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Vancouverism Is Actually Failing

A weekend topic on this Globe and Mail article. “Condo owner Brock Worobel says he is feeling extremely uneasy living at 53 West Hastings, near Vancouver’s downtown east side. Mr. Worobel purchased his condo in the six-storey Paris Block, just west of Carrall Street, nine years ago. It is an award-winning commercial heritage building that was converted to condos with sleek, modern interiors in 2008. Mr. Worobel says he loved his neighbourhood – until the pandemic hit.”

“In the past six months, he says he’s seeing new faces on the street, including drug dealers doing business in the street below. There’s been vandalism to the building, including the entrance door, which was damaged and now needs replacing. The building manager cleans up used needles , human feces and trash from the doorway daily, and he has friends who won’t visit.”

“‘Last night for example, across the street there was a fight between one of the vendors, and this guy pulled this massive knife out of his back pocket. I’m no stranger to the stuff that goes on down here, but that was a shock to see,’ Mr. Worobel says. ‘If you’ve been into the area lately, this one block of West Hastings is a dangerous no-go zone. This is social chaos. It’s social disorder. It’s a textbook case of what not to do when it comes to civil society. … No one would expect or accept to have to live in something like this.'”

“The increased crime and disorder of the Downtown Eastside is pushing into other areas. Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Constable Howard Chow noted a rise in serious crimes throughout the city, as well as an increase in needles on the street, visible drug use and garbage that’s accumulating on city streets.”

“Mr. Worobel questions why the situation was allowed to become so dire. His strata council has considered hiring a security guard, but it would cost around $24,000 extra a year, and some residents have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and can’t afford it, he says. Landlords in the building are seeing their tenants move out. Mr. Worobel worries that if he wanted to leave nobody would buy his condo, or even rent it, which means he’s stuck.”

“When COVID-19 struck, businesses throughout downtown shuttered and customers and workers left, and garbage and crime increased. Empty streets are always an unhealthy situation for an urban environment, and for the housing market. Downtown Vancouver now has the region’s worst sales to listings ratio, which is industry’s way of saying that sales have plummeted.”

“Hani Lammam, executive vice-president of Cressey Development Group, agrees that the dire downtown situation isn’t just due to the pandemic. From his developer’s perspective, he sees the situation as a result of what happens when rampant speculation drives up real estate prices and drives affordable housing out of the market. He says the city played a role when it rezoned areas of downtown and helped drive those land values up further, gleaning higher community amenity contributions from developers.”

“A side effect is that developers who paid too much for downtown properties are just leaving them undeveloped, he says. ‘All this land that has been designated for condominium development and unfortunately been speculated upon by sometimes less experienced developers is now caught in a situation where it really cannot ever be developed economically based on what has been paid for it. So downtown Vancouver is at a standstill.'”

“‘I sit here and I look at what has happened downtown, and to an extent on the west side – and Vancouverism, this concept that has been celebrated, is actually failing,’ Mr. Lammam says. ‘While we do blame some of those bad actors that were chasing foreign buyers, I am going to take this opportunity to say that the rezoning policies forced that to happen – when the process of determining community amenity contributions [CACs] by the city of Vancouver became this pot of gold that city council at the time wanted to get their piece of.'”

“Developers typically pay CACs to the city when a property is rezoned. CACs are based on the ‘land lift,’ or the increase in the property’s value. ‘And of course the greatest land lift is achieved when you build a super luxurious product, because you can sell it for $3,000 a foot,’ Mr. Lammam says. ‘And so, then the land must be worth $600 a foot. But if the conclusion is it’s worth $600 a foot, then I cannot build an affordable product based on underlying land valuation. So developers were forced to go and build these lavish buildings and of course there’s no market here, ‘so let’s go sell it in China.’”

