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Vancouver’s new community centre waits for the neighbourhood to show up

July 28th, 2010 · 28 Comments

Here’s my story on the new $36-million community centre in the Olympic village, which is spectacular and mostly empty so far. It was always going to be facing a ramp-up period, during the 10 years for the build-out of that whole area.

But the first chapters are even slower than anyone expected, because of how long it’s taking to sell the village condos.

As an additional note, I have to say how totally lovely I find it down there. I went down twice today, once in the afternoon and once again just now.

The public plaza with Myfanwy MacLeod’s enormous sparrows looming over it is a living work of art. So are the Amsterdam-like streets (narrow, paved with special blocks so that, even though you’re allowed to go there in a car, you drive slowly because it feels more like pedestrian space), the beautiful luminous glass panels on various buildings, the most lovely bit of seawall walkway in the whole city, and more.

As always, it makes me sad that the prices of these units are unaffordable to people like me (household in the top 10 percentile for income, but this is still unattainable) and many others. I had thought of buying a place down here for when my knees can’t take the four flights of stairs in my Edwardian any more, but the land price and construction costs combined to make it unthinkable.

Not sure if that’s what’s keeping others away, but it certainly isn’t bustling yet. I saw a couple of people moving in today. This evening, one couple emerged from a building, out to walk their dog. But they looked like they might be the only ones living in their building so far.

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