NO MEGATOWERS AT SAFEWAY

Affordable Housing YES! Megatowers No!

With the tallest tower at its very top now more than 41 residential storeys high, this luxury development proposed by a Real Estate Investment Trust trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange will do nothing to bring the affordable housing Vancouver desperately needs. 

Ways to Take Action

Email the Mayor and City Council

Send this email to Mayor Stewart Kennedy and Council members .  You can modify it to reflect your unique take. If your browser won’t open it, a sample letter is at the bottom of this website for you to cut and paste.

Donate with Go Fund Me!

We need your help with campaign expenses like flyers and lawn/window signs.

Tell City Planners

 Tell planners what you think of the developers’ modified proposal in this short survey.

  Want a lawn or window sign?

     contact: fightthefortress@gmail.com

SIGN THE PETITION
AT CHANGE.ORG

The proposed towers go against years of community planning.

The Grandview-Woodland Citizens’ Assembly, which the City of Vancouver convened, recommended buildings of no more than 12 storeys at the Safeway site.  The Grandview Woodland Community Plan, subsequently passed by Council, approved buildings ranging in height from 12 to 24 storeys at the site. 
A massive development is proposed at the Safeway site at 1780 East Broadway. The developers recently modified their proposal. The tallest tower now rises to 371 feet (113.3 meters) high. The developers say the towers will be 29, 28 and 24 storeys on TOP of the retail “plinth”. When the retail plinth and roof top building enclosures are taken into account, the skyscrapers rise to the equivalent of 41, 37 and 33 residential storeys above ground.
This community needs affordable, low income, co-operative and social housing. Not luxury suites and increased gentrification. 
This upscale, luxury development will boost nearby land values and trigger the tear down of existing affordable rentals in the vicinity. Only 14% of the 653 suites are for “below-market” housing. The rest are luxury condos and upscale rental suites. Below market housing is simply the average cost of existing rental stock in Vancouver, as opposed to the cost of newly built rentals. This doesn’t provide much of a break to renters. No low income, co-operative or social housing is proposed. 
The City’s Grandview-Woodland Community Plan calls for a generous, sunny, welcoming, centrally-located civic plaza at the Safeway site. The plan says it will be a new “social heart” for the community.  Given there are few parks, the plaza at Safeway is to be the “primary gathering and social place at the south end of The Drive”. 
There is no generous, sunny, centrally located welcoming civic plaza as the Community Plan promises, only a shadowed walkway running beside the noisy skytrain.  The plaza proposal now contains stairs….that run up underneath a commercial building to a locked- off courtyard. All greenspace, including the courtyard, is locked off to the public, and is for residents only – a gated complex. 
We want to support and encourage our local, independent businesses that make Commercial Drive thrive – and which give it its unique, diverse shopping character.

 

The existing Safeway store will be increased in size by almost 70% – from approx 30,000 to more than 51,000 square feet – a sprawling megastore out of keeping with Commercial Drive, with a mission to pull customers away from local merchants, threatening the viability of independent shops on The Drive. 
We need a design that is relevant to our times—socially, architecturally, ecologically. A design that employs the latest in green technology, building materials, construction, energy, and living. Midrise buildings allow developers to hire local trades, to use renewable resources less detrimental than concrete.  
This concrete mega-complex will shoot up nearby property values, taxes and rents on local independent small  businesses, forcing many – already struggling – to close or move away. It will have a devastating effect on the diversity and eclectic nature of Commercial Drive. 
We are in a climate emergency. The City wants Grandview Cut’s thick green undergrowth, habitat and biodiversity preserved, protected and enhanced. 
The Vancouver Park Board has identified the Cut as a priority habitat earmarked for protection and restoration.  Increasing the quantity, quality and resilience of greenspaces in Vancouver is a goal of the Greenest City Action Plan. Thick undergrowth, trees and brush in the Grandview Cut will be slashed away to make room for concrete reinforcement, ramping, entranceway and bridge for loading trucks and vehicles. 
Avert traffic congestion on East Broadway, a designated emergency corridor.  Keep Grandview Woodland livable and reduce vehicle use.
By their own predictions, the developers admit traffic will increase at least 18% around the megatowers. There will be only enough underground parking for one third of suites;  residents will be charged extra to get a spot. Only 12 spaces are permanently set aside for car shares; 9 more are assigned, but they expire after three years. While the reduced number of parking spaces makes sense to encourage transit use, the concern is megatower residents, unwilling to give up their cars or pay the parking premium, will clog surrounding residential streets with their parked vehicles.
This community needs local affordable daycare space. The Grandview Woodland Community Plan calls for 430 new spaces in the area.
There is no daycare component in the latest plan put forward by the developers. They have removed it from their proposal.

SIGN THE PETITION
AT CHANGE.ORG

A Real Estate Investors’ Dream; a Nightmare for East Vancouver

The developer’s image conveniently leaves off the mountains and cuts off the skytrain guideway. To get this perspective you’d have to be standing on East 13th – not East 10th. These will be the tallest buildings in the area, setting a precedent for future developments in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood. There is no low income or social housing proposed.

