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Vancouver developer cancels 17-storey office tower for Granville Entertainment District

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A major project to help revitalize Vancouver's Granville Entertainment District has hit a speed bump.

Bonnis Properties, the developer behind the project, has canceled plans to build a 17-storey office tower, citing a lack of urgency from city planners and a shift in office vacancy rates.

“Time kills all great things, and what really killed this project was city staff and planning,” said Kerry Bonnis, a principal with the development company.

Bonnis said declining demand for office tenancy also contributed to the company’s decision.

“The effect of COVID-19 was extremely detrimental to office tenancy demands,” he said.

The project, called 800 Granville, is still slated to include restaurant and performance spaces. It's part of the city’s push to revitalize the Granville strip. Part of that planning includes expanding and enhancing public space to support a range of activities, protecting and strengthening job space, expanding tourism and improving transportation.

Coun. Rebecca Bligh said she was disappointed to hear the developer’s decision to cancel the office component.

“It’s obviously a little troubling as a city councillor when we see major proposals back to the drawing board," she said.

Bligh said despite the setback, the city is committed to renewing the area.

“We know that revitalizing this area in terms of the overall opportunity that there is to create a really exciting, vibrant hub in our downtown core is 100 per cent a priority,” she added.

Bonnis said the company is now looking at finding other uses to fill the space.

“We need to sort of define and refine what looks possible,” he said.

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