Vancouver city council has approved an 81-unit, secured-market rental building in one of the city’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.
Council voted 10-1 in favour of building a four-storey, 60,000-square-foot apartment building in Shaughnessy. The building, which will be located at West 32 Avenue and Granville Street, will have 52 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and 10 three-bedroom units.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart applauded the decision.
“Replacing two mansions with 81 rental homes in Shaughnessy is a step in the right direction,” he tweeted Wednesday night.
Council heard from Shaughnessy residents who opposed the project.
A letter from the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners’ Association describes the need to protect the neighbourhood, which it says is “lush, scenic and historically significant.”
“We recognize the need for rental housing, but suggest that any such housing be more aligned with the Shaughnessy neighbourhood, and be respectful of the Granville corridor. A massive apartment development is out of place, and is not close to any amenities or community infrastructure. In addition, the traffic congestion and parking issues for such a large development on neighbouring narrow streets and lanes is very problematic.”
Prior to the vote, Tom Davidoff, Director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said the rental project makes economic sense in a city that is facing a housing affordability crisis.
“I come to this debate horrified by the idea that affluent people, instead of spending their time on charity, would spend their time going to hearings and fighting renters, getting to live in their neighbourhoods,” he said.
“As an economist, it’s also appalling because you look at Shaughnessy, that is fantastic real estate and it’s zoned as if it was very remote land. Large estates don’t belong on good, valuable land — apartments or at least townhomes do. So to have affluent people fight for something that’s bad economics, that is just not generous, it was really hard to listen to.”
Earlier this month, the council narrowly approved a 28-storey rental building on West Broadway and Birch Street.
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