The development of Squamish's oceanfront would be good news for Britannia Beach's proposed mega-project, that area's elected representative said this week.
The Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp.'s (SODC) Oct. 10 announcement that developers were selected to transform the 59-acre waterfront parcel bumps the Sea to Sky Corridor into the spotlight and draws people to the area — all positive moves for Taicheng Development Corp.'s 3,000-residential-unit proposal, Area D director Moe Freitag said on Monday (Oct. 21).
“Success breeds success,” he said, noting that most Britannia Beach residents originally looked at housing in Squamish.
The Sea to Sky Corridor's future corridor development prospects are strong, despite being in the entrails of a global recession, Freitag said, adding the Highway 99 improvements helped open up the area. In Britannia Beach alone, applications are underway for subdivision of a 100-acre parcel and construction of 26 units on three lots, he said.
Squamish-based developer Jason Wood shares Freitag's sentiments.
“Large developments generate more need for housing,” said the president of Diamond Head Development.
The type of housing built at the oceanfront will be important, Wood noted. With young families moving to town while 20-somethings head out into the world, Squamish doesn't need more small condo units, he said.
“A good mix is important,” Wood said, adding the market drives developments' composition.
Buyers haven't boarded the boat yet. While any news that thrusts Squamish into the media is usually good, it's too early to say whether talks between the SODC, Texas-based developer Matthews Southwest Developments and local developer Bethel Lands Corp. will boost housing sales and prices, said Lisa Bjornson, the managing broker of Royal LePage Black Tusk Realty.
“There's not enough information at this stage in the game to say one way or the other,” she said.
Currently, Squamish is well positioned in the Greater Vancouver real estate market. Other than Maple Ridge, Squamish boasts the lowest median sale price for most housing options, Bjornson said, noting September's real estate sales figures were up.
Between 23 to 27 per cent of buyers are from the Lower Mainland, while between nine and 12 per cent holding addresses in Pemberton or Whistler.
“The numbers from outside the area have risen,” Bjornson said.
The oceanfront is a major milestone and another signal of investor confidence in Squamish, said Dan McRae, the District of Squamish's economic development officer.
“The oceanfront announcement combined with diverse industry investment being made in the Sea to Sky Gondola, Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd., and the expansion at Quest University are all signs of the building of a resilient local economy,” he wrote in an email to The Chief.