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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

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  • 245 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2871079

    245 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 1C2
    Main Photo: 245 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2871079
    $3,145,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2871079
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    3,587 sq. ft.
    Discover unparalleled potential at 245 Alexander Street, the opportunity you have been waiting for! This ground level work/live CD-1 zoned unit is perfect for entrepreneurs and car enthusiasts alike! Located in bustling rail town district steps from gastown while fronting the future Alexander street greenway. This area is home to many popular local business from furniture to clothing design and restaurants such as the Michelin star Ask for Luigi and St. Lawrence. With impressive 18 foot ceilings, 2 grade loading bay doors, and access via Alexander St or private courtyard, this is a truly rare opportunity not to be overlooked. The unit has been completely refinished including quality epoxy flooring, stainless steel counters and appliances, and matching powder coated steel cabinetry! The strata amenities include a metal workshop, wood shop, pottery studio, recording studio, and more! Opportunities to acquire over 3,500 sqft of space in a location like this should not be missed, contact today for more info! More details
    Listed by Sotheby's International Realty Canada
  • 1011 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2873493

    1011 289 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 4H6
    Main Photo: 1011 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "THE EDGE" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2873493
    $1,798,800
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2873493
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,128 sq. ft.
    BEAUTIFUL VANCOUVER & A MILLION DOLLAR VIEW! Enjoy it from your "GASTOWN" CORNER PENTHOUSE & your PRIVATE 612 SF ROOF DECK! Exceptional LIVE/WORK concrete building, THE EDGE. Bright & airy spaces featuring 15' ceilings & OPEN CONCEPT DESIGN. Unwind in your generous PRIMARY BEDROOM & SPA-LIKE ENSUITE. The Kitchen with GAS STOVE & STAINLESS STEELE APPLIANCES welcome your cooking plans. Enormous open area (see floorplan) awaits your requirements. ARTIST'S STUDIO, perhaps or your HOME BUSINESS or family needs. Rarely available amenities for creativity: MUSIC ROOM, POTTERY STUDIO WITH KILN, WOODWORK SHOP, DARK ROOM & MORE! And a GYM. STORAGE & 2 SECURE PARKING. A rare find! More details
    Listed by Homelife Benchmark Titus Realty
  • 1010 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2867899

    1010 289 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 4H6
    Main Photo: 1010 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2867899
    $1,699,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2867899
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,091 sq. ft.
    Experience ""the Artists' Penthouse" at the Edge, an exclusive waterfront home blending indoor/outdoor living. This serene residence boasts a 1,000+ sf terrace with stunning 270-degree views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. Featured in "House and Home" and "Western Living", it offers 11-ft ceilings, polished concrete floors, and custom white ash millwork throughout. Indulge in the spa-like bath and chefs kitchen in this urban retreat. Access over 7,000 sq ft of amenities, including gym, workshop and recording studio. Two secure parking included (w EV charging). Steps to top restaurants, this home is the ultimate blend of luxury and urban convenience. Contact your agent for a private showing. More details
    Listed by Engel & Volkers Vancouver
  • 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2878479

    35 GORE Avenue Strathcona Vancouver V6A 2Y8
    Main Photo: 35 GORE Avenue in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "The Edge" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2878479
    $1,249,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2878479
    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. This expansive mixed-use complex is renowned for its innovative and stimulating environments designed to cater to both residential and commercial occupants. The subject property boasts soaring double-height ceilings, an alluring concrete finish, an inviting storefront entrance adorned with expansive glass window panels, an improved washroom and shower, a Kitchen, grade-level loading at the rear with a roll-up loading door, two designated parking stalls and much more. More details
    Listed by Corbel Commercial Inc.
  • 1006 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2880428

    1006 289 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 4H6
    Main Photo: 1006 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2880428
    $998,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2880428
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    2
    Floor Area:
    1,057 sq. ft.
    Welcome to the Edge Building, an exceptional multipurpose loft building nestled on the edge of downtown. This stunning 1-bed, 2-bath loft has undergone a meticulous renovation in 2022 with sleek & modern finishes tied into the building's industrial design features. Upon entering, you'll note the 15-foot ceilings, which combined with the large windows & open layout, bathe the space in natural light. The enclosed bedroom on the upper level provides a serene space with a spa-like ensuite. Immerse yourself in panoramic views of the city skyline & ocean from your private balcony. Residents of the Edge Building have access to multiple amenities, including a gym, music room, metal/wood shop, & pottery studio. Plenty of in-unit storage & an underground parking stall. More details
    Listed by RE/MAX Select Properties
  • 824 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2857664

    824 289 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 4H6
    Main Photo: 824 289 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2857664
    $819,900
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2857664
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    780 sq. ft.
    This stunning two level one bedroom loft at The Edge in Railtown features 16 ft ceilings, double height windows, spacious outdoor patio and unobstructed views of the city, water and mountains. This coveted West Facing loft has polished concrete floors, a gas fireplace, an updated kitchen with gas cooking and plenty of storage for urban living. The upper level provides a serene open sleeping space with an updated ensuite as well as laundry and storage. The Edge boasts unparalleled amenities such as a ceramics studio with kiln, a carpentry workshop, music room, photography studio, metal shop, gym and meeting room. Located next to Chinatown and Gastown this location has access to the most unique shops and restaurants in Downtown Vancouver area. One Parking. Pets and rentals welcome. More details
    Listed by Heller Murch Realty
  • 212 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East) : MLS®# R2892081

    212 626 ALEXANDER Street Strathcona Vancouver V6A 1C9
    Main Photo: 212 626 ALEXANDER Street in Vancouver: Strathcona Condo for sale in "626 Alexander" (Vancouver East)  : MLS®# R2892081
    $519,000
    Residential Attached
    Status:
    Active
    MLS® Num:
    R2892081
    Bedrooms:
    1
    Bathrooms:
    1
    Floor Area:
    565 sq. ft.
    Located on a quiet block of Railtown across from the Aritzia headquarters, 626 Alexander is a newer modern build with loft style homes sharing a second floor open air courtyard. This 1-bed + den condo features a great open layout with 9' ceilings, engineered hardwood throughout, and roller shades on all windows. The kitchen is complete with Fulgor Milano and Blomberg appliances including a gas range and integrated refrigerator and dishwasher, as well as a large quartz countertop island with under-bar seating. 7' x 10' LCP patio space included. Below is a storage locker, separate bike room with repair station, and car share within the building. And, in the neighbourhood are some of the best restaurants and microbreweries. Easy access to transit & bike rentals. 10 min walk to Crab Park, 12 min walk to Carrall St and Water St. For outdoor space: in the common secure courtyard is a BBQ and dining space. Bonus: short term rentals allowed - min 3 day stays. More details
    Listed by Framework Marketing Inc.
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Data was last updated June 13, 2024 at 10:05 AM (UTC)
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