Your informative article on Cadillac Fairview’s proposed office tower beside Waterfront Station appeared alongside an article about how the highest and best use form of commercial property taxation is harming small businesses.
Interestingly, Cadillac Fairview, who owns Waterfront Station is not paying property taxes based on highest and best use but on its current rental revenue stream only. This is because, according to the BC Assessment Authority, the Waterfront Station is a heritage building and future development rights, if any, are unclear at this point.
With no holding costs, Cadillac Fairview can do the citizens of Vancouver a big favour and wait until the city’s Central Waterfront Plan currently underway is complete. This last piece of prime waterfront in the downtown deserves an overall plan. Such a plan could preserve great outdoor spaces including this proposed office site, which is a very special urban space graced by the two heritage buildings, open to spectacular mountain views, and is the gateway of Gastown, the historic heart of Vancouver. The plan will improve and expand transit connections and provide a waterfront cycling and pedestrian route to Stanley Park.
The Waterfront Plan will also figure out the right scale and density for office space (including office space for Cadillac Fairview), shopping, restaurants and cultural activities. Let’s plan for our fabulous waterfront with public interests at the heart of all decisions, before we let developers with narrower interests do the planning for us.