CALL FOR NON-PROFIT HOUSING PROVIDERS TO BOYCOTT PANTAGES/SEQUEL 138 PROJECT
As you have probably heard, property developer Marc Williams plans to build a mixed-use building called Sequel 138 on the grounds of the recently demolished Pantages Theatre. He is proposing 79 condos selling for approximately $227,000, commercial retail, a bottom floor arts space, as well as a token 18 units for social housing (as required by the DEOD zoning). Sequel 138 has not yet secured a social housing provider.
We are writing to ask that you, as a non-profit housing provider, refuse to collaborate with Sequel 138.
Condos at the Pantages will violate the city’s DTES Housing Plan which calls for “the pace of development of new market and low-income housing” to be similar. If Sequel 138 and other condo developments are allowed to proceed before social housing for low income residents is in place, market housing will be outpacing social housing by a ratio of at least 3 to 1 as there are about 500 new market units being proposed in the DTES. Furthermore if Sequel 138 goes through, it will only further open the flood gates for more condo developers in the Downtown Eastside under the guise of ‘social mix’ as we have seen with the recent approval of condo towers in Chinatown through the Historic Area Height Review.
The negative consequences of condos on the 100 block will far outweigh the crumbs of 18 social housing units. Condos in the heart of the neighbourhood will cause higher property values, higher rents in SROs, and displacement of current low-income residents. The growing number of expensive restaurants and commercial retail are making low-residents feel increasingly unwelcome in their own neighbourhood, and we already see greater numbers of private security and police, especially around Carrall Street.
We believe we can stop this project. Sequel 138 failed to maintain safety standards during the demolition process and both the City and WorkSafe BC have shut down demolition work. The Urban Design Panel has unanimously rejected this project so far. And numerous artists from around the city, including Art Space Action Society, have refused to work with Sequel 138 given the controversy surrounding the project.
As non-profit housing providers who are committed to providing safe and affordable housing to low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside, we ask that you do not work with Sequel 138. The community clearly does not want more condos in the DTES until decent, affordable housing for current residents is secured. This is shown by over 1500 petition signatures as well as 40 groups that have already signed the DTES Community Resolution calling on the city to stop the Pantages development and instead to create 100% resident-controlled social housing on the site.
A list of organizational signatories to the DTES Community Resolution is here: https://dtesnotfordevelopers.wordpress.com/savepantages/
We ask that you join the growing chorus of voices opposing this Project and sign onto the pledge below.
I, the undersigned non-profit social housing provider, will not collaborate with Sequel 138 to provide social housing in a condo development that is facing opposition in the Downtown Eastside.
We look forward to your response and feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.
Harsha Walia firstname.lastname@example.org or 778 885 0040
Ivan Drury email@example.com or 604 781 7346
Paul Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Swanson email@example.com or 604 729 2380
For Stop Pantages Condos Coalition: Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Action Project, DTES Neighbourhood Council, DTES Power of Women Group, Gallery Gachet, Streams of Justice, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users