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One tower that’s not in any financial trouble at all

October 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment

There’s a lot of hysteria out in Developer World, with all the rumours flying about whose projects are in trouble and whose aren’t. Adding to the problems, people are transferring the details of one project to another as they pass rumours around. As a result, the news that the Infinity Towers project in Surrey has asked for creditor protection was instantly transformed by some people into news that Miillennium Developments had asked for creditor protection for its Olympic-village site and had stopped building. Not true.

But, in the midst of all that, I have to remind people that projects are actually still moving ahead, people are still out there buying, and pre-sold towers are continuing to be built. I got a tour of one of them recently with developer Ian Gillespie (possibly the only person to have arrived at the site ever with his construction boots in a pink Holt Renfrew bag), the Woodward’s complex that has dozens of workers scurrying all over it. It was grand to be up on the roof of the tallest tower with no windows in place yet so I got to look out over the whole city, with the wind blowing past. It’s a more interesting view than the typical ones in the central downtown, because there’s absolutely nothing else that height all around so you get a clear 360-degree panorama. Not to mention a bird’s-eye view of the gritty streets all around.

Unlike almost every other building in town, the top floor hasn’t been reserved for penthouses. Instead, it’s going to be a gym on one side and a roof garden on the other for everyone in the building to use. I predict it will be one of the most sought-after party spots in years to come.

It was great to be able to walk all through the building as it’s just under construction, seeing the insides of all the theatre spaces that Simon Fraser University will have there, but still in their half-finished state. I’m looking forward to the contrast of the completed look.

And I’m also looking forward to seeing how much the interior plaza gets used by residents, students, and people passing through the space, which is angled so that it connects to Cordova. At the moment, it feels both comfortably protected, with the buildings on almost all sides, and yet open. The box where the original W is going to sit is already installed at one end. Stan Douglas’s photo mural is ready, but won’t go in until near the end. (However, it’s supposed to be going on display in New York soon and then we’ll get to see what’s in the somewhat controversial re-enactment of the Gastown riots that he’s created.)

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