2015-06-20: Community planning in the news

2015-06-20: Community planning in the news

—Vacant homes turn Cambie Corridor into ‘slum’
—Reports point fingers over who’s driving up Metro Vancouver property prices
—Gentrification knocking at Strathcona’s door
—Playing Dunbar’s lucrative flip side
—Citizens’ group recommends slashing tower height at Commercial and Broadway

Vacant homes turn Cambie Corridor into ‘slum’
By Frank Luba, The Province – June 17, 2015 7:36 AM

Todd Constant’s Vancouver view is disappearing because of development — but what really bothers him is the loss of his neighbourhood.

Constant lives in the Cambie Corridor, which is changing from an area of mostly gracious single-family homes to higher density developments of up to six storeys. But as the multi-million-dollar homes are purchased for assembly into larger parcels to permit such changes, they’re left vacant and subject to everything from squatting to parties to theft.
“It’s the short-term destruction of the community,” he said. “We had a community. I had great neighbours.”

But pricey acquisition of homes along Cambie for higher density isn’t going to result in cheaper housing.

“They’re not building affordable housing,” said Constant. “None of them are catering to families. Where have all the families gone?”

For full article, click on title (link) above.

Reports point fingers over who’s driving up Metro Vancouver property prices
By Sam Cooper, The Province – June 17, 2015 7:36 AM

A new study commissioned by the City of Vancouver rejects the B.C. government’s argument that the city’s soaring take of development fees — specifically Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) — is forcing housing prices to rise.

The real “culprit,” said the report from Coriolis Consulting, is that Vancouver “has become part of a global real estate market,” with strong demand from foreign investors as well as Canadian investors and local home buyers.

That finding supports Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s recent request for B.C. Premier Christy Clark to intervene with measures, including a speculation tax and higher tax on luxury home transactions.

For full article, click on title (link) above.

Gentrification knocking at Strathcona’s door
Rising property values threaten neighbourhood’s unique commercial character, advocate says
Business in Vancouver, June 12, 2015

It’s a common pattern in cities around the world: artists and creative businesses are attracted to a rundown urban neighbourhood by cheap rent. New development and investment follows and property values rise.

Next thing you know, there’s a Starbucks on every corner and a once-interesting streetscape has become uniform and boring.

Members of Strathcona’s vibrant business community are trying to figure out how to keep the area from falling into that familiar gentrification pattern. At the second annual Made in Strathcona event on June 13, the Strathcona Business Improvement Area (SBIA) is slated to show off the diverse manufacturing and creative businesses that make the neighbourhood their home.

For full article, click on title (link) above.

Playing Dunbar’s lucrative flip side
West-side neighbourhood is Vancouver’s hottest real estate “flip” market
Business in Vancouver, June 16, 2015

Approximately 20% of Vancouver detached-housing sales can be defined as flips – the buying and selling of a property in less than 12 months – and Dunbar is the city’s hottest flipping market.

Dunbar, an established west-side Vancouver neighbourhood where the typical price of a house is now $2.27 million, accounted for 30 of the 328 detached-house flips in the city during 2014 and the first five months of this year, based on exclusive research done for Business in Vancouver by New Westminster’s Landcor Data Corp.
As Leong explained, if an investor bought a house for $1 million and flipped it a few months later for $1.1 million, he or she would have to pay $18,000 in B.C.’s property purchase tax. Realtor commissions to sell the house would total around $33,500. The capital gains tax, likely at the highest tax bracket, would be roughly $30,000.

“So now your $100,000 gain is down to less than $20,000, and you still have to add in the carrying costs of financing of around $4,000 per month while the house is for sale,” he said.

“It would be hard to make a big profit on such a flip,” Leong said. “Actually the government would make more than the investor.”

For full article, click on title (link) above.

Citizens’ group recommends slashing tower height at Commercial and Broadway
Consultative body created after plans for 37-storey tower at Commercial and Broadway sparked outrage
By Brian Morton and Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun – June 18, 2015 9:34 AM

Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood will densify but not in the way the city had initially proposed two years ago, if recommendations from a citizen’s assembly are adopted.

Towers in some areas would be much shorter than city planners had initially pitched, while density would be eased into parts of the neighbourhood through extra suites in homes, coach and laneway houses, and zoning for townhouses.

The citizens’ assembly on the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, which recently issued its final report after nine months of study, killed initial plans for a 37-storey tower at Commercial and Broadway. That proposal became a flashpoint for neighbourhood anger before the last municipal election and led to the creation of the assembly.
For the Grandview area, the report said: “Our aim with these recommendations is to expand rental and ownership opportunities alongside East 1st Avenue, encourage gentle densification in all other parts of Grandview, preserve heritage assets, improve our parks and make our streets safer for everybody.”

For full article, click on title (link) above.

[Grandview-Woodland report available here.]

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