Vancouver real estate: board affirms $82 million assessment of half-empty apartment property set for redevelopment

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      Broadway Properties Ltd. has big plans for its 1.2-hectare property on the west side of Vancouver.

      The 4683 Arbutus Street lot is currently home to two half-empty, 1964-era apartment buildings.

      As a B.C. board relates, only 50 percent of the 80 rental units are occupied as the rest are “not deemed habitable”.

      Moreover, the buildings known as Quilchena Gardens are “reaching the end of their economic lifespan and have been fully depreciated”.

      Located at the corner of Arbutus Street and West 32nd Avenue, the property is a redevelopment site.

      A decision and order by a B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board noted that the company is considering a plan to have the property rezoned.

      The prospective rezoning seeks to allow the development of 502 apartment units in four buildings, plus retail on the main floor.

      The four buildings would include five- and six-storey buildings facing Yew Street, and two 14-storey buildings on Arbutus Street.

      The development would have a floor space ratio of 3.4. FSR represents the ratio of a building's floor area to the size of a property on which it is built.

      Meanwhile, a B.C. Property Assessment Review Panel placed the 2020 assessment of 4683 Arbutus Street at a total of $82,513,000.

      That’s broken into $82,388,000 for land, and $125,000, for improvements.

      Broadway Properties Ltd. believes that the 2020 assessment is “inequitable”.

      The company appealed the assessment, and the case landed with a B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board panel chaired by Bruce Turner.

      In his decision and order affirming the $82,513,000 assessment, Turner related that appellant claimed that the current assessment methodology “creates systemic inequity between larger sites - like the subject - and smaller sites, and lots being assembled for redevelopment sites”.

      “He argues that the inequity is systemic and selection of equity comparables should therefore not be limited to the subject’s competitive market set but to all potentially developable properties that may offer competing product,” Turner wrote.

      The property owner represented by John Parkes presented five comparables consisting of sales of multiple residential lots, which were land assemblies.

      Turner noted that three of the potential sites were identified as having proposed multifamily developments with FSRs ranging from 1.59 to 2.71.

      The said FSRs are less than 4683 Arbutus Street’s potential of 3.4 FSR.

      Just the same, the appellant used the said comparable properties for a recommendation to reduce the assessment of the Arbutus site to $41,256,300.

      Meanwhile, the assessor used two nearby properties that are about the same size as 4683 Arbutus Street for comparison, which Turner accepted.

      These are 2125 Eddington Drive and 2298 McBain Avenue, which had sale prices of $672 and $860 per square foot, respectively.

      “Applying these unit rates to the subject’s area of 129,237 square feet, the Assessor determines a value range from $86,847,000 to $111,143,000,” Turner related.

      Turner concluded that the assessement of 4683 Arbutus Street was “equitable and that it bears a fair and just relation to similar properties in the municipality”.

      “I find that the subject’s assessment at $82,513,000 ($638 per square foot) represents an equitable value, that is within the range of assessments for similar properties in the municipality,” the panel chair wrote.