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Demonizer
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British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land in W

Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:47 pm

http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/story ... d=11388669
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Lest anyone think it is only foreign investors from mainland China buying and holding land with no immediate development plans in a market starved for supply, think again.

One of the longest-held chunks of land in B.C. history was purchased by a “syndicate of British capitalists” almost 85 years ago and is slowly being dribbled out onto the market.

The company continues to hold more than 2,000 acres of land in exclusive West Vancouver, where some of Canada’s most expensive homes are built on sprawling terraces cut into the side of the North Shore mountains.

British Pacific Properties has been sitting on this land since 1931 when, backed by money from the Guinness family of beer fame, it acquired 4,000 acres of land from Capilano River to Horseshoe Bay.

It only paid $75,000 and committed to invest $1 million in infrastructure to purchase the sweeping piece of property.

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To view historical and current photos of the British Properties land deal and developments, click here. Or, if you're on a mobile device, tap the story image and swipe.

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“British Pacific Properties is a B.C. registered company,” said president Geoff Croll, who joined the company last year. “Our first president, A.J. Taylor, was born and grew up in Victoria. It has always been run as a local company with investment from overseas.”

The company built the Lions Gate Bridge in 1938 and Park Royal Shopping Centre in 1950. It spent many relatively quiet years selling lots of land to other developers and building single-family homes mostly in and around the area known as the British Properties.

In more recent years, the company has been slowly developing land it owns further west. It has also been adding townhomes, condos and duplexes to its mix.

“We changed with the community to offer a wider diversity of housing,” said Croll.

When the company started looking at developing its Rodgers Creek area, which it is doing in slow phases, “it was the first time since the 1930s that we looked at a community plan.”

Only 13 per cent of the total 736 homes slated for Rodgers Creek will include single-family homes, with the rest being apartments and condos, said Croll.

The company is showing off its new developments, including Aston Hill, which has 20 duplexes, approximately 3,700-square feet each, selling for up to $3.4 million. So far, 12 have been sold. Later this year, it will roll out eight single-family homes and apartment units in another development called Mulgrave Park.

Next up, there has been renewed attention on the company’s moves as the district of West Vancouver decides what to do with a large swath of undeveloped hillside land that sits above the highway between the British Properties and Cypress Provincial Park.

This area, known as the Upper Lands, is 6,000 acres in total, of which British Pacific Properties owns about 2,000 acres.

About half of this is above the 1,200-foot elevation line, which for ecological reasons cannot be developed into residential properties.

So far, the general plan is to concentrate density in small nodes surrounded by parkland and then to connect these with roads and pedestrian paths, said Croll. There is also talk of a village of commercial offerings such as restaurants and shops at the base of Cypress Mountain.

Because British Pacific Properties owns most of the land below the 1,200-foot mark, it has about 1,000 acres or so left to develop, which the company has said it plans to do over the next few decades. It’s a timetable that depends as much on the wishes of the community as it does the market, according to the company.

It’s still a sizable piece that is around the area of Stanley Park. The only comparable is a 1,169-acre plot in Mission that is co-owned by Genstar Development Company and Madison Development Company. They backed out of developing the property earlier this year and Colliers International is listing the property.

Colliers agent Morgan Dyer said there is no set asking price for the Mission property, with buyers being asked to lob in bids after assessing its development potential.

jlee-young@vancouversun.com

� Copyright (c) Vancouver Sun
 
HomelessinSD
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:26 pm

And in other breaking news: Chinese immigrants built the railroad, and Japanese Canadians were quarantined during world war two.

The Vancouver Sun must be hurting for stories to regurgitate old news that is pretty much common knowledge. But hey - it's real estate related and the advertisers need their in house shills to crank out the "news". Especially like the first paragraph spin on how it's not just wealthy Chinese investors.... The British started this craze 80+ years ago!
 
Demonizer
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:14 pm

yes what you say is all true except for the "common knowledge" part.

it isn't common knowledge to those that did not know or care to know but only heard the hysteria of our current real estate high cost issues of our area. you know the ones looking for anything to complain about but only look on the surface and what their misinformed friends say. The way everyone has made it sound recently is by regurgitating that everyone buying luxury homes and properties is evil mainland chinese.

the fallacy of the situation is people are overpaying and they are being attacked for it.

so who's doing who a disservice? the buyer or the seller? both? but as long as both parties are happy, who cares?

only the ones not in the market or renting are getting upset about it and blaming mainly one ethnic group.
 
HomelessinSD
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:47 pm

I guess people new to the area may not know about the British Properties or who (and how) the Lion's Gate Bridge was built. I would say it's pretty common knowledge for anyone who grew up in the lower mainland though. I think it was even taught in elementary school.