“‘The city wasn’t just greedy; they drove it in that direction,’ Mr. Lammam says. ‘That had a snowball effect, because once this project achieved this selling price, then every other property valued is based on that success – whether it was a rezoning or not a rezoning. So, I would say we got caught up in that in some of our west side projects, where in order for us to buy the land we had to pay so much for it, because the [comparables] with the marketplace now, we could sell for $2,000 a foot, or $2,500 a foot.'”

“Craig Stanghetta, business owner and designer known for the interiors of many popular restaurants, has had his office in the area for years, and he’s shocked at the decline. Fellow business owners in the area have been hammered by the economic downturn and again by the influx of additional crime and vandalism, he says.”

“‘I am a terrified bystander right now,’ Mr. Stanghetta says. ‘I think that there is a bit of leadership required, where I think the idea of how to help a disenfranchised segment of the population is not working. All I’ve seen is it get worse and worse. … .I am left wing in my political leanings, but it comes down to pragmatically how you have to go about your day, and I have pretty much an all-female staff and if they don’t feel safe coming into the office – then that’s a broken system. It’s not fair, frankly. So I am hoping there is a re-evaluation of [the situation] for the greater good.'”

This Post Has 83 Comments
  1. I found this article last week and wanted to save it for a weekend topic because in many ways it’s remarkable. Lets go back 10 or 11 years. If one even mentioned foreign buyers, they were beaten down by calls of racism. Now the population is decided against foreign investors.

    The racism thing came from two groups mainly: the Liberals in BC, who were bankrolled by the developers. And the REIC compliant media. The Globe and Mail is Toronto centric, IMO, so these things played out more in the Vancouver Sun. But it is very surprising to see a major Canadian paper write something like this. Of course they didn’t say “the bubble fudged everything up!” but they may as well have.

    1. Also from the article:

      ‘Housing activist Wendy Pedersen blames inadequate rent control for vulnerable groups as a major contributor. Rents increase as soon as tenants of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel units vacate. Because of previous city policy, hundreds of welfare-rate SROs have been lost in recent years and social housing has not kept pace by a long shot. Investors who’d purchased properties occupied by low-income residents have paid or harassed tenants to leave, she says. Also, landlords have evicted a lot of people who were living as guests of SRO tenants.’

      “Yeah people will get more desperate, and maybe people are more edgy and angry because of the situation that they find themselves in. I think I would be angrier and edgier too,” says Ms. Pedersen, who’s lived in the Downtown Eastside for 30 years. “There is a lot more garbage on the street, but I think when you have more people the street you get more garbage If they can’t be a guest, if they can’t rent a place because rooms are converting out of reach, if BC Housing has 15,000 people on their waiting list, where are they going to put their garbage? You are in crisis survival mode. I’d be throwing my garbage on the street too, especially if I had a mental-health issue untreated and the drugs I’m taking are contaminated. It’s obvious.”

      1. Housing activist Wendy Pedersen blames inadequate rent control for vulnerable groups as a major contributor.

        “Vulnerable groups” in lefty-speak usually refers to riffraff. And Compassion, Inc. “housing activists” are always affiliated with progressive patronage and graft rackets.

        1. Its a lot cheaper to put up the riffraff in SROs than it is to house them in prisons. The number of SROs has been declining since the 80s.

          East Hastings has been post-apocalyptical for as long as I can remember. But the number of tents and cardboard box dwellings has swelled in the last few years even before COVID. Haven’t seen it since January but it was pretty bad back then.

          1. Right up until the ne’er-do-wells tip the scale of fear against the normies, and that proportion ain’t 50-50.

      2. I’d be throwing my garbage on the street too, especially if I had a mental-health issue untreated and the drugs I’m taking are contaminated. It’s obvious.”

        These lefties always manage to justify reprobate behavior by the “victim” classes.

      3. One thing to remember about Vancouver and Victoria BC is that they dont have harsh winters like the rest of Canada.

        In addition, BC has better social assistance ($s and services) than the other provinces.

        So folks that are struggling, or dont want to work, or are addicts find a way to get out West.

