Friday, April 29, 2016

100 More Towers for Burnaby - Our construction targets are leaving Vancouver behind

Ronald J. Jack

Burnaby Metrotown - Cityscape March 2016
Burnaby Metrotown - one of four planned quadrants in Canada's "best managed city",
is poised to be officially declared - BURNABY DOWNTOWN.  Here we see (S) the
Sovereign building - currently Burnaby's tallest tower, and (L) the Main Library,
astride (C) Central Boulevard - host to METROTOWN SKYTRAIN STATION.

Last week my wife got into a bidding-war over a townhouse in Metrotown.  (These days, feeding frenzies over coveted homes are quite the norm.) Her clients had to offer $80,000 OVER the Listing Price, if they had any hope of securing the desirable property.  At $880,000 they won, but not by much. A paltry $3,000 more than the next highest of five bidders. Her clients are very happy because they had offered on several other hot properties during the last 18 months and failed to take the process seriously. Now they have a home.  ... On the weekend she sold an investment property, a tiny studio apartment in Vancouver. That listing is very near the beach on English Bay, and comes with a parking stall that will accommodate a Mini-Cooper with ease.  The unit sold for $482,000., which is just $2,000 over current Assessed Value - "location" and "low" price was the only selling features. 

Explosive Growth is the new reality, but in Burnaby at least, careful tower planting is creating futuristic garden-cities, versus the ghastly dystopian glass-thicket that has rendered Vancouver into an unsustainable tax sinkhole.

In March the Business Press and the Real Estate Blogs were buzzing with news of staggering projections.  Vancouver developers have finally conceded that the glass city is maxed-out.  There are certainly limits to growth and there are also limits to how tolerant we are to having our behaviour and lifestyle dictated to us by mouthy Vancouver politicians. Burnaby, with its Four Town-Centers concept of well spaced development nodes is ideally suited to hosting the calibre of mega-projects now being conceived by the leading developers. Simply put, we have the space. 

Over in Surrey, B.C. the planners and developers are equally ambitious, and they will be looking hard at the 2016 CENSUS Data as it becomes available two years down the road. The voice of Vancouver has been far too loud and shrill, and their are indications that the combined influence of  the sister municipalities in the G.V.R.D. will teach the harbour city a delightful new marching song.

Burnaby News - Burnaby Outpacing Vancouver in Tower Development

Inserting this scraped text will save me some typing time:

Some "housing critics" term them "Demo-victions" but the trend has taken hold in Burnaby, and our 100% NDP Council and Mayor are onboard with it.  Socialism ain't what it used to be! Several half-century old low-rise apartment blocks have come down and many more are nervous. Concrete towers are marching down Metrotown ridge.

Demo-Fiction in Burnaby Metrotown

MODELLO is one of the residential towers currently underway in Metrotown.  We didn't buy one of its units, (sales were manipulated by privileged insiders, resulting in unreasonable prices) but  the    location's advantages are obvious. It is an easy five-ten minute walk from Modello Tower to anything you might need or desire -  superb shopping at Metropolis Mall, the Skytrain station, the Burnaby Central Library (home to the best DVD movie, TV and documentary library in town), The Crystal - Chinese Mall,  and the sprawling green belt called Central Park. 

I must admit that while I enjoy all the benefits of living NEAR Metrotown, I actually live in a detached house surrounded by hedge, fence and tall trees.  In fact we are equidistant from the BRENTWOOD MALL (currently the site of a landmark development and hyper-growth) and METROTOWN, but I rarely shopped at the old Brentwood.  COSTCO  is nearest emporium to us... just five minutes by car, and once you fill the car at COSTCO you rarely bother to drive further.  But I must admit that the concept designs convince me that he NEW Brentwood will be a complex I will occasionally explore.

BRENTWOOD MALL, Burnaby - the super development
The shopping node at the core of what they are terming "The Amazing Brentwood"
is now under construction.  The Skytrain station was completed several years ago.

The Amazing Brentwood - new development in Burnaby, B.C.

I sometimes shop at LOUGHEED MALL but I must admit that what most attracts me to that neighbourhood, perhaps twice per month, is the "Korean Village" - a haphazard cluster of Korean food stores and restaurants downslope from the mall. I really like the way Koreans market their wares. The produce, the meats and fish, the bakery treats and the galaxy of gleaming Korean kitchen gadgets, are all very, very enticing.

LOUGHEED MALL is projected to thrust itself high into the sky, and it is nothing short of astounding to examine the Concept Proposal put forward by Shape Properties.  This is virtually a mini-city project in size and scope, and given that Burnaby's silicon industries are located nearby, we can be assured that those towers will sell out to young workers and local investors. This is not pie in the sky, but rather a clever maximization of the huge investment in a new rapid transit line that was recently completed on North Road and which is still underway to communities further East.

Lougheed Mall redevelopment proposal - Burnaby March 2016

I don't know a single person who is opposed to these plans, although most of us still keep an anxious eye on the soaring purchase prices of residential property. I think it is far too easy to criticize market trends and label such home prices "insane".  That was exactly what I said...and repeatedly, when I bought a house in Burnaby in 1994. "This is insane."  But I was wrong.  Yesterday I was looking at detached housing and apartment rental figures for the cities of New York and San Francisco.  Now that's insane! I recommend comparative reading  as an antidote for folks who suffer a sour stomach over Vancouver Real Estate prices.

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