Category Archives: Real Estate

Metro column: City skyline nearly as bleak as markets

January 5, 2009

The chaos on Wall Street that rocked investors and companies globally during the latter half of 2008 continues to pummel the economy in the New Year.

In Metro Vancouver, another signature of the economic boom years — so-called starchitecture — is about to take a major hit. Continue reading


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Filed under Architecture, Environment, Heritage, Industry, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Real Estate, Vancouver

Metro column: David vs. Goliath, or fog of bureaucracy?

15 December 2008

Last week, while TransLink was talking up expansion plans and funding needs for the future, it was also taking some heat on a very different issue, and from an unlikely source.

An upstart ferry service is crying foul over the way it claims it is being treated by Metro Vancouver’s transit authority.

Coastal Link Ferries, which operates a walk-on service daily between Bowen Island and Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver, wants to pick up and drop off passengers at an unused dock at the Waterfront Station SeaBus terminal.

The prime location would allow its customers to link up with SkyTrain and buses, not to mention the popular SeaBus service.

The problem is, despite its persistence in trying to iron out a deal with TransLink for the space, Coastal Link — which plans on expanding its service to the Sunshine Coast and Port Moody — has so far heard nothing. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Commuting, Marine transport, Real Estate, Sydney, Transportation

Vancouver Province column: If meltdown hikes Olympic price taxpayers deserve a greater say

October 12, 2008

It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

Last week, at a Toronto forum on amateur sport, federal politicians scrapped over the long-simmering issue of including women’s ski jumping at the 2010 Games. This comes on top of Canadian ski jumper Zoya Lynch joining a lawsuit aimed at forcing VANOC to bring the women’s event into the Olympics mix.

But it doesn’t end there.

Many British Columbians were left shaking their heads in the wake of the recent decision to ban the charity Right To Play from the athletes village in 2010.

And now folks in Vancouver are coming to grips with the impact of the global financial crunch on the construction of that same athletes village — raising the grim spectre of taxpayers bailing out the project if funding dries up. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Architecture, British Columbia, Commuting, Culture, Gentrification, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Protest, Real Estate, Sports, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Vancouver Province column: Why plague people with trash talk when they’ve got worries enough?

Forget about manicured front lawns, white picket fences and the sound of children at play. According to a growing legion of pundits and “peak oil” theorists, the tidy suburbs of today are the forsaken slums of tomorrow.

A recent article in The Atlantic Monthly by Christopher Leinberger argued that once-idyllic cul-de-sacs are about to become the domain of poverty, social disorder and physical rot.

More recently, Smart Growth B.C., the Vancouver-based not-for-profit with a focus on creating “more livable communities in British Columbia,” made the link between sprawling, auto-friendly suburbs and the grim spectre of childhood obesity.

Given sky-high gas prices, the new carbon tax and a growing number of “for sale” signs popping up in family subdivisions, there’s no doubt that B.C. suburban dwellers are facing a financial and psychological squeeze these days. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Commuting, Environment, Green Space, Health, Immigration, Law and Order, Media, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Real Estate

Province column: Vancouver mayoral candidate must rethink his housing tax plan

The Lower Mainland housing market might be cooling off these days. But glittering highrise condos continue to sprout up across downtown Vancouver.

Given the region’s housing crunch, one would assume that locals would be quickly snapping up the units to live.

But that’s not always the case. A quick scan of some residential highrises after dark reveals that, in many downtown condos, the lights are always off.

Why? Because investors from as close as Seattle and as far as Singapore have snapped them up, with the intention of flipping them for a profit to the next buyer. Continue reading

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Filed under Industry, Media, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Real Estate, Urban Planning, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

Mercer Consulting: Best cities for… wait for it… quality of living

The cities rankings continues — this one from Mercer Consulting.
It’s a bit more serious-minded that Monocle’s, and geared for those who are uprooting for work.

Some survey highlights:

“European cities dominate the rankings of locations with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 2008 Quality of Living survey. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the highest ranked city, followed jointly by Vienna (2), Geneva (2), then Vancouver (4) and Auckland (5).

The highest entry for the United States is Honolulu, appearing at number 28. The cities with the lowest quality of living ranking are Ndjamena (211), Khartoum (212), Brazzaville (213), and Bangui (214). Baghdad, ranking 215, retains its position at the bottom of the table.

The survey also identified those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries. Luxembourg was top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number 2. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are noted amongst the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad (215) was the world’s least safe city followed by Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211).

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city which has an index score of 100.”

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Health, Immigration, Industry, Montreal, New York, Real Estate, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto, Transportation, Urban Planning

Trailer park chic… really

Could trailer park homes become an answer to skyrocketing real estate prices around the world? 

According to The Financial Times‘ William Little, more and more serious homebuyers are turning to trailer parks for their value, their space, and wait for it, their style.

“So popular are they becoming that the prefabricated residences, often seen as a form of caravan, are also beginning to lose their “trailer trash” image, especially as more people realise that they are built to high standards. Indeed, the name “park home” – derived from the fact they are often sited on park-like estates – was coined by Princess Margaret while visiting a caravan exhibition. They have had upward aspirations ever since.”



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Filed under Architecture, Media, Neighbourhoods, Real Estate