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Metro Vancouver condo developers pivot to rentals

The hot multi-family rental sector has attracted the attention of some of the region’s largest residential developers
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Wesbank and QuadReal plan Vancouver’s tallest rental tower at the Oakridge Centre redevelopment. | Chung Chow

While purpose-built market rental construction has been slow in recent years, Metro Vancouver condominium developers have started to pivot towards rental construction, according to Mark Goodman of Goodman Commercial, who publishes the Goodman Report on the multi-family market with partner Cynthia Jagger.

The movement to rentals should not be surprising: sales of multi-family rental buildings are on a frantic pace this year, notching $1.64 billion worth of transactions through the first six months of 2021.

First-half sales were 45 per cent higher than the entire 2020 annual total and appear on pace to hit the third-highest annual sales volume ever recorded, according to Goodman.

The latest Goodman Report for mid-2021 provided the following list of new rental builds and condominium conversions:

• Westbank and QuadReal have revised plans at the Oakridge redevelopment in Vancouver to include a 100 per cent 52-storey rental building, which, if completed, would be Metro Vancouver’s tallest rental tower.

• Westbank and Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust have revised plans for the Safeway site redevelopment at Broadway and Commercial, increasing the rental units from 160 to 452 units while reducing its strata units

• Bosa revised a West End, Vancouver, condo application, announcing two 34-storey towers containing 575 new rental units.

• Rize Alliance revised its City Centre site in Surrey from a 30-storey strata tower to a 38-storey, 392-unit secured market rental building. Bosa has also announced a new 375-unit rental building for Surrey.

• Toronto-based Starlight Developments announced an all-rental rezoning of Lougheed Village on the Burnaby-Coquitlam border, comprising three additional concrete tower buildings with 1,200 new rental apartments.

 • Marcon, in partnership with QuadReal, have submitted a rezoning application for a 11.6-acre property in Coquitlam Town Centre. A purpose-built rental complex with 126 rental units is included in the first phase.