I don't understand what you are trying to say... are you saying that the British Investors who bought the land up from the upper levels highway 80 + years ago are partly responsible for the current state of Vancouver Real Estate? And that this article accurately shows that it's not just the recent Asian investors who are helping drive up land values?

And what does this mean?
the fallacy of the situation is people are overpaying and they are being attacked for it
What is the mistaken belief of being attacked for overpaying? Isn't overpaying, by definition, paying more than you have to for something?
 
Demonizer
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:58 pm

it means that the ones getting shafted paying too much are the ones being blamed for the run up in prices.

regarding the british hoarding of the west van lands, it isn't common knowledge that there are thousands of acres still left to develop. In fact by the way the media speaks, there is no land left at all especially in West Van but now it is revealed (or at least reminded) the british have hoarded thousands of acres for decades. i don't think many people know this.
 
westcoastfella
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:35 pm

regarding the british hoarding of the west van lands, it isn't common knowledge that there are thousands of acres still left to develop. In fact by the way the media speaks, there is no land left at all especially in West Van but now it is revealed (or at least reminded) the british have hoarded thousands of acres for decades. i don't think many people know this.
There is a difference between buying an existing house and hoarding/holding the land for future development, vs holding land that was never developed for future development.
 
HomelessinSD
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:34 pm

regarding the british hoarding of the west van lands, it isn't common knowledge that there are thousands of acres still left to develop. In fact by the way the media speaks, there is no land left at all especially in West Van but now it is revealed (or at least reminded) the british have hoarded thousands of acres for decades. i don't think many people know this.
There is a difference between buying an existing house and hoarding/holding the land for future development, vs holding land that was never developed for future development.
Agree. And there is also a huge difference in owning land that you would like to develop and being able to get a development permit in order to develop the property. Especially in North and West Vancouver.
 
Demonizer
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:09 pm

Oh I see, getting ripped off on a single lot is worse than hoarding thousands of acres. I read this loud and clear :shock:
 
westcoastfella
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:35 am

Oh I see, getting ripped off on a single lot is worse than hoarding thousands of acres. I read this loud and clear :shock:
That is not the point.

Its one thing to buy an already developed SFH, and then sit on the land with no re-development plans - this essentially removes a current home from the stock of available housing, which is generally bad in a city that is growing. It is relatively simple to redevelop that land - it is zoned and ready for housing, the owner just needs to get permits and pony up the money to rebuild, thus making it available for housing once again. Hence the grumbling that happens when new owners sit on this land and do nothing for months or even years.

Its another thing entirely to deploy hundreds or thousands of acres of previously undeveloped land, and turn it into housing stock. As Homeless indicated, its not easy for a developer to parcel up that land, get the necessary approvals to develop it, and then begin development - no doubt there are numerous hoops to jump through with cities and (possibly the province, given the forest that needs to be clearcut to develop British Properties). Its quite likely that this "new" development has been in the planning stages for years already, and is now finally ready to begin actual building. It will probably be more years before it is ready to live in. Further, you have not adversely affected the existing housing supply or an individual neighbourhood.
 
rofina
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:20 pm

yes what you say is all true except for the "common knowledge" part.

it isn't common knowledge to those that did not know or care to know but only heard the hysteria of our current real estate high cost issues of our area. you know the ones looking for anything to complain about but only look on the surface and what their misinformed friends say. The way everyone has made it sound recently is by regurgitating that everyone buying luxury homes and properties is evil mainland chinese.

the fallacy of the situation is people are overpaying and they are being attacked for it.

so who's doing who a disservice? the buyer or the seller? both? but as long as both parties are happy, who cares?

only the ones not in the market or renting are getting upset about it and blaming mainly one ethnic group.
Overpaying is relative, what seems expensive this year might be cheap next. I don't think people are complaining about that.

The issue lies in the fact none of us know anything beyond doubt, and are left to "naval gazing", as an infamous board member once put it.

However, since we do have accurate statistics for wealth that is currently in Canada, it is safe to assume, that unless every Canadian multi-millionaire and billionaire has decided to purchase a house in Vancouver, its very likely that alternate sources of wealth are the primary driver.

Further to that, expensive purchases by foreign money are not necessarily the evil its portrayed to be, but to allow it to concentrate in something as basic and valuable as shelter seems very perverse.

Land will continue to be at a premium here, if foreign money wants to buy - fine. Allow it to buy all the condos it wants, and then some. Spec build to the moon and back.