        I think this is very similar to Seattle

        1. Come on, Seattle and Vancouver encourage hard drug use. Now we read about it in NYC and Boston. It’s not warm year round there.

        2. One of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met was a prostitute working the World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C., back in the 80’s. For me, she was haunting…took me some time to shake her vivid memory.

  2. ‘Landlords in the building are seeing their tenants move out. Mr. Worobel worries that if he wanted to leave nobody would buy his condo, or even rent it, which means he’s stuck’

    Well, it was cheaper than renting…

  3. This is social chaos. It’s social disorder. It’s a textbook case of what not to do when it comes to civil society. … No one would expect or accept to have to live in something like this.’”

    Say, Brock, did you by any chance vote for globalist Quislings?

    1. I don’t know how globalist the typical Canadian is, but this was a made in BC debacle. The city caved to developers, who were going to sell to speculators who didn’t live there. How many cities tried that? London, New York, Miami. Miami is pretty clean because it’s so devoid of people. But we got plenty of needle-strewn urban vibe housing bubbles all over the US.

      This article doesn’t mention money laundering. BC encouraged that for years too.

      1. Canada has the immigration system some (including Trump) would like for the U.S. More highly skilled and entrepreneurial, less family reunification.

        1. Australia was the same way up until the past decade I believe. Very high bar for skilled migration, and wages are pretty low there without even factoring in currency differences. Not sure how all the mooslums got in, but I think they had help from the COMMUNity activISTS if you get my drift.

          1. Very high bar for skilled migration, and wages are pretty low there without even factoring in currency differences

            I had a coworker who was married to an Aussie and lived there some 30+ years ago. Said he came back because the wages were horrible.

        2. Not to stereotype …

          The goal was to get well educated people to immigrate to Canada, build businesses, fill high value job openings etc.

          What happened is that the dad/mom – offered to invest $2-5M, either bought a small business, invested in special Canadian funds etc. The mom and kids moved to Canada – and they were spoiled and not interested in learning

          Meanwhile less well of kids from the same countries work hard and are super diligent.

          My brother is a prof at a major CDN university – and has all sorts of stories about how entitled the rich kids are. Sort of like legacy kids at the Ivy League schools

  4. From his developer’s perspective, he sees the situation as a result of what happens when rampant speculation drives up real estate prices and drives affordable housing out of the market.

    Bingo. Until the Keynesian fraudsters at the central banks are put in check, and the globalist Quislings are voted out of office and replaced with nationalists and conservatives, things are going to keep going from bad to worse.

    1. “Until the Keynesian fraudsters at the central banks are put in check, and the globalist Quislings are voted out of office and replaced with nationalists and conservatives, things are going to keep going from bad to worse.”

      Yeah? Well that ain’t the plan. Go here …

      Now is the time for a ‘great reset’ of capitalism | World Economic Forum
      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/

      (here’s a snip or two)

      “To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

      (pssssst … The World Economic Forum is a private club and, although you may end up footing the bill, you will never become a member)

  5. I think that there is a bit of leadership required, where I think the idea of how to help a disenfranchised segment of the population is not working. All I’ve seen is it get worse and worse. … .I am left wing in my political leanings, but it comes down to pragmatically how you have to go about your day, and I have pretty much an all-female staff and if they don’t feel safe coming into the office – then that’s a broken system.

    I love watching libtards in any country reap what they voted. And when it dawns on them that “progressive” politicians are without exception corrupt and incompetent.

    1. They don’t see it that way. In their bubble, the problem is that the leadership is not progressive enough. And the ills are Trump’s fault.

    2. I’m not familiar with this particular block but my brother and parents live in the West End of Vancouver not too far away. Areas away from the few devastated blocks of East Hastings were fine when I was there last in January. I’ve always been amazed at what a good job Vancouver does confining the riff-raff to a relatively small area east of downtown.

