UDI applauds development excellence

Congratulations are in order for the recipients of each award the Urban Development Institute recently handed out at...

Recognizing excellence

Congratulations are in order for the recipients of each award the Urban Development Institute recently handed out at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver in recognition of excellence in real estate development in B.C.

But when taken together, some projects stood out for recognition in more than the categories they won. These include the work of Anthem Properties Group, Chard Development Ltd., Delta Land Development Corp., Reliance Properties Ltd., Rize Alliance Properties Ltd. and the Townline Group.

Reliance won “best in show” for its makeover of 564 Beatty Street in Vancouver, which was also the best heritage project, beating out Rize Alliance’s Rolston condo tower, also a finalist for best mixed-use project but ultimately named best infill project.

Anthem, Chard and Townline represented Vancouver Island with multiple nominations for the Union, Sovereign and Hudson Mews developments, respectively. Anthem won out for the best Vancouver Island project, while Townline was honoured for thinking outside the box with its incorporation of the Victoria Public Market within the Hudson complex.

What all finalists had in common were multiple years of planning, development, hardship and “slavery” – Bruce Langereis’ word – behind them.

Townline’s bid for the Hudson’s Bay Co. complex in Victoria was first tipped in this column in August 2004, for example. The former department store’s transformation into the Hudson over the past decade and through the lending crises of 2007–2009 may well be called an achievement, one now deemed an example of excellence in its field, too.

Langereis, who spearheaded redevelopment of Vancouver’s Hotel Georgia to completion over the same period – one that saw other local hotel developers return deposits to purchasers – claimed he had been a slave to his project for seven years. Yet the effort paid off, not only in a nomination as the province’s best urban highrise, but also a landmark of environmental innovation – a category it won.

Suite deal

Hootsuite Media Inc. continues to grow, with word on the street indicating it has inked a deal for the premises Business in Vancouver will be vacating in the new year for new digs on Manitoba Street. The addition adds 11,384 square feet to the campus of offices Hootsuite has developed in Mount Pleasant, beginning with 5 East 8th Avenue, 111 East 5th Avenue and now 102 East 4th Avenue. Hootsuite employs more than 600 staff around the world, and the new space in Vancouver will provide room for approximately 120 more owls (as the company calls its wide-eyed workers).

The social media giant didn’t respond to requests for comment from Hootsuite founder and CEO Ryan Holmes regarding the growth, but there’s been much buzz in industry circles this year regarding the impact the growth of tech companies are having on residential markets.

Tech workers tend to prefer short commutes. This ensures that their offices not only are in popular locations, but also become hubs themselves of vibrant communities.

As mentioned in previous columns, tech companies have drawn craft breweries and other businesses to Mount Pleasant, and the development of the Great Northern Way Campus as a hub for digital media companies is extending what some condo marketers are calling the new centre of the city.

With a growing employee base in Mount Pleasant, and development of condos in the area proceeding apace – Rize Alliance Properties Ltd. recently cleared the hurdles allowing it to proceed with its tower at Kingsway and Broadway – one might well expect tech companies to start exploring means to provide not only jobs but affordable nests for their owls, er, workers.

Now on sale

The past three years has seen Bill MacEwen build traction for Spacelist, a commercial real estate listings database that earlier this year rolled out a premium version for clients. The premium version is what generates revenue, as the database itself doesn’t charge clients to post or view listings. Its aim is to be a comprehensive resource for the industry.

Revenue is now rising, and last week the site launched a filter that will allow users to search for properties not just for lease but also those for sale.

And, yes, sale listings will also be free.