Shangri-La begins: a tall order for the well-heeled

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Malcolm Parry


IAN GILLESPIE and developer-partner Ben Yeung launched their 60-floor Shangri-La tower by inviting an overflow crowd to a tented plaza at Alberni and Bute Street Thursday.

Happily, the overflow didn’t occur streetside, where two Full Moon Washroom Rentals trailers hummed busily. (Should this outfit change from a lunar to planetary identity, let’s hope its chosen orbit isn’t between Saturn and Neptune.)

As for future Shangri-La dwellers, Bob Rennie said Jimmy Pattison and Senator Ed Lawson have signed up. Meanwhile, only five units remain for sale below the yet-unbuilt Shangri-La’s 42nd floor, and 30 of 60 above the 43rd, where prices run from $1.6 million to $5.35 million.

The event was rather eclipsed by a city hall steering committee choosing Gillespie’s Westbank Projects firm for a $149-million redevelopment of the former Woodward’s store.

City planning director Larry Beasley, who was at the Shangri-La shindig, said the city’s acquisition of the building for $5 million will greatly benefit the city and the Downtown Eastside community. The purchase was Mayor Larry Campbell and Councillor Jim Green’s first official act after being elected, Beasley said.

Not so, Green said later. “The first thing we did was legalize skateboarding.”

But will Campbell and Green’s often-recalcitrant fellow COPE council members endorse the steering committee’s decision when it comes before them Wednesday?”

“I can’t predict anymore,” Green grimaced.

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STEPHEN DARLING, who checked out as the Westin Grand hotel’s general manager recently, has signed on to run the 120-room Shangri-La hotel that will occupy 15 of the building’s floors.

He’s also regional vice-president and will begin welcoming guests when the hotel opens in late 2007.

Meanwhile, Daniel Craig has succeeded San-Francisco-fled David Currell as the Opus hotel’s GM, and is looking for someone to fill his old job as sales and marketing manager.

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BRYAN ADAMS, Justin Timberlake and Oprah Winfrey were rumoured to be buyers of a three-lot West Vancouver waterfront home that fetched $17 million in June and went on the market for $19.8 million last week.

I hear the buyer is actually Ivanhoe Mines chair Robert Friedland, although his name is unlikely to appear on land-registry records. Friedland hit the bigs when his Diamond Fields Resources sold its Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit for $4.3 billion in 1996.

Friedland, who resides mostly in Singapore and Australia, reportedly divested himself of the property in the early 1990s, and acquired it again from a former colleague, geological engineer Doug Forster.

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PATRICK REID, the Fraser Basin Council chair, may be revising the speech he’ll deliver at the council’s conference Nov 26-27. An announcement of the speech’s theme, Sustainability Works, was made Sept. 21, a day after The Sun’s Page One headline read: “Sockeye runs disastrously low, fisheries experts say.”

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STEPHEN HEGYES and Brightlight Pictures partner Shawn Williamson kicked off the Vancouver International Film Festival with a reception at Jack Evrensel’s CinCin restaurant this week. Vancouver Film Studios co-hosted the bash, and Pasquale Cusano’s Nuvo magazine sponsored it.

The do gave Williamson and Hegyes a rare chance to chat. The former jets to and from Rumania, where he is producing another computer-game-derived feature film, the $30-million BloodRayne. It’s been an easier commute for Hegyes, who is producing six independent features in Victoria with CHUM-TV.

The pair vamped at their party with The Collector series regular Sonya Salomaa, who also appeared in their rave-teenagers-meet-zombies flick, House Of The Dead.

Mayor Larry Campbell also kibitzed with unrelated Nicholas Campbell, who dramatizes hizzoner’s old coroner job in the TV series Da Vinci’s Inquest. The pair loomed over filmfest and city-hall veteran Jane MacDonald, unconsciously echoing a real-life drama that still pits some Scots against others.

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SHANE O’BRIEN and Mark Reddeko Rating 2opened Gallery Jones at 1725 West Third Avenue Thursday. Their nine-artist exhibition includes hand-painted photographs by former Province editor-in-chief Vivienne Sosnowski. Maybe our Patricia Graham will counter culturally by reprising her feted figure-skating routines.

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JOELY COLLINS is busier than many actresses dream of. She’s just finished a season of the Cold Squad TV series, has a recurring role in Da Vinci’s Inquest and is bagging plenty of other small-screen work.

She’s also in three movies to be screened at the Vancouver international Film Festival. She plays the title role in director Bruce McDonald’s The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess, and is in Mark A. Lewis’ Ill Fated and Shea Wageman’s short A Clown’s Gift.

Collins also makes her professional singing debut in Love Crimes.

Does that mean there’ll be gigs and albums in the manner of rocker-dad Phil?

“You’ll have to wait and see,” said Collins, who obviously can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, she’s finding time for Dutch-language lessons. She’d doubtless rather be in Holland, where her 12-month but so far unidentified squeeze is a sales-and-marketing executive.

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JIM HIBBARD, the veteran tap dancer-choreographer, won’t just shuffle his feet and say “Aw, shucks” when B.C. Hall of Fame brass induct him Nov. 11. He’ll dance solo to a big band playing the Blond Boys from Alabama song Rock Me. That day, of course, is an epic one for Taps.

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DR. PETER JEPSON-YOUNG died in 1992 after being the subject of a television documentary series that detailed his encounter with HIV/AIDS.

A foundation was soon endowed in his name. It raised capital to build the Dr. Peter Centre — — which opened a year ago at Thurlow and Comox Street.

Public visitors will be welcomed there from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.

More cash was raised at a reception recently, when Tracey Schonfeld, whose doctor-husband Mark once headed the B.C. Medical Association, bid $4,000 for dinner for two at a dozen city restaurants.

Entrepreneur Donald Hayes promptly added an equal amount to the pot.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

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