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Rize Alliance buys 5 homes, plans 2 Vancouver multires towers

Property assembly, near Queen Elizabeth Park and Oakridge Centre, falls within the Cambie Corridor Plan

Rize Alliance acquired a five-property assembly along Heather St., in Vancouver's Cambie Corridor earlier this year. It is planning two 18-storey multifamily towers. (Courtesy Rize Alliance)
Rize Alliance acquired a five-property assembly along Heather Street in Vancouver's Cambie Corridor earlier this year. It is planning two 18-storey multiresidential towers. (Courtesy Rize Alliance)

After buying an assembly of five single-family homes for roughly $40 million on Vancouver's Heather Street near Oakridge Centre, Rize Alliance has submitted a rezoning application to the city to redevelop the site into two 18-storey rental towers.

The area, near Queen Elizabeth Park just north of Oakridge Centre, is undergoing considerable change. It falls within the Cambie Corridor Plan, a 30-year plan that aims to promote “significant change in the corridor over the coming decades and will, together with growth on major project sites, more than double the population and add over 30,000 new homes.”

The plan says that would make the Cambie Corridor the largest growth area outside of Downtown Vancouver.

The application by Rize Alliance aims to rezone the property from RS-1 (Residential) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District to build 344 secured market rental units, including approximately 69 below-market rental homes.

The two towers, built atop a four-storey podium, would top out at 175 feet with an additional 12 feet of rooftop amenity space. There would be room for 226 vehicle parking spaces and 642 bicycle parking spaces.

National architecture firm DIALOG is listed as the architect on the rezoning application.

Cambie Corridor plan density surge continues 

The corridor has been redeveloping since the Canada Line opened in 2009.

The Cambie Corridor Plan has already led to significant residential development along Cambie Street and connecting streets — a neighbourhood that was predominantly single-family homes.

Ultimately, the Cambie plan aims to convert the area into a high-density hub that includes a mix of low- and mid-rise buildings.

The tallest structures would be located at and around the Marine Drive Canada Line station and Oakridge Centre, which is now experiencing a massive redevelopment.

Westbank is reconstructing the former Oakridge Mall, transforming the site into a towering hub with 2,600 homes for 6,000 residents.

The master plan also includes more than 300 retail stores and office space for 3,000 workers. It will also include a community centre, a day care, a library, green space and venues for live performances.

The Rize Alliance site, five or six blocks north of Oakridge, covers five addresses at 5350-5430 Heather St.

Rize Alliance declined to offer further comment on its plans at this early stage of the development process.

Promise of high-density conversions still fetching a premium 

Luk Real Estate Group represented the sellers in the deal. Will Maunsell, an associate vice-president with the Luk group, said the deal closed for roughly $40 million.

"That's the approximate price on the site," he said. "One thing to keep in mind is the land-use plan when looking at pricing."

The five lots equate to about an acre. "These sites are really tough to put together," Maunsell said, noting the deal completed in January.

Despite interest rates rising substantially over the past year and a half, there still is capital in the market chasing large-scale redevelopment sites, said Kelvin Luk, founder and principal with the firm.

"The two hot asset classes are probably multifamily rental buildings and industrial," Luk said. "That's kind of the framework in the marketplace right now.

"We did transact as a team on another site on West 42nd Avenue, which is another two-tower site that we sold to a local developer.

"That was done in 2022. It shows signs that there's . . . still some demand from local developers, with the right partners, to develop these high-profile sites."

It’s not easy to put these kinds of deals together, Maunsell said, noting the elevated borrowing costs and few other large-scale transactions for comparison.

"The scale of the site in two towers really makes the economics work a lot better than, say, a one-tower site,” he said.

"As Oakridge is built-out as, effectively, a second downtown, a lot of people are drawn to that area (who) want to live there," Maunsell said, drawing a comparison to Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby.

Brentwood is now taking shape as a high-density transit-oriented residential, retail, dining and entertainment hub, particularly at The Amazing Brentwood, which was among the first major projects to emerge in the town centre.

As the Cambie Corridor Plan starts to bear fruit, the Oakridge Centre redevelopment is pulling plenty of activity into its own orbit, Maunsell added.

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