Vancouver Developers Go To The Dogs? What Do You Think?

(September 13, 2014 )

Our real estate team at THE BC HOME HUNTER GROUP love, love, love, dogs…and cats THE BC HOME HUNTER GROUP REAL ESTATE TEAM BCHOMEHUNTER.COM METRO VANCOUVER FRASER VALLEY WEST COAST URBAN & SUBURBAN HOMES & LAND SALES & MARKETING EXPERTS and every other manner of animal. We first wrote an article on the future of K9 ownership in the burgeoning urban condo towers of Vancouver in 2004. Since then all of our forecasting has come to fruition including the explosion of dog ownership.

Whether you agree or disagree with the ownership and housing of dogs in the micro condo environment in Vancouver it is here to stay and in fact grow exponentially. If you’re a dog owner our real estate team have a comprehensive database of all the major strata developments in the lower mainland and the bylaws surrounding possible dog ownership etc. 

Don’t hesitate to call or email us for a copy or to discuss your buying and selling needs.Below is a recent article discussing this various subjects from different perspectives and points of view. Let us know what you think, 

Vancouver Developers Go To The Dogs?

Roof-top runs, dog-washing stations: Demand from pet owners drives a trend to condo and rental complexes that allow pets and provide dog-friendly amenities. Long gone are the days when dog lovers would have a tough time buying a condo in Metro Vancouver.Today, more and more condo developers are targeting dog owners as they try to market units in a period of high prices and sluggish sales. Some condominium complexes now offer fenced dog runs and even dog spas. “We are seeing more and more pet-friendly amenities in new developments,” said Anne McMullin, president of the Urban Development Institute. “These amenities include dog washing stations, fenced dog runs, and roof top areas.“We also find more of our rental properties are allowing pets that weren’t welcome previously, which usually means dogs. It is a trend as dogs and other pets become more important members of our families.” 

Polygon’s Avedon tower in Vancouver’s South Granville has a dog walking area that circles the complex, and Burrard Gateway by Reliance will have pet amenities including a dog-washing area, she said. Jean Openshaw, sales director for developer Bosa, said there is demand for condos and apartments that allow pets.
“A study from the SPCA on how many buildings allowed pets showed only five per cent allow dogs and nine per cent allow cats in Vancouver’s rental market." Bosa has plans for a 3,000 to 4,000 sq. ft. 
roof top deck dog run at its University District project, planned for Surrey’s Central City. In November, Bosa opens a new rental building in Vancouver’s False Creek that will allow pets and may include a dog washing and grooming area depending on the demand. 

“We haven’t started advertising for it yet, but I have no doubt in my mind it will be popular,” Openshaw said. She said all of Bosa’s new condo projects allow pets — up to two dogs a household. And while it’s not necessarily a perk that will clinch the deal, she believes a pet-friendly building helps in combination with other factors.“ You have enough perks, then people will buy. Being able to have a pet is definitely a perk.” 
June Young, who is downsizing from a house and has two small dogs, said she would never have considered moving into a condo that didn’t allow her beloved pets.“I am really connected with my dogs. I like the idea of a high-rise where you don’t need to leave the building to take your dog out for a pee. It’s easier (to go to the indoor dog run) than to try to find a patch of grass outside,” she said.THE BC HOME HUNTER GROUP REAL ESTATE TEAM BCHOMEHUNTER.COM METRO VANCOUVER FRASER VALLEY WEST COAST URBAN & SUBURBAN HOMES & LAND SALES & MARKETING EXPERTS

Amacon says it was one of the first developers in Vancouver to market to pet owners when it built the 33-storey Beasley in Yaletown, completed in 2011. The lower eight floors are larger than the higher floors and the 2,000-sq.-ft “woof top” patio is on the roof over the eight floor’s step back portion and provides an outdoor space for the dogs in residence there.“ It was in response to the lack of off-leash park space for dogs in downtown Vancouver,” said Melissa Howey, Amacon’s marketing manager. “It was a nice feature for people and what it said to the buyer was we really think about how you live. We recognize that our pets are part of our families.”Howey said the developer also thought it was a great way for neighbours to get to know one another and to help cultivate a sense of community within the development.
Amacon is looking to incorporate another dog run on another project — this one is Burnaby in the early rezoning stage. But high land costs make things a bit different in the core of downtown Vancouver.

Bob Rennie, of Rennie Marketing Systems, said land costs so much there that it is difficult for a developer to devote enough square footage for a usefully sized dog run. Instead, he said, proximity to city green space is a consideration for a lot of condo buyers with dogs.“One of the big features is to be near a (city) dog park,” he said. “People with dogs want to live as close as possible to the seawall, parks, the forest ... I have clients like Peter Wall (Wall Centre) who has always allowed tenants to have dogs. You often don’t think of that if you don’t have dogs.”
“We noticed Mount Pleasant was a fairly dense urban space without a lot of park space,” said Matt Pesklewis, the marketing director. “We decided one of the big draws for pet owners was having dog amenities. Ours will include a dog run within a separate space in the courtyard and an indoor dog wash. It’s not going to just hosing down your dog in a parking lot but a proper amenity space for it. "I think good developers will always look at the trends of how people are living in the city and pet occupancy is important to people.”

Not everyone is happy with the pet-friendly trend. The property manager for the Beasley condo, at Homer and Smythe, believes dogs shouldn’t be allowed in multi-family housing projects. Paul Kraul said he manages eight condo projects and just two of them have no-pet by-laws." I wish all of them had this by-law,” he said. “It’s been nothing but problems. Dogs barking all day, being left by people who have no sense and think that just taking them out for a few minutes in the morning is enough. The non-pet owners are upset. Can you imagine an owner with two big dogs just taking them out for 10 minutes a day?”

Kraul said that while the Beasley’s dog patio sounds like a good idea, the reality is far different. He said he gets complaints every day from non-pet owners in the project and one of the main complaints is owners not picking up after their dogs. “Pets should be in the garden (of a single-family dwelling) not a condo,” he said. “There’s not enough room for pets. And not everyone loves dogs.”Kraul said at the Beasley the dogs should be leashed when they are in the “woof-top” patio but many owners allow their dogs to wander free and it can be a bother to non-pet owning residents. He said the strata council can impose a $200 fine for failing to pick up after their dog, but it’s hard to police the by-law.

“The problem is you can’t prove it. I've seen a dog crap in the lobby and the owner walked away and when I said something to her she just said ‘oh, the janitor will clean it up.’”He said there was a fine imposed in that case but “that’s just one out of 1,000 that was caught.” 

Kraul,who has a golden retriever but lives in a single-family home, said he believes the city of Vancouver needs to stop allowing developers to offer pet-friendly buildings.
(Article courtesy of the Vancouver Sun)

That isn't likely to happen given the demand.Indeed, last year Vancouver council approved a motion to support renters with pets. A report by staff on the issue is expected to be presented to council in the fall.Feel free to add your comments to our blog or call and email us any time, 604-767-6736.THE BC HOME HUNTER GROUP REAL ESTATE TEAM BCHOMEHUNTER.COM METRO VANCOUVER FRASER VALLEY WEST COAST URBAN & SUBURBAN HOMES & LAND SALES & MARKETING EXPERTS    

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