Significance of $6.5 Million/Acre Land

A big THANKS to one of our blog readers who has done extensive research of property values for the land under new buildings in Richmond’s City Centre. This post builds on the revealing facts that our reader has supplied.

The 2008 property tax assessments for high-density building lots near the Garden City Lands show land value that averages $6.5 million an acre. Under the Garden City Lands agreements, which make the presumption that the land will be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve, the speculator-developer parties (Canada Lands and Musqueam) acquired that ALR agricultural land for $70,000 per acre.

In around 2013, the City might also be able to complete the purchase of parts of the Garden City Lands (at $70,000 per acre). However, the City’s land would have to be used for the parkland required for the large new Garden City Lands population, along with other necessary uses such as roads and a reservoir. For practical purposes, there would be no new parkland on the Garden City Lands to meet the upcoming huge shortfall in City Centre parkland that is blatantly obvious in the City’s own public projections.

(An aside: After obvious required adjustments, the low-ball estimate of Garden City Lands development population from a City-hired expert works out to up to 14,000 to 17,000, which is higher than the conservative estimate made in this blog.)

On the other hand, if the Garden City Lands remain protected by the ALR, there is potential for all the property to be park in ways that retain its suitability for food production. Along with capable legal help, the City would need cooperation from the federal government, which MP John Cummins has publicly agreed to facilitate.

The City might have to buy the Garden City Lands at its current ALR-land value. That would be a small price in comparison to the many hundreds of millions that it would cost to buy that same amount of needed green space.

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