more mature rentals will be sold off if the Broadway Plan does come to pass? While Mayor Stewart has promised the “strongest renter protections in Canada” (Vancouver Sun, Dan  Fumano), what has the City’s track record been so far in actually protecting renters? Would the Broadway Plan actually open up the floodgates for waves of demovictions and redevelopment? We know that one prominent real estate firm already is billing itself as the go-to-place, the experts, on real estate potential in the Broadway Plan area. Stay tuned.

324 West 10th Avenue (Villa Florencia) is located in the Broadway Plan ‘Policy Area: Mt. Pleasant South Apartment Areas [MSAA]’

The Mt. Pleasant South Apartment Area could also include other sites with rentals. This is a rendering of 10th Avenue looking west with 100 block in the foreground (part of the ‘heritage row’) and includes two additional hypothetical towers. The 324 W10th Avenue site is to the left in the background.

A few maps of the Mount Pleasant Apartment Zones are reproduced below:

The earlier draft Broadway Plan summary posted in March of 2022 had designated this section of Mount Pleasant as a High-Rise Residential Apartment Area. The details are virtually unchanged now. Reproduced below is a table taken straight from the Policy Area for Mt. Pleasant South Apartment Areas [MSAA] (map cropped for clarity, site identified in enlarged area):

One of the scenarios shown in March of 2022 was for a rental tower with height of 20-storeys with a 5.5 to 6.5 FSR if 20% of the residential floor area was secured at below market rents (by the City’s definition). Despite this purportedly being professional and important planning document by certified planners, the storeys are un-dimensioned and only imperial measurements were provided. The minimum frontage was listed as a range of 100-150 ft. So in essence, nothing of substance has changed for this zone in the final Broadway Plan document after the final round of public consultation.

The agenda for the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities agenda May 18, 2022 was posted around 11am on May 10, 2022. As this is a committee meeting, anyone who wishes to speak must sign prior to the start of the meeting by 8:30am, and then the speakers list is closed. https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/pspc20220518ag.htm

To support public dialogue, we welcome interested parties (media, Vancouver residents, and neighbourhood associations, in particular) to use the independently generated renderings presented, with “Credit for renderings to Stephen Bohus, BLA.” We do appreciate a concise e-mail if you do (citizenYVR@gmail.com). For more detail on how the renderings were created, please see one of our previous posts.

2 thoughts on “Mature rental buildings versus the Broadway Plan. 324 West 10th Avenue sold for $16 million in March 2022. Are demovictions to follow if Council approves the Plan May 18?

  1. I think you can start signing up to speak starting Fri. May 13th at 830am.

    On Wed., May 11, 2022, 8:10 a.m. CityHallWatch: Tools to engage

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