Dan Fumano: Long, winding road leads to ‘twisting’ tower pitched for ex-Expo site


Vancouver council will consider a proposal this week for the 55-storey skyscraper, which would be one of the city’s taller buildings, intended to form a southern “gateway” to downtown along with Vancouver House’s similarly twisting design just across the Granville Bridge to the west.

The property, at 601 Beach Crescent near False Creek’s north shore, was part of the Expo 86 lands. But in the decades since, this piece of prime real estate has sat undeveloped. The site was owned by Concord Pacific, the international player that bought the Expo land and has already developed much of it. During a four-year process with the City of Vancouver in the 1990s negotiating the rezoning of some of Concord’s lands, the developer transferred 601 Beach to the city in 1999 and the site was earmarked for social housing.

In 2016, the city put 601 Beach up for sale. The property was sold to a private developer, Pinnacle International, with the stipulation that future development must include 152 social housing units, with market housing making up the rest of the project, subject to council’s decision on the rezoning.

The sale was approved in 2016 by Vancouver’s then-Vision-majority council. As with all transactions involving the disposition of city-owned real estate, the decision was made in a closed-door meeting, a city representative said last week, so no further details were available, other than confirming it required an affirmative vote by two-thirds of council.

Concord alleged in court filings that if the property was “sold by the City to a third party to be developed for purposes other than low-rise non-profit housing (e.g., for the purpose of creating a highrise condominium tower), Concord will suffer irreparable commercial harm.”

Concord had notified the city that it is “ready, willing and able” to purchase the site “at an equitable price,” the notice of claim said.

The city denied the plan to sell the land with an eye to future development breached the agreement with Concord and rejected the idea Concord had suffered or would suffer any harm.

A city representative confirmed last week that Concord’s lawsuit involving 601 Beach “has yet to resolve.”

Pinnacle spokeswoman Rachel Thexton said the Concord lawsuit does not affect Pinnacle or its plans for 601 Beach in any way.

Sep 28, 2020 https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/dan-fumano-long-winding-road-leads-to-twisting-tower-pitched-for-ex-expo-site

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