The Safeway site is owned by a Real Estate Investment Trust with properties worth $4.8 billion

This site is owned by the Crombie REIT – a real estate investment trust. It is 41.5% owned by Empire Ltd. – the parent company to Sobeys, which in turn owns Safeway and other grocery chains. The rest of the shares are held by investors – it is on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In Crombie REIT’s last published annual report it says it owns 293 properties across Canada. It says its  properties are worth about $4.8 billion.

We encourage you to tell the city what you think by filling out this short survey.

SIGN THE PETITION
AT CHANGE.ORG

Soaring Towers Will Set a Precedent for Future Developments in the Area

The diagram above illustrates the dramatic height proposed for this development.

Elevation: Ground to very tip top (to top of enclosures sitting on the roofs)

Tower A
113.3 meters = 371.7 feet = 41.6 residential storeys

Tower B
101.6 meters = 333.3 feet = 37 residential storeys

Tower C
90.1 meters = 295 feet = 33.1 residential storeys.

A standard residential storey is 2.72 meters.

There are Better Designs

The Citizens’ Assembly recommended 12 storeys. Above is an example of the concept design from the Assembly’s report.

Above is the design concept that was shown to City Council when it passed the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. We definitely support affordable densification, especially as the Safeway site is near a transit hub. However, the proposed luxury skyscrapers will do nothing to bring affordable housing to the neighbourhood; in fact they will have the opposite effect. In addition, they are so out of scale they will spoil the Commercial Drive character and feel. This luxury development will be the highest in East Vancouver.

 Who We Are

No Megatowers at Safeway is a citizens’ group opposed to the size,  design and lack of affordability of these behemoth luxury towers. We support affordable density near a transit hub; we desperately need affordable housing.  This development will not provide it. In fact, it will cause a net loss, as it will trigger more redevelopment and the tearing down of what remains of affordable rentals in the area. There is no low income, cooperative or social housing proposed; only 14% of the suites are for below-market housing. Luxury suites will be sold. We are in a climate emergency. This area needs parks, greenspace. This development will permanently concrete over a significant portion of the thick undergrowth in the Grandview Cut to construct a vehicle bridge and structural reinforcing. Trees, undergrowth and habitat will be permanently  lost. The Grandview Woodland Community Plan calls for a generous sunny public plaza as a social heart gathering place for the neighbourhood. This application does not contain a plaza, only a minimal walkway along the noisy darkened skytrain line.

We need a design that is relevant to our times—socially, architecturally, ecologically. A design that employs the latest in green technology, building materials, construction, energy, and living.

Contact us at fightthefortress@gmail.com

SIGN THE PETITION
AT CHANGE.ORG

Sample letter:

Subject: No Mega Towers At Safeway

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

I am opposed to the proposed development at the Safeway site at Broadway and Commercial.

I am in favour of affordable housing at that location, and support increased density.

I am against this current proposal for the following reasons.

1. This will be an upscale, luxury development. It contains no low income, co-operative or social housing.    We desperately need affordable housing in Vancouver – this proposal will not bring it.

2. This is a development proposal from the Crombie REIT – Real Estate Investment Trust, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its interest is to maximize returns for its investors, not to provide affordable housing for tenants.

3. The three towers are massive and far too high – with the retail level  in the recently revised proposal they soar to the equivalent of 41, 37 and 33 residential storeys above ground.

4. The proposed towers go against years of community planning for that site. The Grandview-Woodland Citizens’ Assembly recommended 12 storeys at that site. The Grandview Woodland Community Plan endorsed heights ranging between 12-24 storeys. This proposal is an insult.

5. There is no centrally located, generous and sunny public plaza as promised in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. All there is is a noisy walkway under the shadow of the skytrain line with stairs that run up underneath a commercial building.

6. The proposed skyscrapers will darken the neighbourhood, block mountain views and gentrify this low and mixed income neighbourhood.

7. I support densification at the Safeway site, as it is near a transit hub. However, these towers are out of scale, and will spoil the Commercial Drive character and feel. They will be the highest towers in East Vancouver.

8. I believe this mega-complex will shoot up nearby property values and taxes on local businesses. I believe this development will lead to the loss of existing affordable rental in the vicinity.

9. We are in a climate emergency. We  need a design that shows  imagination, that is relevant to our time – socially, architecturally, ecologically – a design that employs the latest in green technology, building materials, construction, energy, and living.

I ask that should this proposal come to a public hearing, you vote no to it.

Send to:

Kennedy.Stewart@vancouver.ca, CLRbligh@vancouver.ca,  CLRboyle@vancouver.ca,  CLRcarr@vancouver.ca, CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca, CLRdominato@vancouver.ca,  CLRfry@vancouver.ca, CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca, CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca,  CLRswanson@vancouver.ca, CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca