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Growing Pains in Railtown

The Nascent Neighbourhood

Railtown 1The Vancouver Observer, an online independent newspaper, in an October 2013 article describes Railtown as “A taste of Brooklyn in Vancouver” and as “Vancouver’s final frontier.” The article defines this small area as within Alexander Street on the south and the railyards on the Burrard Inlet waterfront on the north between Columbia Street and Heatley Avenue. A May 2014 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) online article defines the area as somewhat larger extending from the waterfront as far south as Hastings Street between Main Street and Hawkes Avenue, a slight shift eastward, but both articles include a core area from Alexander Street north between Main Street and Heatley Avenue, and both express concern over gentrification.

The Gentrification Controversy

In a sidebar, “A brief history of gentrification in Vancouver,” The Observer defines gentrification as “people being pushed out of their neighbourhood by people with more money,” noting that the gentrification boom follows a long period of deterioration in which property values fell to very low levels. During this period, nobody paid property taxes, the city seized land for delinquent taxes, then sold it for bottom-level prices to buyers eager to profit from the 1966 Strata Titles Act, which for the first time made mere apartments real estate. Before that law there were no condos, just single-owner or cooperative properties. Condominium construction and conversion accelerated gentrification of neighbourhoods and displacement of their residents unable to buy into the change.

Railtown 3The Observer concludes that the city should explore “more creative modes” of property ownership by cooperative, shared ownership of whole buildings, cohousing, and laneway housing, small structures typically built in the rear of pre-existing. The CBC laments the facts that rapid growth in Railtown may be good news for business but that 13,000 Downtown East Side low-income residents living on pensions or welfare benefits face the threat of eviction.

New Attractions

Once a rough industrial district of dives and brothels, Railtown today is home to the avant-garde Railtown Design District, six affiliated businesses aiming to make the neighborhood a centre of architectural advancement. In addition to the Design District, Railtown has seen several new businesses and cafes arrive as old warehouse and factory buildings convert to new uses. The Vancouver Urban Winery has an historic building in which it manufactures, packages, imports, and distributes wine for multiple brands and hold functions and parties around wine themes. So popular has this new venture proven to be with patrons that it started in 2012 with two employees and now has thirty.

Information Links:

http://strathconabia.com/
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/dtes-local-area-plan.aspx

Downtown Eastside Development Plan

Railtown, Gastown, and the rest of the Downtown Eastside may see major changes from the city council approval in March 2014 after two days of public hearings of a plan to guide future development. The mayor says the plan reflects “aspirations for safer and more stable Railtown 2housing, protections for low-income residents, stronger support for mental health and addictions, and a more vibrant local economy.”

The plan is ambitious in its aims to accommodate developers who have driven up land values by purchasing, redeveloping, or speculating on neighbourhood properties and to protect low-income residents increasingly struggling to afford rent and food as neighbourhood costs increase. Plan critics say provisions for new or replacement “social housing”* units, upgrades to single-room occupancies, and rent-subsidized units may help some area residents but will leave others in squalor or on the streets. Whether the plan does enough for all 6,300 residents on social assistance and 6,000 others on low incomes is uncertain, but in a no-condos zone along Hastings Street new structures must be at least 60 percent social housing, and one third of those new units must rent at shelter rates. The plan protects heritage buildings and designates Railtown as a potential location for office use.

* The British/Canadian term “social housing” is synonymous with “public housing” in the USA.

