Letter: The Big Promise

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19 June 2017


2400 Motel Site

To: Michael Chin – Manager, Property Development, Real Estate Services
    Michelle Schouls – Associate Director, Facilities Planning

cc: Gil Kelley – General Manager, Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability
    Kent Munro – Associate Director, Vancouver Midtown
    Kenny Gilbertson – Development Manager, Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency


The 2400 Motel site at 2400 Kingsway is a 3.5 acre property owned by the City of
Vancouver. The  2010 Norquay Plan recognizes "the opportunity to create a true
centre or 'heart' of the community in the triangle formed by Kingsway, Slocan
Street, East 33rd Avenue, and Nanaimo Street." (p. 58) A portion of the "triangle"
was redeveloped as 2300 Kingsway before the Norquay Plan was complete.  Most of
the larger, still undeveloped portion of the "triangle" is composed of the
2400 Motel site.

Redevelopment of that site will help to fulfill the stated goals of both the
community and the City of Vancouver.

        New Community Space. The Norquay Plan specifies that redevelopment on
        this site is to include 15,000 sq. ft. of new indoor community space and
        20,000 sq. ft.of outdoor community space. At present, two elementary
        schools provide Norquay's only indoor community space. Norquay residents
        identified this community amenity as the most desired public benefit
        of the Plan. Provision of community space is necessary if the City of
        Vancouver is to realize the "livable, sustainable neighbourhoods"
        cited on the City's "Neighbourhood Planning" web page. As the Social
        Infrastructure Plan web page states,"Social infrastructure is an essential
        ingredient in building strong, resilient communities." Community space 
        must be provided if Norquay is to become a true community rather than a
        construct of the City of Vancouver.

        Affordable Housing. According to the Norquay Public Benefits
        Strategy, 100 of the projected 500 residential units on this site are
        to be non-market housing. Development of this site would be in line with
        the priorities identified on the Housing Vancouver web page to "create more
        of the right type of housing" and to "provide more City land to build
        rental housing."

A reliable unofficial source has told us that the City of Vancouver bought the 2400
Motel in the late 1980s for approximately $2 M. Given the site's windfall increase in
value, even with normal investment return to the Property Endowment Fund, there should
be great potential for these benefits to be realized. Additional funds are available
in the form of a cash CAC of $3M received for 2220 Kingsway (Kensington Gardens), which
was specifically allocated to "the future development of community amenities to be
located on the 2400 Kingsway site." (Council Report of February 26, 2013, p. 9)

We recognize that many of 2400 Motel units are currently being used to house recently
arrived Syrian refugees. This is a good interim use for the property, but it does not
advance implementation of the Norquay Plan. Even if work to redevelop the site began
immediately, several years would pass before construction could start. By that time
most refugees should have found permanent housing. Other refugees may be able to take
advantage of the non-market housing to be built on the site.

Development of identified large Kingsway sites in Norquay is already well underway.
(See listing of specific sites below.) In addition, more than 50 applications have
been approved under the Norquay Plan for lower density projects in the form of 4-storey
apartment buildings, rowhouses, stacked townhouses, and small house/duplex.  More than
60 duplexes are being built outright. The City-owned 2400 Motel site, the largest and
most important of all, so far shows no signs of delivering on the central promise made
to the Norquay community.

Planning staff have told us that in order for redevelopment to take place, it is
necessary for the Real Estate Department to release this property. We ask you to do
so as soon as possible so that the promised benefits of the Norquay Plan and the
stated goals of the City of Vancouver will be realized.


Jeanette and Joseph Jones




Recent Kingsway Development in Norquay (From 2200 to 2899 Kingsway)


2200 Kingsway               438 residential units           Expected completion 2018
                 
2239 Kingsway               94 residential units            Completed 2011

2300 Kingsway               346 residential units           Completed 2013

2395-2469 Kingsway          126 residential units           Approved 2016

2689 Kingsway               129 residential units           Completed 2013

2751 Kingsway               ?                               Application in process

2768-2784 Kingsway          ?                               Assembled site sold 2017



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Written by eyeonnorquay

21 June 2017 at 9:50 am

Posted in Open Letters

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