Double Or Nothing – Shaughnessy Rental Homes Struggle Forward Despite Facing Long Odds

4750 Granville Street and 1494 West 32nd Avenue
Following city council’s recent rejection of 21 rental homes in Shaughnessy, neither Hannah nor I thought we would see any changes here for a long time. After all, the majority indicated they were only paying lip service to the idea of allowing new rental housing in one of Vancouver’s priciest neighbourhoods. Despite the “equally balanced reaction,” Councillor Hardwick felt these rental homes lacked community support, while Councillor Fry opposed the amount of parking provided, which the neighbourhood had specifically requested.

Perhaps the comments from Councillor Carr and Swanson were the most frustrating. In an area where a monthly mortgage payment is enough to easily buy a new commuter car, they felt the proposed rents weren’t affordable enough. As a result of this decision, we assumed a separate development down the road for 32 rental homes would be withdrawn, and a mansion would be built instead. Neither of us expected the enquiry would return at over double the original size.

December 3rd, 2018 Concept

To be clear, the height hasn’t been increased. In fact, it now sits at three and half storeys, which is half a floor below the maxium allowed by the Affordable Housing Choicer Interim Rezoning Policy. Nor was there room for the building to expand, as it was constrained by the large trees that are protected by city policy. Given this, it’s no wonder the former owner decided to sell the estate last year.

The new applicant has been busy, as not only did they purchase the original site, but they bought the mansion next door too. Built in 1948, that property last changed hands in 1980 for only $300,000. When adjusted for inflation, the number rises to ~$900,000, a fifth of the current assessed value of ~4.5 million dollars. Though that estimate is ~10% lower than 2017, it’s hard to argue new rental homes will cause gentrification here.

4570 Granville Googe Earth.jpg-Source Google Earth

That’s been true for decades, as the depression-era days of mansions serving as rooming houses are mostly gone. Today, the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owner’s Association vets upcoming projects as part of an official city advisory body. It speaks volumes that membership in that organization requires home ownership, renters need not apply. This mindset extends to the previous version of this proposal, which was described as an assault on the neighbourhood (pg 5).

All too often, these opinions are the only ones heard. Even at the previous open house, there were those who were opposed solely because they felt these homes would allow all the jealous poor people to live in Shaughnessy. Which is a shame, because we don’t think this toxicity represents the views of the average person who’s been fortunate enough to have the means to have a home here.

4750 Granville Street and 1494 West 32nd Avenue Notice.jpg

Still, given this area’s recent history, these 83 rental homes, 35% of which have 2 or more bedrooms, will likely face a lot of opposition. Perhaps its opponents will again demand an increase to the 81 stalls of parking, knowing that it will lead some on city council to oppose the application. Nonetheless, all view are important, so make sure to come out to the Shaughnessy Heights United Church anytime between 5 – 7pm on September 6th, 2019.

Applicant Team Information:

Developer Domus Homes
Architects – Stuart Howard Architects Inc

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