New Railtown Live MLS Listings

Railtown, Vancouver, Trendy

1-5/5
  • 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2351015

    Main Photo: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 1: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 2: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 3: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 4: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 5: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 6: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 7: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 8: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    • Photo 9: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2351015
    $1,699,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2351015
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    1,522 sq. ft.
    35 Gore Avenue is situated in the Edge Development, which is strategically and conveniently located at the 3-way intersection of Gore Avenue, Alexander Street and Railway Street. The Edge is a large scale mixed-use development that features creative and inspirational spaces for living and working. The subject property is a unique live-work strata unit featuring double height ceilings, a funky concrete finish, a generous storefront entrance way, with large glass window panels, grade level loading at the rear with a roll-up loading door, 2 parking stalls, a nicely improved washroom and shower, kitchen and much much more. More details
    Listed by Corbel Commercial Inc.
  • 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2349686

    Main Photo: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 1: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
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    • Photo 4: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 5: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
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    • Photo 7: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 8: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
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    • Photo 13: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
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    • Photo 17: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 18: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 19: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    • Photo 20: 1002 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2349686
    $1,599,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2349686
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,440 sq. ft.
    Welcome to the epitome of urban living at The Edge. This exceptionally rare penthouse loft is bound to impress with polished concrete floors, 16’ ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Chef’s kitchen with quartz counters, Wolf gas range, Fisher Paykel fridge, integrated dishwasher and plenty of custom built-ins. Spacious living area with stone mantle, inset gas fireplace and an open office area on the main floor. Upstairs is the huge master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. Guest bathroom has a sleek walk-in shower and heated floors. Two large patios totalling more than 350 sqft; the lower South patio is your spot to chill in the sun and the west facing patio is your oasis to take in the sunsets. Popular, well maintained building with great amenities. More details
    Listed by Stilhavn Real Estate Services
  • 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2347125

    Main Photo: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 1: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 2: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 3: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 4: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 5: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 6: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 7: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
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    • Photo 14: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 15: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 16: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 17: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 18: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 19: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    • Photo 20: 299 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2347125
    $899,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2347125
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    989 sq. ft.
    Spacious ground level live/work studio with with direct street access and retail exposure. This unique and highly versatile space is equally ideal for a living space as it is a business, and allows the flexibility to switch back and forth. Large open concept floorplan with corner windows for lots of light. Updated kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances. The Edge is a desirable building with incredible amenities including bike room, fitness centre, wood and metal work shops, pottery studio, music and photography rooms, and more. Located in thriving Railtown, only minutes from some of Vancouver's best restaurants, shopping, waterfront and more! More details
    Listed by Stilhavn Real Estate Services
  • 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2356646

    Main Photo: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 1: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 2: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 3: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 4: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 5: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 6: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
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    • Photo 8: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
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    • Photo 14: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 15: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 16: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 17: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 18: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 19: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    • Photo 20: 607 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2356646
    $849,800
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2356646
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    832 sq. ft.
    THE EDGE - One of the Gastown/Railtown's most sought after buildings. This spacious 2 bath Loft has double height 16'5Ft ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, Sunny South facing patio bringing in a lot of natural light, a gas fireplace and in-suite storage. One parking stall & 7000 sqft amenities space w/woodworking studio, metal shop, gym, band room, pottery studio & more. Steps to Gastown restaurants & shopping. Open House Sat/Sun Apri. 13/14 2:00 - 4:00PM. More details
    Listed by Engel & Volkers Vancouver
  • 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2354830

    Main Photo: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 1: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 2: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 3: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 4: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 5: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 6: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 7: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 8: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
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    • Photo 13: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 14: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 15: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 16: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 17: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 18: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 19: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    • Photo 20: 202 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Hastings Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2354830
    $519,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2354830
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    570 sq. ft.
    Welcome to 626 Alexander in Historic Railtown. A one bedroom + one bathroom condo built by Epix Development. Fantastic open layout, 9' ceilings and beautiful engineered hardwood floors throughout. Enjoy the views of the North Shore Mountains from your main living space. The gourmet kitchen comes fully equipped with integrated European appliances, quartz countertops, gas range, and ample storage space. The spa inspired bathroom features a stunning walk in shower, floating vanity and tiled shower floor. Enjoy the common courtyard equipped with a BBQ that is perfect for the summer months. Open House (Sun) April 14 from 2-4pm. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Crest Realty
1-5/5
Data was last updated April 19, 2019 at 03:10 PM (UTC)
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