In condo crazy Vancouver, downtown's last gas station for sale
Looking to fill up in downtown Vancouver? Good luck.
With condominiums crowding the city’s skyline, there’s not a lot of space left to build more. So, when land does become available, it is often scooped up by developers willing to shell out big bucks.
For downtown Vancouver’s last gas station, that could now mean a major windfall -- and a major headache for those who rely on it.
“If you look at the value of the dirt, there’s just no possible way that just having a stand-alone gas station makes any kind of sense financially,” Tsur Somerville, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, told CTV Vancouver.
Downtown Vancouver’s second last gas station was recently sold to a development company for a staggering $72 million. That sale prompted the owners of Downtown Vancouver’s last gas station, an Esso located at the intersection of Burrard and Davie Street, to put their property on the market too.
And while that may be good news for condominium developers, Stephen Regan, executive director of the West End Business Improvement Association, says that selling the station will come with consequences.
“Losing a gas station, and possible the last gas station in downtown, is going to have some significant impacts, I think, for locals and for visitors,” he said.
Vancouver is not alone when it comes to closing downtown gas stations. Several cities in the U.S. are replacing stations with big housing projects. In San Francisco, for example, real estate development has pushed pumps to the city’s periphery. It is estimated that there are 40 per cent fewer stations in the country than a decade ago.
“Pumping gasoline is not a very high margin business,” Somerville added. “You’ve got to sell a lot of slushies, a lot of lotto tickets in order to make those kinds of millions. So, you know, it is not surprising.”
The station is being sold by Colliers International. No asking price has been listed.
Real estate agents, however, say that there has already been a lot of interest in the property, and it if sells, it will likely fetch tens of millions of dollars. Such a sale would thus make Vancouver the first big city in Canada to lack gas pumps in its downtown core.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy