Is Vancouver the new Fortress?

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the City of Vancouver is expected to buy out Fortress Investment Groups financing of the $1 billion Olympic Village:

Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem is meeting with council Wednesday morning to tell them arrangements have been made to assume the $750 million loan Fortress made to Millennium Developments.

In its place, the city is expected to sign a financing deal with a consortium of Canadian financial institutions.

In October Fortress stopped advancing money to Millennium for its monthy construction draws after it claimed the developer was “out of balance” on its loan requirements. That forced the city to borrow $100 million from itself to pay the monthly draws and provoked the council into asking the provincial government for special legislation allowing it to borrow an unlimited amount of money in order to consider removing Fortress as the lender.

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Re Post # 71 Forgot to mention that my understanding is that Developers (or any property owners) qualify for these re-classifications by Oct. 31 of the previous year. COV is out of luck and can't stop it. BC Assessment is THE authority that determines the eligibility for such re-classification . All other property assessments will be finalized when the appeals process has been exhausted . The Local Gov't will then establish mill rates for each property classification . What will happen is that these properties re-classification to a lower class will then shift the tax burden onto other properties, likely residential (as opposed to business, etc.which historically pays a much higher tax rate). My guess is that the City only caught this re-classificiation recently, it can't stop it…and is shite -ing bricks now when it is forced to have OTHER… Read more »


BOWRA just pulled down their LARGE / TALL signs at the (Ex Chandler Group)Garden City development in Richmond.

Curious what's up….looks like smaller signs are going to be set up.


City concerned over developers skirting taxes by rezoning land… QUOTE: A couple of shrubs and a few park benches thrown up on vacant land owned by developers means they can dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax bills. These miniparks or vegetable gardens have sprouted on some half-a- dozen sites in Vancouver and are saving the developers $1.3 million this year. And that has the city worried that more requests will arise as the economy tanks and developers seek cheap ways to carry property as they ride out the storm. Council voted Tuesday to put together a detailed argument to the province asking that the loophole be closed. Classification of property for tax purposes is done by the B.C. Assessment Authority and would require the province's involvement. To reclassify, developers create parks or garden space and apply for… Read more »


Post # 62


Re : People still willing to pay high prices ?

That's THEIR choice, time will tell if that holds up.

Monster houses?

Many SFH residential zonings have always allowed the large Monster / McMansion house.

However, when the lands were developed(often after WW 1,…. Depression….,WW 11 )people didn't have the funds and UNDER built with respect to what they were actually allowed to build .

When the first wave of Rich Asians came along, the builders wanted to make the biggest $$$ possible , thus milk the Rich Asians, and then maximized the allowable Sq. Ft. of the new house , which was often twice the size (or larger) of what existed previously.

Hence the Monster/McMansion House.


"We are pleased to announce that we sold 95% of the units at our First Come, First Serve Sales Event which was held on February 7th and 8th."

hhhmm … but so far, so they say, 7 can't complete, but for their marketing purposes, these units are 'sold' even though they aren't. Interesting contradiction in the email.

There were only 44 units for sale to start according to Bowra's website.


Just received this from H&H.. looks like they didn't sell out, plus something interesting: 7 more units for sale from people who were unable to complete. I forsee more of this coming… Thank you for your interest in this project. We are pleased to announce that we sold 95% of the units at our First Come, First Serve Sales Event which was held on February 7th and 8th. You registered on one of our preview dates and we are contacting you first to give you the opportunity to purchase one of the last units in this exciting project. The only 2 units that did not sell at the Receivers Sale were: Unit 404 – 2BDR for $432,600 (865 SF) [which has subsequently sold]; and TH5 – 2BDR Townhome for $445,000 (971 SF). In addition, we have some 2BR units from… Read more »

Lily pad

Anonymous: I didn't mean anything other than "large, i.e., greater than 3000 sq. ft" when I used the term "monster". Other than size, I don't know what else would constitute "monster". I didn't mean that it looks like cookie monster or anything like that! 🙂


Speaking of Hong Kong – stuff isn't moving like it did in the boom years. Check out this picture from the AP of unused shipping containers stacking up in Hong Kong, nobody is sure what to do with them all yet:



#62 anon, I found that article in todays International Herald Tribune epage. Could be that people living in Hong Kong are a little more aware of current events. Otherwise it's mystery.

The world is wonderf

Rose coloured glasses in the overpriced fishbowl village that is Vancouver. Good luck with that stupidity.

Dow average now at 6.5 year lows and has nowhere to go but down. Industrial production dropping almost as fast employment.

Double digit price decreases in real estate this year across the board and good luck Vancouver Taxpayers selling those Olympic Village millionaire condos in 2010.



just because a house maximizes square footage does it automatically qualify as a "monster house".


globalview (61) and lilypad (42) and no-lympics (48) if things arent so rosy in hongkong then why are properties on the westside selling for the prices such as, eg. lot on olser st. of $1.366 mill and a new house (corner of 51st and olser st.) for $2.75 mill. im assuming they were hongkong or asian buyers. i dont know if the chinese new year had an effect on the market(more people visiting from asia) but im hearing of a few more sales lately. im assuming these are sophisticated buyers with that kind of money. the lot on osler has lots of huge trees on it and is beside a lane. im a little puzzled. lilypad: what do mean by "monster house". i think lots of big houses dont look like "monsters", as long as they are tastefully done and… Read more »


Things aren't all that rosy in Hong Kong either, no buyers, no sellers. Full article suggests it may take 5 or 6 years before you get your money out at this point.% or 6 years Hmmmmmmmm , thats a long time in Vancouvers jittery real estate biz, isn't it? HONG KONG: Hong Kongers, who turned pessimistic about property early in 2008, now seem to be at something of a stalemate: Buyers are unwilling to commit unless they see a real steal, and sellers are unwilling to cut prices all that much. There is reason for their reluctance. People here don't talk about the subprime crisis or the credit crunch. Across the territory, the current economic woes are dubbed the "financial tsunami," sweeping into Asia from the United States and Western Europe. The term is redolent of the real tsunami that… Read more »


Regarding the buyout of the Olympic Village, Mayor Robertson is quoted to have said: We have gone from an agreement that clearly was not in the best interests of taxpayers to an agreement that puts Vancouver taxpayers first

Are those who made an agreement that was not in the best interests of taxpayers (i.e. the previous city administration) going to be held accountable? Didn't they make totally asinine guarantees to deliver market-ready units to Fortress by a certain date that they had no business making?!


Re Media:

Yea it is quite interesting how they pick and chose.

Don't the media have the mantra

" If it BLEEDS it LEADS"

…..aka the worse the Bad News (ie shooting , murder etc.)then it gets THE headline or makes THE lead story?

EXCEPT if its bad "economic" news ??????????

In WAR time its called "Propoganda"

In PEACE time its called " Advertising "

What time is it NOW ?

The TRUTH is the TRUTH…whether its good news version or bad news version, so the nedia should quit dressing it up and sugar coating it.

If its BAD news, let people know so they can get prepared.

To do otherwise is irresponsible.


NO -LYMPICS: Interesting reference to the police behaving like a bunch of bully -thugs. I wonder if they will be wearing pink for Pink day on February 25th?

Best Rant on TV

Comments on the 75 Billion Obama earmarked for benefits for those refinancing.

Anybody notice Citigroup and Bank of America dropped 13% each today and together represent over 85 Billion in government aid? GM dropping to $ 2.00?

The bad news tidal wave is NOT done by a long shot.


I am not the only basher out there it seems, are people waking up? two quotes from yesterdays Condohype exchange 1)Nice bit of exegesis. The Sun originally had the story as something like “Sales Volume Plunges 61%”. As the day wore on (I checked back because I always enjoy the comments in the Sun articles on housing), they changed the headline to add that teaser question “is now a good time to buy?”. So there was some conscious editorial decision to put that spin on it, not just some “reporting too fast” kind of gaffe. Why the blatant pro-buy bias? In the interests of “balance”, shouldn’t they have also speculated that there may be more drops to come? After all their main headline was about the dire economic predictions in the Throne Speech. I know it’s hard, but try to… Read more »


One thing I really don't understand is the whole 'stop listening to the bad news' line. Seriously?! What about understanding that there are market contractions and these happen within the system we've chosen.

It seems like people want objective evaluation when it supports their world view or wishes and subjective valuation when the world doesn't reflect their wishes.

I really don't blame people for doing this – I do it too and enjoy not living in constant dispair. But seriously, if you're speaking professionally and take this view how do you every expect to retain your credibility?


Lets be blunt:

Our political leaders are at the equivalent of the nude beach. There is nothing there, they are grasping at straws.

They are ill fit to handle these crises. If they were they should have seen it coming.

Gordon Campbell's modus operandi is to write big cheques and ask questions and give details later.

The 2010 Olympics will be promoted as the " cure what ails you " till the last Polish Olympic athlete gets out alive.

These 2010 games will be mind candy propoganda fest mode on par with a Hitler rally

In the early 1980's the unions had Solidarity marches.

Maybe its time we had another major one in a nonpartisan sense

IMHO, everyone should take to the streets and we have a massive protest before the Taser(or worse) order comes in.



#50 no-lympics, I'm just not buying the 'happy talk' from Bob, CKNW, Vanc Sun, BCREA etc etc. The recent propaganda campaign from the weasel crowd is sick but entertaining at best.

Speaking of a very short media memory, what happened to the Paper delivery Mr. Khan story who was attacked, beated and robbed by three uber rascist , coked up, drunken lunatic cops?

Anyone following the Taser death story of poor Robert Djeikanski , it's no wonder the prosecuters said they wouldn't prosecute the cops before the story came out. It looks like they tortured the poor guy to death while he was struggling to breath. Witnesses versions have refuted everything the cops tried to say. What a horrible cover up. No outcry from the press though. Just 'happy talk'. Shame.


The IKEA parking lot was full because of the 50 cent hotdogs and free daycare. Home furnishing sales are way down.


james: Huh? Are you saying that inflating the housing bubble was 'fixing the economy' and that it would have carried on inflating forever if it weren't for the democrats? I think both parties, and both sides of the political spectrum are equally guilty when it comes to the blind greed that caused global credit and housing bubbles.



Post # 43

One business news item was even WAL MART has seen declines.

What does THAT tell you ?

IKEA crowds?

IKEA has always been a cheaper option if one needs the types of items it sells. My guess is IKEA will survive. Other simply won't. However, people may simply be window shopping…it may be cheaper to turn down the thermostat at home and get heated in a mall etc. who knows?

BTW I know a long term IKEA employee who told me IKEA did have plans to mega- expand the Richmond store,(bought adjoining property ) but pulled back a few years ago. Not sure what happened.


The BC governments don't make a lot of sense. First Gordon Campbell announced that BC would lose around 7000 jobs, that got blown out the window and so the projection moved up and thats been blown away again. Where are these guys getting thier 'projections from', a box of cracker jacks?… And an economists view of the BC numbers Economic and Fiscal Outlook My own view is that the economic picture in BC is worse than what is in the budget. While premised on a 0.9% drop in real GDP in 2009, the budget assumes a rebound arriving in 2010. Given the state of housing starts, commodity prices and the state of export markets, I am more pessimistic and as a result it seems to me that the budget does not do enough. The budget’s optimism is reflected in… Read more »