    3. Toronto and Seattle (and others) are also having big debates about tent cities. It is difficult to see a way out of this mess. Toronto Housing Authority is a complete mess (very bureaucratic and out of control costs). If any of us was assigned to manage XY apartments in an exisiting building (even without experience) we could do it for 50% of the current cost.

      https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/levy-tent-cities-out-of-control-in-toronto-parks?fbclid=IwAR3fH1i-MHMEBzTDsuXlUPCiAGIygHUDmPNrM_BcKT4uuDbjy0KwsU55thE

  6. “‘I sit here and I look at what has happened downtown, and to an extent on the west side – and Vancouverism, this concept that has been celebrated, is actually failing,’”

    Vancouverism?

    From the Net …

    “Vancouverism” is an internationally known term that describes a new kind of city living. Vancouverism combines deep respect for nature with enthusiasm for busy, engaging, active streets and dynamic urban life.

    Bahanahahahaha … a new kind of city living? Bahahahaha … I’ll say.

    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahanahahahahahahahahahaha.

    1. Yeah, there’s some hype but, regardless, no one can say Vancouver isn’t a really nice place to live. Single-family houses are astronomically expensive but class-B apartments are actually quite reasonable. I’ll most likely retire to a little West End apartment new Stanley Park.

      1. ‘no one can say Vancouver isn’t a really nice place to live’

        No one? There’s people in this article saying it’s an overpriced socialist sh$t-hole. Yer livin’ in the past.

        This puts something about manias in focus. When the money is flowing, everything looks great. When the money stops, and it always does, you realize it sucks.

      2. I’ll most likely retire to a little West End apartment new Stanley Park.

        So that Sandy Eggo condo you were talking about was just a bunch of BS, like all your speculative housing flips, huh Jingle?

  7. Hot off the press, New York Times hit piece on Trump’s taxes conveniently published a month before the election:

    http://archive.is/e0Oju

    It’s only been out for a few hours now, will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Meanwhile, Barrett has been officially nominated, that’s in the hands the hands of the Republican controlled Senate, and no amount of #OrangeManBad can block her from being seated on the court before the election.

    P.S. Bill Clinton is still a rapist. Trump’s taxes aren’t going to un-rape all the women he raped 🙁

    1. New York Times hit piece on Trump’s taxes

      He called it fake news as his press conference not too long ago.

      1. Like I said, we’ll see how it all plays out.

        What we do know, is that Real Journalists have been given a new set of talking points. They know Barrett can’t be stopped from being seated on the Supreme Court.

        Gropey Joe is gonna get carried off the debate stage this week in a stretcher, so they gotta #OrangeManBad with whatever crumbs they have…

        1. Well, if he didn’t pay state or city income taxes either, he has a lot of nerve demanding that the rest of us pay for even more officers for the overstaffed NYPD.

          Officers per 100,000 people in 2017 according to the Census of Governments:

          NYC: 574
          U.S. Avg: 198

          Maricopa County: 207
          Miami-Dade: 437
          Hennepin County (Minneapolis) 179
          Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) 213
          Multnomah County (Portland) 141
          King County (Seattle) 158
          Dallas County (Tx) 213
          Harris County (Houston) 194

          Just some of them. You can find the data for many more counties, for the 2007 and 1997 Census of Governments too, and for state and local government functions other than the police, here.

          https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/the-latest-public-finance-spreadsheets/

          1. Logic?

            A Real Journalist inspired, Southern Poverty Law Center promoted, and Soros funded Burn Loot Murder wishful mass killer just drove her car into a crowd of people who dared not bend the knee to globalists.

            “Though it never made the New York Times in the Daily News the caption read” — Simon & Garfunkel

          2. The tax code fosters all kinds of insane business dealings but no one will ever take it on.

            We’d collapse back the bronze age if they did.

        1. I’ll give The Donald a break here. He claims, on his tax returns, that netting out his failures, where his investors lost all their money, and his successes, he hasn’t really earned anything since the 1980s.

