Will Vancouver be able to Maintain the Pace?

Vancouver has seen a burst in urban projects over the last several years with by my count more than a dozen cranes have dotted the skyline over the last 5 years. There are currently four cranes operating in the Downtown and Waterfront area. It seems like the pace is starting to pick up a bit again and hopefully the half dozen urban high-rise and mid-rise projects in the pipeline right now will be able to start in the next 4-6 months.

These are great projects that enhance the living experience in Vancouver as well as the visitor experience as this tends to drag in more restaurants and services to accommodate the busier urban crowd. They also bring with them excellent high paying jobs for a variety of engineers, architects, trades people, and even real estate brokers.

Last week the CCRA went over the details of the Block 18 Waterfront project, The Springs Living. This is a 12 story residential project for seniors. The upscale building will look real sharp and add a nice bookend for the slightly taller Kirkland Tower at the other end of the street. The CCRA reviewed detailed plans including full technical drawings and other important details. I’m still waiting for the video to be released to the public to gauge the response. It is a good looking project so I’d imagine they liked it. The Springs is hoping to break ground first of the year.

Locally our economy seems to be pretty strong even with the anchor that is COVID-19 chained to our feet. Portland which is shedding residents faster than new ones arrive seems to have a robust amount of crane activity which is a sign of strong economic conditions. If these prime conditions for urban development stick around a few more years, Vancouver’s amazing waterfront should be able to hit 75% buildout.

Condos this week were similar with a tightening of inventory but a little less activity.

2 thoughts on “Will Vancouver be able to Maintain the Pace?

  1. Ray Cooper

    Great blog. Thanks for all the effort you put into it.
    It’s great to see all the development, but Vancouver seems to be suffering from the donut effect. Lots of development, while the core gets neglected. Main Street below 8th (one could argue below 12th) needs some attention. Too many empty spaces. 704 Main is typically littered with trash and smells like a urinal. The awning over Key Bank just makes that area bleak. The soon to be empty Lucky Loan, the recently empty Top Shelf, etc. Hopefully the tax revenue from all the new places can help fix up the core.

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    1. Top Shelf likely died of COVID like many service sector businesses run under by the mandates of the Dictator in Olympia. 704 Main has a long storied history of issues and that building will likely remain in disrepair a little longer. The Lucky Loan space will almost certainly fill in fast they took good care of that old building. The improvements around Esther Short Park and the Waterfront have reinvigorated the whole core. The donut hole is being filled in right now, for example the ugly run down parking lot at the Academy is about to become 140 fresh new apartments and that will bring more people into walking distance of the area you mentioned that remains underdeveloped. Phase two of that development will add another 200 apartments. The block ten development is one block off Main Street at 8th and another 110 apartments will go in there adding more people to utilize services on the lower Main corridor. Hurley development is working on a 178 unit apartment building at Columbia and 5th which again will bring fresh people to an area that has been under served and in disrepair. People are the key to an urban core success. People living in the area will walk or bike to local businesses which can then thrive. So long as the Emperor, oops, sorry Governor doesn’t make some ludicrous decree and shut every down again. Vancouver looks like Beverly Hills compared to what it was in the middle 1990s.

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