richmond review, july 23, 2014

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July 23, 2014 edition of the Richmond Review


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    REVIEW the richmond Summer Clarke and Team Caribbean win at Nations Cup 14

    Gateway Theatre hosts plays from Hong Kong 3 / City gets digging at Minoru 3

    Commercial property owners now fetching princely sums as prices soar

    by Martin van den HemelStaff Reporter

    Several sizable chunks of commercial real es-tate along No. 3 Road in the citys downtown core have recently been gobbled up by inves-tors or are about to be, The Richmond Review has learned.

    Much of the land is designated for future residential use in the City of Richmonds of-fi cial community plan, and prices have soared.

    The property at 8111 Ackroyd Rd., the for-mer home of Chapters bookstore, has a con-ditional contract for sale with a price tag of about $68 million, according to sources. This property, known as Richport Town Centre Shopping Mall, was sold in 2009 by Colliers, when it had an assessed value of $32.3 mil-lion, according to Vancouver Real Estate Blog (

    Whats known as the Time Square property on No. 3 Road, a strip mall between Park and Cook roads, directly across the street from Richmond Centre shopping mall, sold for $20.2 million less than 18 months ago.

    Another 4.9 acre assembly of three ad-dresses, at 7960 Alderbridge Way, 5333 and 5411 No. 3 Roadboasting 742 feet of un-obstructed frontage along No. 3 Road, at the southwest corner of Alderbridgesold earlier this year for $69 million.

    The Acura dealership has an accepted off er of $17 million, but that deal wont close for a few months and this site is designated to re-main commercial, according to the citys OCP.

    And the home of The Richmond News, at 5731 No. 3 Rd., was sold by Glacier Media Group for $6 million in January. The buyer was a private investor (0986629 B.C. Ltd.) Another adjacent property is now on the market for $6.6 million.

    Bal Atwal, a principal with Avison Young Commercial Real Estate Inc., has been in-volved in the commercial real estate industry for more than a decade, the last seven with Avison Young.

    He sold the Alderbridge Way and No. 3 Road property, which includes 78,200 square feet of single-storey retail buildings, and is across the street from the Lansdowne Station of the Canada Line.

    The owners have seen the prices escalate to a point where they have hit new peaks and are starting to fl atten out, Atwal said. Owners are seeing this as a potential right time to sell.

    Also driving landowners to sell now is the knowledge that the next price escalation is probably another fi ve to 10 years away, he said.

    With property taxes based on land value, which has increased about 40 per cent in the last fi ve years, Atwal said his clients see this as an opportunity to sell their land assets and place their equity elsewhere.

    Atwal said hes been involved in about 90 per cent of the major deals along No. 3 Road over the last three or four years.

    While hes involved in the Chapters property sale, he said hes bound by a confi dentiality agreement and wouldnt confi rm the selling price or the identity of the prospective owners.

    While a signifi cant number of the buyers involved in the recent transactions along No. 3 Road are from overseas, he clarifi ed that foreign investors do not form the bulk of the buyers.

    A lot of the properties have been bought by local private investors, he said.

    Asked if any of his clients are on the verge of developing their newly acquired land, Atwal characterized the investors as being patient.

    Many are willing to hold the property at very low returns and wait for the next cycle to arrive, he said.

    See Page 3

    Branko Popazivanov photoA member of the Birds goes airborne against a cast of Monkeys at the 2014 Dolphin Basketball Classic held last weekend at Thompson Community Centre in Richmond. For more, see P. 14.

    Classic hoopInvestors eye prizes in downtown Richmond

    Owners are seeing this as a potential right time to sell.

    Bal Atwal

  • Page 2 Richmond Review Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Richmond Review Page 3

    Three productions from Hong Kong set for local stage

    by Matthew HoekstraStaff Repoter

    Three world-class theatre productions from Hong Kong will be presented at the fi rst-ever Gateway Pacifi c Theatre Festival Aug. 15 to 24.

    At a press conference to launch the festival on Tuesday, producer Esther Ho said she and Gateway artistic director Jovanni Sy travelled throughout China earlier this year to scout potential shows.

    We searched for the best shows for our community, she said.

    For this years inaugural festival, three shows from Hong Kong will be featured.

    The festival will present two plays in Canton-ese with English surtitles. A third is a non-ver-bal performance that mixes martial arts with clowning. All three plays will feature cast and crew from Hong Kong.

    The plays are:Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studios Detention is

    a physical comedy for all ages, running Aug. 15 to 17. Its non-verbal, so theres no surtitles. Set during an after-school detention session, three boys compete for the aff ections of their classmate. Its an example of classic Hong Kong humour thats enjoyed three separate runs in Hong Kong. Audiences will witness acrobatics, clowning, martial arts and percus-sion from the cast. The play was a hit at the

    Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012.The Isle, running Aug. 20 to 22, tells the

    story of one couples encounter on a remote island where their past and present overlap. They wrestle with the question of staying or leaving in a play described as a compassion-ate yet skeptical take on enduring love. It is written by Hong Kong playwright Paul Poon,

    The Fire of Desire runs Aug. 22 to 24. It is based on the classic 1900 play Reigen by Ar-thur Schnitzler (better known by its French title La Ronde), updating the setting to pres-ent-day Hong Kong. Five men and fi ve wom-enall played by the same two actorsex-plore their frustrations and perspectives on love, marriage and sex in 10 scenes, each tak-ing place in a room with a diff erent man and woman.

    Ho has big ambitions for the festival. Next years shows will be in Mandarin with English surtitles and Gateway plans for the festival to run annually for 15 years.

    Its really a celebration of Richmonds diversity and the large number of Chinese speakers (here), Sy said in an interview. Ive always loved international theatre and just being familiar with the theatre scene in Hong Kong, they do some outstanding work there, and it deserves to be seen in North America.

    Tickets to MainStage shows are $50 for adults and $25 for students; The Isle is $35 for adults and $20 for students. Call the Gateway Theatre Box Offi ce at 604-270-1812 or visit for tickets.

    with notes from Bhreandin Clugston

    Gateway to host international plays

    Bhreandin Clugston photo (above)Esther Ho announces the line-up to the inaugural Gateway Pacifi c Theatre Festival. The festival features three plays from Hong Kong, including Detention (left).

    Martin van den Hemel photoMondays ground-breaking ceremony launched construction of the $79.6 million multi-purpose complex on the site of what was Richmonds fi rst artifi cial turf fi eld. Richmond Mayor Malcolm was joined by coun-cillors, Richmond Aquatics Services Board chair Ian MacLeod, Minoru Seniors Society president Kathleen Holmes, and Richmond Sports Council chair Jim Lamond.

    Multi-purpose facility to open in 2017; will house aquatic centre and older adults facility

    by Martin van den HemelStaff Reporter

    Construction of a $79.6 million combined aquat-ics and seniors facility began Monday with a cer-emonial ground-breaking ceremony.

    But Ian MacLeod, chair of the Richmond Aquatics Services Board, thanked city staff and Richmond council for changing their plans for the site, opting to avoid closing the pool and instead relocate the placement of the facility.

    I think it would have been a disaster, MacLeod said about the initially-planned closure.

    Some 1,250 people use Minoru Pools facility ev-ery day, and forcing all those people to turn else-where for a couple of years during the construction period would have been unwise, he said.

    I thank council for having listened, he said.The new facility is scheduled to open in 2017.To fi nance the project, one of several known as

    the Minoru Civic Precinct projects, the city is using its own reserves and borrowing about $50 million to take advantage of low interest rates.

    The Minoru Civic Precinct projects also includes a new City Centre Community Centre, which is currently under construction at Minoru Boulevard and Firbridge Way and is slated to open in 2015, as well as the new No. 1 Fire Hall, which will be built immediately west of the multi-purpose complex.

    Construction of a new aquatic and older adults centre are top priorities for our council, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said. We need these new facilities to meet the existing and future needs of

    our growing and evolving community. This new multi-purpose complex will become a focal point for our community as it delivers a mix of outstand-ing services for a diverse