Globe and Mail on Vancouver’s heritage restoration program

July 3, 2008 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Paying the price for heritage
Vancouver’s wildly successful restoration program raises questions about trade in ‘density bonuses’

Under the program, the city hands out the right to increase density on a site to a developer who restores a heritage building.

The developer can sell that right to another developer who could use it elsewhere, possibly by adding more floors to a condominium tower or hotel.

But city planners did not foresee the full impact of allowing the sale of density bonuses from heritage projects to condominium developers.

As expected, the bonuses were used to build condos taller than would otherwise be allowed. But after contributing to restoration by buying density bonuses, developers were no longer required to put any more funds into public amenities.

City Councillor Suzanne Anton said the heritage program has distorted development in Vancouver.

The new condo community in the southern part of the city’s downtown peninsula does not have its own daycare centre, swimming pool or cultural facilities.

I don’t know a lot about about Victoria’s program although I do know that the grants are fairly modest. I think most grants are well under $100,000. The Hudson condos are an example of density transfer, where the potential density on the heritage Hudson site was transferred and combined on the tower site to the east.

Entry filed under: architecture, urban design.

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