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Entries from July 2015

Another day, another guesstimate about how much the Chinese are buying in Vancouver. Data analysis here

March 24th, 2016 · 7 Comments

Oh brother, economists doing calculations on the backs of envelopes to throw another Douglas fir on the bonfire of Vancouver real-estate hysteria. Isn’t there some kind of Hippocratic oath about doing no harm? Anyway, for those who didn’t see it, some bank economists put a few numbers together to declare that a third of all […]

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The euphoria and scrambling over money for rapid transit, bridges, water treatment in the Lower Mainland

March 24th, 2016 · 4 Comments

An exciting week for local government types, as they waited for the announcement on the details in the federal budget about what on their wish list would be getting deliveries from the money pipeline. What I’m finding interesting about it, as a few days have gone by since budget day, is how much is still […]

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Vancouver works out its first deal for below-market rentals in a private development

March 17th, 2016 · 4 Comments

City council has taken a lot of flak for negotiating deals with developers to do all-rental buildings but letting them charge market, i.e. going-rate rents. Now, with this new Concert Properties building going up next to the Olympic Village, the city has negotiated a deal that means it gets 135 units in the 600-unit development […]

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Development in old Canada Post building will be mostly rental, aimed at bringing life to area

March 17th, 2016 · 8 Comments

One of the fun parts of my job is getting to talk to architects when they are really excited about a project. That was the case when I went down to see Mark Whitehead and Mark Thompson explain the plans they’ve developed for the old Canada Post building. They clearly loved solving the puzzle of […]

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Did the city’s report this week on empty homes bust a myth?

March 12th, 2016 · 27 Comments

So, as has become the tradition in Vancouver, whenever data (or even fragmentary information) on the very contentious issue of real estate and foreign investment is published, it sets off an energetic debate with people piling on to outright refute it or pick holes or challenge the interpretation. This one is no exception and there […]

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City report says vacancy not fuelling real-estate rise. Let the fighting over data begin!

March 9th, 2016 · 10 Comments

The city’s release of a comprehensive study of 12 years worth of electricity use in 225,000 homes has given the most detailed picture to date, in 20 years of arguing, about what is empty in Vancouver and what isn’t. And it has all gone to prove my newly devised Bula’s theorem: The more data there […]

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Tower debate on Commercial Drive ratchets up as anti-tower candidates take over Grandview-Woodlands Area Council

March 7th, 2016 · 66 Comments

There couldn’t be a more perfect decisions game than what is going on in Grandview-Woodlands these days. A respected agency that serves the mentally ill, desperate to find a way to renew and expand, partners with a developer to rebuild at the corner of Venables and Commercial, using its own property, the developer’s two sites […]

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Vision’s green champion hired from Chicago becomes city manager

March 7th, 2016 · No Comments

There was a lot of praise last week for city council’s decision to hire Sadhu Johnston, the 41-year-old who has been deputy city manager since 2009 and then acting city manager since last fall, as the replacement for Penny Ballem. (My story here.) (The only dissenter I found was Councillor George Affleck who said, without […]

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Why do so many big cities make it so difficult to use their transit systems?

March 2nd, 2016 · 9 Comments

Alert readers may have clued in to the fact that I was out of the city during February. Among other places visited, I was in Buenos Aires for a week, a city I’ve never been before. And, once again, I was amazed and frustrated and ticked off at how complicated it was to figure out […]

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The new land rush: Getting condo owners to sell out en masse for redevelopment

March 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

The province is about to finalize legislation this spring to allow strata councils to sell buildings with only 80 per cent of owners in agreement, as opposed to the currently required 100 per cent. This, combined with the fact that developers are frantically searching for redevelopment sites as cities have rezoned areas for higher densities, […]

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