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Woodward’s: The blind-faith experiment

January 5th, 2010 · 29 Comments

There’s been a lot written about the Woodward’s project in the last few months and much more to come as the complex opens fully over the next few months.

Here’s my take on it for the Globe’s ROB section, focusing on the gamble different groups had to make to go in. The city’s director of real-estate services, Michael Flanigan, noted that it took over $10 million in tax breaks from the city, money he considers mostly well spent, though he did observe to me that the $2 million in tax breaks for the condo owners probably could have been better invested somewhere else. The tax break per condo likely wasn’t enough to make a difference to anyone, but the $2 million could have helped out with other amenities in the project.

I’ll be looking forward to when it’s all totally open, especially being able to walk through the big central plaza. I’m going to the opening night of The Blue Dragon on Feb. 5 at the new SFU theatre there and really looking forward to seeing what the SFU spaces look like then. The last time I was through, on a tour with developer Ian Gillespie, it was all pretty unfinished — I got a sense of lots of big rooms but not much more.

I’m curious as to what other people are experiencing as the project gets close to finished — are you shopping there? is it making a difference? is it changing the feel of the area?

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