More on Morley’s and the Janion

April 5, 2008 at 8:30 am 6 comments

I was talking with a local developer the other day about the Janion properties. Just about every major local developer has been in contact with the Kramer family about redeveloping the properties. The story that Trixie refuses to make a deal is a bit of an urban legend; there have been deals that have come close to fruition but it comes down to financing. The cost of rehabilitation and construction outweighs the return from sales or leasing. The Kramer properties have a negative real estate value. I’m told the only thing that will salvage the Kramer properties from demolition-by-neglect is density transfer–a simple tax holiday won’t cut it. The tool required to fix this problem seems to be missing from the City’s toolbox.

Also, it was pointed out to me that the Morley’s Soda Factory building in Waddington Alley faces a unique problem. It is completely unserviced. As it has been practically unused since the Klondyke era it has no water, no sewer hookup, no electricity–nothing. And since it’s boxed in on three sides the only way it can get services is with the help of its neighbours. Common sense says the best owner for Morleys would be Chris Lefevre, developer of much of the 500 block Yates Street, including the neighbouring CRD building. Morley’s facade would be a beautiful addition to his project.

Incidentally, remember being to be able to drive down Waddington Alley in the late 80s before it became pedestrian only. It was one-way, from Johnson onto Yates.

Entry filed under: architecture, urban design.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yule Heibel  |  April 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

    The city is able to offer density transfers downtown, isn’t it? Are there other things in the toolbox that would be needed, but aren’t available to the city now?

    Interesting, about the Morley Bldg being unserviced. Water (sewer lines) would presumably be the most invasive / difficult service to provide. Since Lefevre is working on the buildings on Yates right now, there should be a real opportunity to get that service to the site now. But that would probably take a miracle…

  • 2. robertrandall  |  April 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I’ll have to find out about density transfers. I’m not sure if they’re used that often. The Y-lot (Marriott, Astoria, Belvedere) was built using a density transfer from the St. Ann’s Academy site. The Hudson rehab/tower build-out used a density transfer of sorts but (1) it was part of the same site and (2) I don’t recall if there was an actual formal transfer of density or merely an example of height/density justification.

  • 3. Scott Hendrickson  |  April 12, 2008 at 7:18 am

    What is the current density restriction on the property? Where is information like that available?

  • 4. robertrandall  |  April 12, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I assume the density is the standard 3:1 floor space ratio that applies throughout Old Town. Theoretically you could build a three-storey building that occupies 100% of the site area without applying for a variance or rezoning.

  • 5. Yule Heibel  |  April 15, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    This came out on CivicInfoBC today, and I have to say I find it a bit of a bitter pill: Vancouver keeps getting provincial $$, but we have trouble saving 2 little structures.

    Monday, April 14, 2008
    $10 Million Revitalizes Historic Neighbourhoods in Vancouver
    By Office of the Premier, Ministry of Community Services

    VANCOUVER – The Province is investing $10 million over three years to help recapture the vibrancy of Vancouver’s founding neighbourhoods and their historic buildings, streets and public spaces, Premier Gordon Campbell announced.

    “Whether it is Gastown, Granville, Chinatown, Japantown or Strathcona, British Columbia’s largest city is home to some of our most historic neighbourhoods, which are culturally diverse and rich in history, heritage and architecture,” said Campbell. “This funding will build upon the City’s ongoing work to restore the visual appeal of our communities, restoring hope and pride and breathing new life back into our first urban areas.”

    The $10 million will go to the City of Vancouver’s Great Beginnings: Old Streets, New Pride program, which will use the funding to ensure ongoing maintenance, including repairing broken windows; removal of graffiti and garbage; street, alley and sidewalk cleaning and façade and alcove maintenance. In addition, the funding could help revive streetscapes, including erecting banners and murals, replacing worn awnings, improving lighting, painting lamp standards and installing several neon lighting projects.

    “When visitors come to Vancouver, they are struck by the beauty of the city and the diversity of our communities,” said Community Services Minister Ida Chong. “This agreement will help to make the Vancouver experience even better, by creating attractive and vibrant physical environments.”

    “We are committed to using this funding to support the shared objectives of the Province and the City to revitalize our streets,” said Mayor Sam Sullivan. “This funding will help to improve the quality of life for citizens in these communities, making these neighbourhoods better places to live and work.”

    The funding announced today fulfils the throne speech commitment to invest in revitalizing Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

    “This funding will be geared toward a 40-block area anchored by the Woodward’s redevelopment and will complement the new housing initiatives and many other supports we are already providing for the city’s inner city neighbourhoods,” said Campbell. “There’s no better time than now, as we celebrate BC150 – the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Crown Colony – to work together to awaken the community spirit that lies within our historic streets and neighbourhoods, building pride among residents and welcoming visitors.”

    * View the full text of this press release

  • 6. More on Morley’s « Robertrandall’s Weblog  |  January 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    […] 5, 2009 I wrote about the Morley’s Soda Water saga last […]


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