Developer argues Metro Vancouver towers are getting too tall

File photo of Vancouver.
File photo of Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Are towers in Vancouver getting too tall for their own good?

That’s the unexpected argument being made by one Vancouver-based architect and developer, who says buildings in Vancouver and its surrounding municipalities have found themselves in a race for the sky as cities lay on the pressure for more affordable housing.

“We do need more social housing, we do need more rental housing,” Michael Geller said.

“[But] at a certain point, I think some of these developments are getting too large because municipalities want to get a few more million dollars or a few more social housing units.  And the developers are saying, ‘If you want me to provide all these amenities, I will, but you have to let me have some higher floors.'”

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As an example, Geller points to a 57-storey mixed-use tower slated to break ground on Burrard and Nelson Streets in Vancouver, which he argued is too tall for where it is situated.

“They are often impacting the neighbours who didn’t expect such a large building to be built across the lane,” he said.

“If you ask the city planners, ‘Would you have allowed that building to be 57 storeys if it was just condos?’ They would say, ‘No.'”

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Added density has been one tool municipal governments have used as a tradeoff in order to incentivize developers to add rental or social housing.

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Last month, the City of Vancouver unveiled a new pilot project for the Cambie Corridor that would hold up to 20 per cent of units in new buildings for residents with low to middle incomes.

Developers would be offered extra density in exchange.

Geller said it’s not just Vancouver forging ahead with density. He believes it is a poor fit for certain neighbourhoods.

He said city planners at all of the region’s municipalities need to sit down and talk about an overall plan that sets out how big a building can be in certain blocks or neighbourhoods.

CKNW has reached out to the City of Vancouver for comment.

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