The City of Vancouver has implemented a neighbourhood planning project entitled the "West End Community Plan (WECP)". The West End is home to a mosaic of unique people and places. A community plan has been prepared to meet the needs of the community in regards to new developments and future growth. The City has approved the plan to accommodate for an additional 10,000 people in the West End over a period of 30 years.
With an allowance for higher density, property prices have increased along major thoroughfares and significant real estate transactions have popped up. The former Crown Life building located at 1500 West Georgia Street has been acquired by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties for a whopping $120 million. This plan allows for the opportunity to develop a 400-foot tower atop a pre-existing 6,500ft2 courtyard.
The estimated hike in density made the property that much more valuable and was a key factor in closing the deal. Lorne Segal, Kingswood president, stated, "[c]learly, you couldn't justify the purchase price for the building itself. The bonus was that at some point there would be an opportunity to develop something that would complement the building".
The implementation of the WECP has affected a third site that has recently been acquired by an unnamed buyer. Back in June, the Best Western Sands Hotel on Davie Street was a transaction that was ranked as being one of the most expensive per unit in B.C. history with a transaction price of $31M. Avison Young principal, Bob Levine, stated, "[a]t the Stands site, [the city] will limit you to have 20% social housing or if you don't do condominiums you could do market rental". Overall, the WECP has shed light on the value and growth potential in the downtown core where land is hard to come by.