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Richmond mayor cautions developer against asking for another extension

Landa Global Properties is building a hotel and condos on Elmbridge Way near the Olympic Oval.
An artist's rendering of a hotel and residential project near the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Richmond city council is giving a developer an extension on their application, which allows them to avoid increasing the number of affordable units they have to build.

But Mayor Malcolm Brodie cautioned the developer, Landa Global Properties, at Monday’s council meeting to take their eight-week extension “seriously.”

“I don’t want to be here on June 10th – or June 15th – thinking about another extension,” he said. “This is it, as far as I am concerned.”

City council upped its requirement for affordable housing units from 10 per cent to 15 per cent in city centre developments about 18 months ago.

The Landa development, on Elmbridge Way, was grandfathered into the lower amount due to the timing of its application. This was contingent on having projects ready for final approval within a year.

However, because city council asked Landa to do some extra work on traffic management, it was given an extension of about five months more - to April 15 - for final adoption.

But Landa asked for the extension to June 10, saying they are finalizing some legal paperwork.

In their plea to city council, they said increasing the affordable units and adding market rentals would have had “devastating financial implications” for the project, given higher construction costs and higher interest rates.

The development proposal is for 356 residential units and a 189-room hotel.

The developer for its part sent out a statement on Tuesday morning saying they are “grateful” to the city for granting the short extension “which means we can now move forward with this significant residential and hotel development.”

“We have been working on this project for five years, and we are now at the finish line and eager to bring this transformative project to life,” said Kevin Cheung, CEO of Land Global Properties in a media statement.

If city council hadn’t granted the extension, Landa would have had to increase the number of low-end market rentals and make 15 per cent of its units market rentals.

Only Coun. Michael Wolfe voted against granting the extension.

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