But don't allow them to sit on buildable land.
 
Demonizer
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:02 am

Oh I see, getting ripped off on a single lot is worse than hoarding thousands of acres. I read this loud and clear :shock:
That is not the point.

Its one thing to buy an already developed SFH, and then sit on the land with no re-development plans - this essentially removes a current home from the stock of available housing, which is generally bad in a city that is growing. It is relatively simple to redevelop that land - it is zoned and ready for housing, the owner just needs to get permits and pony up the money to rebuild, thus making it available for housing once again. Hence the grumbling that happens when new owners sit on this land and do nothing for months or even years.

Its another thing entirely to deploy hundreds or thousands of acres of previously undeveloped land, and turn it into housing stock. As Homeless indicated, its not easy for a developer to parcel up that land, get the necessary approvals to develop it, and then begin development - no doubt there are numerous hoops to jump through with cities and (possibly the province, given the forest that needs to be clearcut to develop British Properties). Its quite likely that this "new" development has been in the planning stages for years already, and is now finally ready to begin actual building. It will probably be more years before it is ready to live in. Further, you have not adversely affected the existing housing supply or an individual neighbourhood.

agreed, i must also add that the hoops and hurdles to jump through to even do a teardown is also a huge delay for making housing available.

the city of vancouver is one of the worst for this. taking years to do anything which in turn makes the construction and even demolition of a teardown a very slow process.

the city of vancouver is just as much a player in the high cost of and availability of housing.

this dribbling out of land from these thousands of acres is also likely this slow due to these hoops and hurdles the city has bestowed
 
eyesthebye2
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:50 pm

Oh I see, getting ripped off on a single lot is worse than hoarding thousands of acres. I read this loud and clear :shock:
That is not the point.

Its one thing to buy an already developed SFH, and then sit on the land with no re-development plans - this essentially removes a current home from the stock of available housing, which is generally bad in a city that is growing. It is relatively simple to redevelop that land - it is zoned and ready for housing, the owner just needs to get permits and pony up the money to rebuild, thus making it available for housing once again. Hence the grumbling that happens when new owners sit on this land and do nothing for months or even years.

Its another thing entirely to deploy hundreds or thousands of acres of previously undeveloped land, and turn it into housing stock. As Homeless indicated, its not easy for a developer to parcel up that land, get the necessary approvals to develop it, and then begin development - no doubt there are numerous hoops to jump through with cities and (possibly the province, given the forest that needs to be clearcut to develop British Properties). Its quite likely that this "new" development has been in the planning stages for years already, and is now finally ready to begin actual building. It will probably be more years before it is ready to live in. Further, you have not adversely affected the existing housing supply or an individual neighbourhood.

one thing we know for sure
When the land is developed, it won't be to put single family homes on any of it.
 
HomelessinSD
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:27 pm

the city of vancouver is one of the worst for this. taking years to do anything which in turn makes the construction and even demolition of a teardown a very slow process.
Maybe you have some personal experience with this, but I've seen houses on the westside of Vancouver go up for sale on a Friday, sold that weekend, surveyor out staking property lines the next week, and demolition start in two months. I know at least one that wasn't a private or pre-arranged sale, so the permits couldn't have been obtained in advance (although, I wouldn't be surprised if the house was pre-designed).

Doesn't seem like an overly long process compared to other Cities.
 
westcoastfella
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:40 pm

Maybe you have some personal experience with this, but I've seen houses on the westside of Vancouver go up for sale on a Friday, sold that weekend, surveyor out staking property lines the next week, and demolition start in two months. I know at least one that wasn't a private or pre-arranged sale, so the permits couldn't have been obtained in advance (although, I wouldn't be surprised if the house was pre-designed).

Doesn't seem like an overly long process compared to other Cities.
Completely anecdotal... I'm currently going through some reno's at my house, and overheard my contractor talking to the electrician about how nice it is to no longer be working in city of Vancouver. They found it was getting impossible to do actual work because of all the red tape, holdups for permits, constantly evolving rules and regulations, felt bad for homeowners that are seemingly held hostage by the city process and escalating costs - and just got fed up with the hassle.

Doesn't sound like a building department that is functioning correctly.
 
Demonizer
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Re: British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land

Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:45 pm

building in vancouver especially a teardown is very costly upgrading service lines (ripping up roads), etc.

whereas raw land with no service can be developed en mass by the acre with open field with some trees

for a single home there are tons of hoops and hurdles they make you jump through and are time consuming which in turn costs so these add to the higher prices. there is no single factor contributing to unaffordability but many contributors to it. no one is free from all criticism with regards to this issue.

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