          I’m prepared to accept that this is actually true.

          The question then becomes how does he finance his lifestyle. My guess is he writes it off as a marketing expense.

          1. I hadn’t thought of deducting haircut expenses from my income as a performing musicians. People in the entertainment industry could learn a lot about what’s deductible by reading his tax returns, once they are finally released to the public.

    2. Strange that we haven’t heard much from Kamala Harris. I mean yeah, she’s out campaigning, but I don’t see any news about her setting the country on fire.

      1. “Strange that we haven’t heard much from Kamala Harris.”

        I’m sure her handlers have every minute of her day scheduled, her diet, etc., couldn’t possibly be any fun.

    3. WaPo is all over this too. But from what I can tell, there really aren’t any shockers or showstoppers. It does not appear to be enough to lose Trump any votes, and certainly not enough to switch any Trump votes to Biden.

  8. Unbelievable what’s going on here in Las Vegas. Very little makes the mainstream news. Daughter had to go over to the Strip this afternoon for job interview. Even though it’s a Sunday afternoon, I was not thrilled.

    NetworkinVegas.com @Networkinvegas
    Welcome to Las Vegas… Shooting at the Aria thanks to Sisolak’s new approved visitors!
    twitter.com/Networkinvegas/status/1308676853633224705

      1. I can understand why.
        You’d never know this was going on, and we’re only five miles away. LV business associations have banded together to force the hotels to raise rates.

  9. by Madeline MontgomerySaturday, September 26th 2020

    LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. (CBS12) — Hundreds of motorists and bikers hit the road in Loxahatchee with Trump flags flying Saturday morning.

    Motorcycles, trucks, and golf carts drove down Seminole Pratt in Loxahatchee to show support for the president and for law enforcement.

    The rally started at 11 a.m.

    Trump rally in loxahatchee Florida.

    Sep 27, 2020

    https://youtu.be/bd9BGpuw_jc

    How about a little Trump rap

    https://youtu.be/nsDMi7JKmhs

    1. What are the chances of a group of Soros funded Burn Loot Murder (hat tip to 401) peaceful protesters jumping in front of the lead vehicle in the Trump rally in loxahatchee Florida Sep 27, 2020 video above?

      1. Better yet, what are the chances that any of the vehicles following would have bothered to stop if it actually happened?

      2. Yesterday, a group in black bloc showed up to the local weekly Sunday gathering of Trump and anti-Trump/Biden supporters. According to one person on Nextdoor, a member of group spit in someone’s face and tried to overturn a vendor’s table. When I drove by, the Sheriff’s presence was larger than usual and they weren’t allowing traffic through the intersection. I thought it might have been because of the Yorba Linda incident on Saturday.

    1. Rick is absolutely worth subscribing to, if for nothing other than his “What makes this song great?” series. Nothing quite like learning things genuinely new about songs you’ve listened to over a thousand times…

  10. Does the 25% to 30% drop in real estate values merely apply to commercial? Or might residential face a similar hit ahead, once the dust settles on all of the temporary forbearance measures and eviction moratoriums?

    1. The Financial Times
      Property sector
      Destruction of value in US real estate revealed
      Commercial properties in difficulty are being valued at less than 75% previous level, appraisal data show
      Crowne Plaza hotel on Times Square in New York City: the value of hotels has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic due to the collapse of tourism
      © Alamy Stock Photo
      Joe Rennison yesterday
      Be the first to know about every new Coronavirus story

      Commercial properties hit by the economic effects of coronavirus could have lost as much as one-quarter of their value or more, laying bare the scale of the damage being wrought across American malls, hotels and other commercial buildings.

      Evidence emerging in the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market from recent appraisals also raises questions over the value of the collateral backing commercial mortgages throughout the financial system.

      Properties that have gotten into trouble are being written down by 27 per cent on average, data from Wells Fargo shows. New appraisals are triggered when a commercial property owner starts to have trouble paying the mortgage, and the loan is handed to a “special servicer” that could eventually seize the property on behalf of CMBS holders.

