owners of West Georgia White Spot site propose two luxury condo towers
Carnival Group International, a Chinese company known for building a giant resort development in Qingdao on China's east coast, partnered with Vancouver's ASPAC Developments to buy and develop two-thirds of a block on West Georgia into a luxury condo project.

JOANNE LEE-YOUNG , Vancouver Sun

Owners of the much-watched White Spot restaurant property in the West End across from Coal Harbour are proposing to build two high-end condo towers, according to a rezoning application filed with the City of Vancouver.

The proposed twin 38-storey Alberni Towers would house 455 condo units and total 433,657-sq.-ft. of floor space.

In late 2017, Carnival Group International, a Chinese company known for building a giant resort in Qingdao on China’s east coast, partnered with Vancouver’s ASPAC Developments to buy two-thirds of the block on West Georgia where it heads from downtown toward Stanley Park.

The $245-million pricetag made it the largest property transaction in the region that year.

With planned zoning for just under 398,000-sq.-ft. of residential space, the sale had an expensive figure of $615 per build-able square foot, and expectations that any condos would be priced accordingly.

It is not known how Hong Kong-listed Carnival and ASPAC split the investment.

The transaction occurred off the radar of the major commercial real estate players and was brokered instead by a residential real estate agent and a real estate consultant, both based in West Vancouver.

It was months later that a slew of speculation and vacancy taxes and an increase in the foreign buyers tax that would drag on sales and prices for the high-end and pre-sale condo market were introduced.

The White Spot property had been owned by Shato Holdings, which was founded by Peter Toigo and is now run by his sons. Shato had preliminary designs for two towers of 33 and 39 storeys and some 350 condos, but never went through a rezoning process.

Now, the Carnival and ASPAC partnership has hired Connecticut-based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to come up with a revised concept. The American firm is known for some skyline-defining buildings, including the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, and World Financial Centre in New York.

Pelli’s design includes more than 100 additional condo and townhome units than envisioned by Shato’s plans. It calls for 200 in each 38-storey tower and then 55 in a four-storey “podium” that connects the two. The application is aiming for an increase in total floor area to 433,657 sq. ft.

Vancouver-based ASPAC vice-president Gary Wong, who is listed as a director of the B.C.-registered company on the property’s land title, did not return several calls by Postmedia.

Vancouver-based Gwyn Vose of architecture firm IBI Group is the applicant contact listed on the rezoning application. He referred calls to Vancouver-based Barry Savage of Savage Development Management, who is working with ASPAC.

On its website, Carnival Group International describes its Vancouver property alongside its resort, luxury condo and villa real estate projects in Qingdao, Chengdu (in China’s southwestern Sichuan province), Beijing and Hong Kong.