A syndicate of Chinese investors seeks to turn one of Vancouver’s last protected industrial sites, the iconic Molson Coors factory, into “a great sea view apartment development” according to investment documents.
In November 2015, Molson Coors confirmed to Postmedia News the sale of its three-hectare site at the foot of Burrard Bridge to a mystery buyer, for an undisclosed price. Postmedia reported that the sale wouldn’t close until early 2016 and experts estimated the price could have been about $190 million.
Property documents still connect the site to Molson Inc. The site is zoned industrial and protected in that usage by Metro Vancouver’s board and Vancouver city planners, Vancouver’s assistant planning director Kent Munro told The Province on Wednesday.
Munro said the city doesn’t know who the Molson site buyer is and “no one has come in and talked to us.”
Both the city and Metro Vancouver see the site as important for long-term industrial job creation.
Munro said Metro Vancouver would have to approve a residential rezoning before Vancouver council did the same through a public hearing.
“Last year Molson spoke to us before they tried to sell it, about (rezoning) potential, and we gave the same answer,” Munro said.
“It’s in Metro Vancouver’s regional context statement, and the City … don’t have any plans to change it.”
A spokesman said Mayor Gregor Robertson has not received “any new applications” for the Molson site.
But in online advertisements at vansky.com, a Chinese-language site for investors in the Lower Mainland, Sun Commercial Real Estate apparently announces residential plans for the lands with an ad that includes pictures of the brewery site.
“Sun Commercial real estate brewery project recruit shareholders, 330,000 feet of great sea view apartment development,” says an English translation of Sun Commercial’s materials. The plan says small investors are required to contribute $150,000 and “VIP customers” must invest $100 million. However the VIP contribution is already “full,” documents say.
The plan is “zero risk, high return,” the translated Sun Commercial document says, and “existing brewery investment project in full swing … almost nearing completion.” …
In one deal advertised online, Sun Commercial reported buying a Cambie property across from Oakridge for $19 million in July 2013 and selling it for $26 million in October 2013, after holding it for just three months. Kevin Sun is director of Qiji, one of the companies connected to the deal in legal documents.
– from ‘Sea view apartment development’ on tap for Vancouver’s Molson site, Sam Cooper, The Province, 14 Jan 2016 [hat-tip to ‘hello …anybody listening’]
So, a (large) wager based on the belief that the City zoning for this site can be changed or that a greater fool can be convinced that that will be the case. A “speculative land play”, as Sam Cooper puts it in the video. Hats-off to Cooper and The Province for the investigative journalism. – ed.
Here is a Sept 2015 article by Sam Cooper, profiling Julia Lau, apparently one of the players in the Molson speculation.