The CEO of Reliance Properties continues to push the City of Vancouver to relax its policy banning residential development in the CBD.
“A vote against a downtown Vancouver housing project is a vote for a small parking lot,” said Jon Stovell, CEO of Reliance Properties, referring to a site he owns in Thurlow and Melville. in the central business district, which passes the council this week.
Earlier this month, city staff advised council to reject Reliance’s proposal for a 47-story rental tower with 484 units, 104 of which would have been housing for essential workers at below-market rates. .
Stovell says the site is too small to support an office building, which requires a minimum floor plate of 12,000 square feet – however, the site can only accommodate a maximum floor plate of 8,500 square feet due to the separation requirements of the tower with the adjacent Arthur Erickson Place office tower (formerly the MacMillan Bloedel Building).
“The site is too small to support an office building. Council has the option of making a bold move to provide some relief from the housing crisis or keeping an aging two-storey parking lot at the site. This is unlikely to be an office building contemplated in the policy.
Reliance will present an amended proposal to the city this week that cuts the number of units – both market rental and below-market labor housing – from a total of 484 units to 429 units. , but adds 72 hotel rooms.
“In our amended proposal, although there is some reduction in housing, including housing for the workforce, we have created direct employment and benefits for the tourism industry, which according to us, should further encourage council to approve the project for a public hearing,” Stovell says.
He says they’ve received more than 20 letters of support from various organizations, including BC paramedics, local restaurants, hoteliers, builders, property managers and business owners.
More than five million square feet of office space is planned or under construction in downtown Vancouver, with Reliance Properties’ developments accounting for one million square feet.
The Council will consider the amended proposal on Thursday 21 July.