Vancouver land assembly bought $5.5 million, gets city permit for four storeys, for sale again at $7.5 million

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      One often hears complaints that it is difficult to get a development permit from the City of Vancouver.

      Developers, so they say, are at the mercy of bureaucrats, and they have to jump through many hoops.

      So it must follow that a development permit is a precious commodity.

      However, and despite all the trouble, not all developers push through with their projects.

      Here’s one example.

      On October 23, 2017, a numbered company based in Richmond bought an assembled property composed of three single-family lots near the northwest corner of Nanaimo Street and Kingsway.

      The company, 1135551 B.C. Ltd., bought the property with a new address of 2366 Galt Street for $5,570,000.

      The property has a combined area of 12,444 square feet.

      Next, Matthew Cheng Architect Inc. filed an application for a development permit before the City of Vancouver.

      In 2019, the city approved the application to build a new four-storey building with 27 condo units.

      The permit allows the developer to construct a building with a square footage that is twice as much as the land area.

      In technical terms, it is a 2 FSR (floor space ratio) or about 24,888 square feet.

      There was no need for a rezoning application that would have required a public hearing by council.

      A 2 FSR in the area was allowed in the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan approved by the city in 2010.

      The plan was intended to bring more and dense developments on and around Kingsway, from Gladstone to Killarney Streets.

      So when computed against the purchase price of $5,570,000, the buyer got the property for a price of $223 per buildable space.

      The development application used 4715 Nanaimo Street as the site’s address.

      The proposed development was among those tracked by community advocacy sites Eye on Norquay and CityHallWatch.

      Guess what?

      The developer now appears to be no longer interested in doing the project.

      The same property is back on the market for $7.5 million.

      The listing uses the old address of 2366 Galt Street.

      The sale includes the development permit issued by city hall.

      The pitch for the property goes: “Development permit is ready. JUST BUY THE LAND AND BUILD. Save you time for approval from the City of Vancouver.”

      If someone buys the property at $7.5 million, the new cost would be $301 per square foot of buildable space.

      Let’s assume a construction cost of $350 per square foot, which means an owner is now looking at $650.

      With other costs, the developer may have to eventually sell a condo unit for the equivalent of $900 per square foot or more.

      A Matthew Cheng Architect Inc. rendering of a four-storey building approved by the City of Vancouver for the site.