NO MEGATOWERS AT SAFEWAY
Affordable Housing YES! Megatowers No!
With the tallest tower at its very top now proposed to be equivalent to 40 residential storeys from ground to tip top, this upscale and luxury development from 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
Speak at the Public Hearing!
A public hearing before Vancouver City Council starts July 7th at 6pm. As the hearings are in July, we really need people to show up! Sign up starts 8:30 AM June 24.
This will make the most difference of anything you can do. Watch this link for signing up. In the meantime – write to Council!
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.
The proposed towers go against years of community planning.
A Dream for developers; 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 $5.4 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 295 properties across Canada. It says its properties are worth about $5.4 billion.
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)
108.3 meters = 355 feet = 40 residential storeys
97 meters = 318 feet = 36 residential storeys
84.4 meters= 277 feet = 31 residential storeys.
Note: The developer’s drawings contain even higher heights than above, by 1-2 storeys, due to enclosures on the roofs. However, as of June 2022, City staff want a lower roof profile, with total height limits as set out above. A standard residential storey is 2.72 meters.
There are Better Designs
Above is the design concept that was shown to City Council when it passed the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. The plan calls for building heights to range between 12-24 storeys above retail. 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.
Who We Are
No Megatowers at Safeway is a citizens’ group opposed to the lack of affordability, and design of these behemoth upscale and luxury towers. We definitely support affordable density near a transit hub; we desperately need affordable housing. This development will not provide it. There is no low income, cooperative, non-profit or social housing proposed; only 12% of the suites are for below-market housing. This would only give on average a 16% rent discount. That’s it. 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 public plaza as a social heart gathering place for the neighbourhood. This application’s public plaza consists of a minimal walkway along the noisy darkened skytrain line at the entrance to a giant new Safeway.
We need a design that is relevant to our times—socially, architecturally, ecologically. Not massive concrete towers.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: No Megatowers At Safeway
Dear Mayor Stewart 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 definitely support increased density near this transit hub.
I am against this current proposal for the following reasons:
1. This will be an upscale and luxury development. It contains no low income, social, non-profit or co-operative housing. Zero. We desperately need affordable housing in Vancouver – this proposal will not bring it.
2. Only 12% of the suites would be “below-market”. City staff say this represents on average only a 16% discount on rent.
3. Not only is the developer exempted from a requirement to provide 20% affordable housing, but no “community amenity contributions” are required.
4. It will create a “land lift” in the area, resulting in nearby affordable housing and apartment walk-ups being torn down. Nothing good for tenants – we will be evicted; the new developments too expensive for us.
5. There is no community daycare included.
6. This is a 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 or to contribute to the community.
7. The three towers are massive and out of scale with the eclectic Commercial Drive. When you include the commercial base, and rooftop enclosures, they would soar to the equivalent of 40, 36 and 31 residential storeys above ground.
8. The proposed towers go against years of community planning for that site. The city funded Grandview-Woodland Citizens’ Assembly recommended 12 storeys at that site. The Grandview Woodland Community Plan endorsed heights ranging between 12-24 storeys.
7. There is no centrally located, generous public plaza as promised in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. All there is a noisy walkway under the shadow of the skytrain line with stairs that run up underneath a commercial building to a hard-to-access courtyard.
8. The proposed skyscrapers will darken the neighbourhood, block mountain views and gentrify this low and mixed income neighbourhood.
9. The Safeway would be substantially enlarged – a big box style store that would draw customers away from independent local merchants. Property values, taxes and rents will surge, triggering a turnover from the small independent merchants to bigger, homogenous retail chains.
10. 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 you vote no to it.
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, CLRkirbyemail@example.com, CLRswanson@vancouver.ca, CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca