The developers of three high-profile high-rise projects in Vancouver are all seeking out an extension on their respective deadlines to meet their rezoning conditions, which could result in each of those projects getting more delayed than they already are.

Normally, when a rezoning application receives approval following a public hearing, the approval is only in principle. The developers then have a set amount of time to meet certain conditions — finalizing designs, signing housing agreements and paying fees, among other things — before the new zoning bylaw is officially enacted.

The amount of time the developer is given can vary, but in the case of these three projects, they all are located within Vancouver's West End, where the City — at the start of the pandemic — allowed developers 24 months to meet their rezoning conditions after "extensive negotiations" between the City and developers, according to the City.

The process of meeting those conditions is largely applicant-driven, and if the conditions are not met by the deadline, the City has the right to revoke the rezoning approval or send the application back to the public hearing stage.

Recently, three developers reached out to the City seeking 12-month extensions on their respective deadlines. Two of those deadlines are today, October 12, while the third is in December.

The City has voiced a desire to help these projects get off the ground, but also wants to "ensure the timely delivery of housing."

Also relevant to the recommendation is community amenity contribution (CAC) payments, which usually have to be paid just prior to rezoning enactment. These CAC payments are charged on projects that require rezoning and can be delivered as physical amenities provided in-kind or as a cash payment.

Developers often opt for the latter, but cash CACs, the City notes, "diminish in value over time" because of inflation — the payment would be for an amount that was determined months, or years, ago, before cost escalation.

As a result of these two major factors, City staff and the City's Risk Management Committee are recommending the developers be granted six-month extensions, rather than the 12-month extension the three developers are seeking.

Those three developers and their projects are:

1450 W Georgia Street

Developer: Wesgroup Properties

Rezoning Approved: October 12, 2021

Deadline + Six-Month Extension: April 12, 2024

CAC Payment: $8,900,000

Wesgroup Properties, perhaps best known as the developer of the River District, submitted its rezoning application for 1450 W Georgia Street in December 2018. The site is currently occupied by a 25-storey rental building that was originally constructed in 1955, according to BC Assessment records. In its place, Wesgroup is proposing a 49-storey tower with 193 strata condominiums and 162 market rental units (originally 135 and 162, respectively).

1157 Burrard Street

Developer: Prima Properties

Rezoning Approved: October 12, 2021

Deadline + Six-Month Extension: April 12, 2024

CAC Payment: $10,600,000

Prima Properties also submitted its rezoning application for 1157 Burrard Street in December 2018 and received rezoning approval at the same public hearing where Wesgroup's rezoning application was approved. The site is currently used as the Davie Village Community Garden at the intersection of Burrard Street and Davie Street, next to St. Paul's Hospital. Prima Properties is proposing a 47-storey tower with 289 strata condominiums, a 37-space childcare facility, and an arts and culture space.

1640-1650 Alberni Street

Developer: 1650 Alberni Residential Ltd. and 1650 Alberni Commercial Ltd. (Landa Global)

Rezoning Approved: December 9, 2021

Deadline + Six-Month Extension: June 9, 2024

CAC Payment: $32,700,000

Landa Global submitted its rezoning application for 1640-1650 Alberni Street in June 2020 and received rezoning approval in December 2021. The site is currently occupied by a 15-storey residential building originally constructed in 1969, according to BC Assessment records, and a three-storey office building. In its place, Landa Global has proposed a 43-storey building with 198 strata condominiums and 66 market rental units (originally 211 and 66). Unlike the other two projects, and because of the high dollar amount, Landa Global's CAC payment will be paid in phases.

These extension requests are not dissimilar from one seen earlier this year, when Anthem Properties sought out a deferral on their $10M CAC payment for their Park project at 1616-1698 W Georgia Street. The City has not indicated that these three developers are seeking out extensions specifically because they want to delay their CAC payments, but like Anthem, all of the requests were made to the City with the intention of getting their projects to the construction phase.

RELATED: Anthem CEO Eric Carlson On The $10M CAC Deferral, State Of Housing Development

"Though it may have been possible for the applicant to have achieved enactment of the CD-1 By-laws for each of the rezoning applications within the 24-month timeframe, staff would characterize the process and effort on the part of the applicants as being supportive and interested in advancing their respective projects," staff said. "A number [of] agreements and conditions have been satisfied, with only a few outstanding Conditions of Approval remaining for each project."

Staff have left the door open for Council to grant the requested 12-month extension, and have also noted the possibility of charging interest — the Bank of Montreal daily prime rate + 2% — on the cash CAC balance that remains after the six-month extension. Council is expected to make a decision on the requests on Tuesday, October 17.