      “It’s a big number,” said Lea Overby, an analyst at Wells Fargo. “This is material.”

      Recent examples show hotels being especially hard hit, given the collapse in tourism and business travel. A Crowne Plaza hotel in Houston was valued at $25.9m this month, down 46 per cent from when it was bundled into a CMBS deal in 2014. The hotel, which sits just off the Katy Freeway has not paid its mortgage since March and was transferred to the special servicer in May.

      The Holiday Inn La Mirada, about 20 minutes drive from the centre of Los Angeles, was recently valued at $22.1m, down 27 per cent since it was securitised in 2015, having not paid its mortgage since April. Another Holiday Inn in Columbia, Tennessee, had its appraised value cut by 37 per cent this month to $7.7m.

      “The numbers themselves are atrocious,” said Gunter Seeger, a fixed income portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments. “A 30 per cent markdown in appraisals pretty much across the board is horrific.”

      1. My company is permanently closing office space in multiple states. The annual savings are huge, and leadership is no longer worried that work-from-home results in lost productivity.

        They keep building commercial space all along the I-15 though. Utah is addicted to construction.

    2. CR8R

      The Financial Times
      US banks
      US banks signal mounting concern over real estate lending
      Surge in so-called criticised loans driven by upheaval in property sector
      Boarded-up windows in the Nicolett Mall shopping district in downtown Minneapolis
      © CRAIG LASSIG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
      Robert Armstrong in New York September 7 2020

      US banks are increasingly worried about being repaid on loans secured against commercial property, as offices, malls and hotels continue to stand empty.

      The darkening outlook of banks is laid bare by disclosures on so-called criticised loans, which are flashing warning signals about a borrower’s ability to pay.

      Among the 10 banks with the largest increases, criticised loans rose by 62 per cent in aggregate in the second quarter, but criticised commercial real estate loans rose by 144 per cent, to $26bn, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

      The banks with the largest total increases include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, three of the four largest banks in the US by assets. Criticised loans at those banks are now equivalent to 9, 13, and 25 per cent of tier one equity capital — the core measure of a bank’s financial strength — respectively, according to S&P Market Intelligence.

      “People are looking pretty closely at criticised loans, particularly CRE loans. Because they’ve looked around the city and noticed it’s pretty empty,” said Brian Foran, regional bank analyst at Autonomous Research.

      A criticised loan is considered equivalent of debt rated CCC or lower by a credit agency.

      The dollar value of criticised loans jumped 42 per cent across the US banking sector as a whole in the second quarter, according to data gathered by Morgan Stanley. US banks have added $111bn to their loan loss reserves since the beginning of the year, according to the Federal Reserve.

    3. Do banks has to value the loans at mark-to-market for the underlying asset? Or can they extend and pretend?

      That will cause the biggest problem for them and the commercial real estate, and for large apartment housing

  11. I’m GenX and I can’t stand pop music either. Pop music — and country music, for that matter — largely went to crap in ~1992. (not counting some holdover artists from the 80s.) This weekend I tried to listen to 3 Billie Eilish songs and didn’t make it through any of them.

    1. Pop music — and country music, for that matter — largely went to crap in ~1992.

      I’m GenX and take my music pretty seriously. I agree things took a horrible turn when Nirvana went parabolic. But I’ve made my peace with pop. I think Eilish is good, and I admire the production on stuff like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. I do miss guitar music though…John Mayer and Keith Urban are pretty small oasis’s in a big desert. Meanwhile youtube is full of these insanely talented shredders who can’t seem to put a band together…maybe working together with other people is the real lost art for this generation.

  12. So long as housing prices continue cratering, all is well.

    God Bless President Donald J. Trump and God Bless America!

    1. Who would’ve thought calling everyone of a certain color evil would push them to vote against you? Certainly not the geniuses that graduate from elite schools.

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