New Westminster engaged in too-risky business
Re: Documents reveal friction between city, Uptown Property Group (Column, NewsLeader, Aug. 1)
Reading this article and knowing a few things about the civic centre project and office developments in general, I believe New Westminster city council should not build the office tower.
Property developers in this region are only building speculative office space in downtown Vancouver, not New Westminster.
The city should not be allowed to swap funds around so it can do this project.
My concerns are based on the following:
• the only major office space being built in New West is by Wesgroup at the Brewery District site, and only after they secure a tenant. It will take many years to totally build out that site as they slowly attract tenants. They are not building it on spec.
• Already there is more than one million square feet of office space being built that will open in the next three years in Greater Vancouver (MetroTower III at Metrotown and four office towers downtown).
• No private investor is looking to New Westminster to invest in new office space. That's why the city hasn't found a major tenant or buyer.
The City of New West is not a property developer. This is not their mandate. It is not too late to cap the building at the roof of the civic centre component and cancel the office component, unless a major tenant (more than 60,000 square feet of the 137,000 sq ft) can be found.
Better still, why not fill the hole with the planned parkade and cap it at street level creating no $59 million loan, no missing tenants, no major debt.
As a taxpayer in New West I do not want to be burdened with mounting debt and a city-funded white elephant.
We have too many other issues—concerns to address like paying off the over budget Pier Park, placing funds aside for a replacement Massey Theatre and a replacement Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre, all projects to be completed in the next seven years.