Construction Update Aug 2009: Woodward’s – 108-128 W Cordova, Ritz Carlton 58 storey dev going ahead in March 2009, Jameson House going ahead to be built by Robert Bosa, Cosmo by Concord at $600/ft sold out

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Malcolm Parry

NEW SPACE RACE: Recessionary chills are declining in numerous economic sectors. High among them is housing, on which the development community is throwing warm water again.

With the $330-million Woodward’s redevelopment closing, 160 buyers received their keys last week. Meanwhile, that project’s Ian Gillespie appears nearer to acquiring the Bayshore property. That should see two condo towers and a second hotel — estimated value $127 million — added to the Coal Harbour waterfront site. Gillespie reportedly now has until mid-October to complete due diligence on the deal.

As for hotels, don’t expect a 127-room Ritz Carlton on West Georgia Street. Malaysia-based Holborn Group president Joo Kim Tiah still has contractual obligations to renegotiate with the hotel chain, but the Arthur Erickson-designed 58-floor tower-with-a-twist should go ahead again in March with smaller, less-ritzy condos on the upper floors and a different-named hotel below. Original condo-buyers’ deals were cancelled in April. Multi-property owner Rob McDonald later half-joked it’d be a good site for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s luxury St. Regis brand. He’d just spent $11 million refurbishing his Dunsmuir-at-Seymour St. Regis hotel and has legal right to that title here. Still, Tiah’s father, Holborn chair and TA Enterprise executive chairman Datuk Tony Tiah Thee Kian, owns the now-renovating,185-room Aava Whistler hotel and others, so who knows?

On one of downtown’s smaller sites, at Hastings off Hornby Street, the 31-floor, $180-million Jameson House looks ready to roll again with Bosa Properties founder Robert Bosa supplanting brothers Tony, John and Tom Pappajohn, and son-president Colin Bosa running the project. Original purchasers have reportedly been offered renewal discounts from one to 15 per cent. The question for the Bosas and marketer Bob Rennie will be whether to sell hard right away or wait a year for better prices and activity.

Meanwhile, 250 buyers marched past the B.C. Regiment’s Beatty Street drill hall recently to pay some $600 per square foot for all the units of Concord Pacific’s adjacent Cosmo project.

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