The 5 Most Interesting Commercial Property Assessments in Vancouver

What happened to some of the more notable spots in town? (Hint: They all went up.)

January 8, 2019

By Nathan Caddell

Earlier this year (like, a week ago) British Columbia property assessments were sent out to those lucky enough to own a piece of land in this glorious province. And while there was a large amount of outrage from Vancouver homeowners about their single-family residential properties going down four percent, commercial and industrial land continued to go up, basically across the board.

Here are five spots around town we just couldn’t help but check out. Also, keep in mind that the assessments are based on market values as of July 1, 2018.

property assessments

1. The Kingsgate Mall

2019 Assessment: 148 million
Percent increase from 2018: 25 percent

One of the more contentious properties in the city (and no, not for the dubious food offerings inside), the Kingsgate Mall has been the subject of many questions about its future. Currently, Mount Pleasant’s favourite mall is wholly owned by the Vancouver School Board, which has debated selling for a couple years.

New developments in the ’hood could force the VSB’s hand. Across the street, a 21-storey mixed-use monolith called The Independent is being constructed. At the bottom lies a Nesters grocery store, slated to open soon. That could draw customers away from one of the mall’s most popular occupants, Buy-Low Foods.

The Independent’s assessment went up 100 percent in 2018 after condominiums started being built (it’s now at $179 million), and you can bet the VSB took note.

property assessments

2. The former Molson Brewery

2019 Assessment: $188 million
Percent increase from 2018: 14 percent

In 2016, after Molson sold the site of its iconic brewery to Concord Pacific, its value went up an absolutely bonkers 245 percent. Since then, the rise in assessment has been steady, if less historic. The physical building is only assessed at $1.38 million, so it’s pretty clear that the value lies in the land, and the revenue from apartment buildings that are sure to be constructed on top of it.

No real work has been done on the site since the sale; the official word from Concord is that it “plans to work with the approving authorities and the public to create a new addition to the community.” Reports are that the company is looking to develop a mixed-use tech hub. This year was the first that the assessment for the building surpassed what Concord paid for it ($185 million).

property assessments
Credit: Google Maps

3. The Georgia Street White Spot

2019 Assessment: $156 million
Percent increase from 2018: 50 percent

The 2016 assessment for one of Vancouver’s favourite family gathering spots was a modest $16 million. So yeah, a 2017 purchase of $245 million by Hong Kong-based investment company Carnival Group International may have moved the needle just a touch.

The price of over $600 per buildable square foot is somewhat unprecedented, even in Vancouver. Expect those residential units to be, um, unaffordable, when they are eventually built.

property assessments
The proposed development at 105 Keefer St. that might never see the light of day.

4. 105 Keefer Street

2019 Assessment: $7.25 million
Percent increase from 2018: 6 percent

A parking lot in Chinatown goes up 44 percent in 2017, then down seven in 2018, only to ramp up another six percent this year. It’s fitting for a site that’s been at the forefront of a battle against gentrification in the neighbourhood.

The lot, which sits across Sun-Yat-Sen Gardens Park, was the site of a proposed 12-storey (and then, a few weeks later, a 9-storey) tower in 2017 by Beedie Development. The former was rejected by City Hall, while the latter was sent packing by the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board.

“To meet the design test, they need to listen to and engage with the community more closely than they have so far,” said City Hall staff at the time of the project, which was to have 100 percent market housing.

For now, it sits dormant, but even that was enough to juice it back very close to its 2017 value.

property assessments
Credit: Westbank Corp/Twitter

5. Vancouver House

2019 Assessment: $496.6 million
Percent increase from 2018: 50 percent

Not many properties in Vancouver can boast that the buildings on it are worth more than the land (at least not the ones downtown), but the project from starchitect Bjarke Ingels pulls off the feat. It’s been rapidly increasing in value since construction began in 2014 (its 2015 assessment was a measly $107 million) and is nearing completion. It promises to “transform Vancouver’s skyline” when finished, and you can bet it’ll only keep accumulating value as it reaches the finish line and starts welcoming residents.

Good luck getting on the strata board in that beast.

Also, for anyone wondering, Stanley Park is worth $3.16 billion.

What spots did we miss?

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