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Land exchange agreement relating to 1099 Richards and 508 Helmcken

March 28 2017

New Jubilee House opens the doors to 162 new affordable homes for at risk and low-income residents
Photograph by brenhill.com

In late 2012, Vancouver City Council approved a strategic land swap deal for its property at 508 Helmcken and property owned by Brenhill across the street from it at 1099 Richards.

At the time, staff and Council believed this to be an appropriate deal which served to deepen level of affordability and resulted in a new 162 unit social housing building.

Unique agreement between the City, Brenhill, and 127 Society

The City owned site at 508 Helmcken was encumbered with a long term lease in place until 2046 – so 127 Society, the current non-profit housing operator, would have to agree to surrender its lease in order for the City to monetize the land.

Furthermore, the building currently on site was old (built in 1985) and required increasing levels of maintenance and capital costs.

Net increase of 75 low-income units

The tripartite agreement between the City, Brenhill and 127 Society included a new building at 1099 Richards (opened in summer 2016) resulting in a net increase of 75 low-income units (162 in total) and allowed for seamless transition of residents across the road.

In order to do this, the 127 Society agreed to surrender its existing lease at 508 Helmcken and Brenhill took on all construction costs and risks associated with new building at 1099 Richards.

This was a unique transaction that Council approved through its direct sales policy, which was predicated upon effectively reaching a tripartite agreement between COV, Brenhill, and 127 Society rather than going out to the open market.

Ernst & Young find deal to be reasonable

In 2015 we hired an independent 3rd party (Ernst & Young) to review the deal - they found the deal to be reasonable.

They also recommended process improvements which the City implemented to ensure appropriate due diligence and analysis are undertaken to maximize value for all city land deals.

Since then we have tightened up our processes and internal controls, including undertaking independent 3rd party valuations to ensure the City is able to maximize value for all city land deals.

Report and documents

View the publicly available report and its findings: