Smaller than a typical Vancouver lot, West Broadway property assessed over $4 million

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      The West Broadway property measures 33 by 105 feet.

      It’s smaller than a typical Vancouver lot of 33 by 122 feet.

      According to owner Jesus A. Alvarez, his 3474 West Broadway property is also “landlocked”.

      It is sandwiched by two properties to the east or west, of which neither can be assembled with his lot.

      Add to this the likelihood that the City of Vancouver will not allow underground parking, Alvarez holds that the property’s development potential is limited.

      The commercial property, which has a one-storey retail building in poor condition, was assessed at $4,685,800.

      The value is split between $4,682,000 for land, and $3,800 for improvements.

      Alvarez believes that the assessment is high for a property that narrow and with constrained development potential.

      A B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board looked into this, and Alvarez managed to get the assessment reduced by over 13 percent.

      Audrey Suttorp, a panel chair with the B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board, ordered the assessment adjusted to $4,062,700.

      The retail building’s value was left unchanged at $3,800, with the land’s new value now at $4,058,900.

      In short, Alvarez got a $623,100 reduction.

      Suttorp relied on the assessor’s evidence that “while the Property is narrow and small, it is developable to an FSR of 2.5 without assembly”.

      FSR or floor space ratio is the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of the land.

      Suttorp also looked at comparable sales presented by the assessor of the Vancouver Sea to Sky region.

      One is the April 2019 sale of 3155 West Broadway. The 33- by 115-foot lot sold for $4,450,000. It has an achievable FSR of 2.5, just like Alvarez’s property.

      “This sale is the closest in terms of size and interior location to the Property,” Suttorp noted in her order and decision. 

      According to Suttorp, the 3155 West Broadway sale is a “strong indicator” of the value of Alvarez’s 3474 West Broadway property.

      Based on an outright 2.5 FSR, and without assembly with other lots, Suttorp noted that the 3155 West Broadway sale “translates to $469 per square foot buildable”.

      With a 2.5 FSR, Alvarez’s 3,465-square-foot property can have a built floor area of more than 8,662 feet.

      Applying the value of $469 per buildable square foot, Suttorp arrived at a new value for 3474 West Broadway of $4,062,700.

      The Alvarez property is located between Collingwood and Waterloo streets in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano. Further west is Alma Street.