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City skyline nearly as bleak as markets

The chaos on Wall Street continues to pummel the economy in the new year and is going to be felt locally.

The chaos on Wall Street continues to pummel the economy in the new year and is going to be felt locally.

In metro Vancouver, a signature of the economic boom years — so-called starchitecture — is about to take a major hit. Construction financing is harder to get and uncertainty and confusion are prevalent in the real-estate business. Which means some inspired building designs are on the verge of going down before ever getting the chance to go up.

What a shame.

Historically, many folks in the Lower Mainland have grumbled about the vanilla look of condominium towers. The harshest critics maintain that Vancouver’s skyline is less breathtaking than it is boring. Internationally renowned architect Arthur Erickson once referred to it as “blah.”

That reputation changed, to some extent, with several sleek projects slated for the region — including one created by Erickson himself.

Dubbed “Vancouver’s Turn,” the Residences at Ritz-Carlton tower was designed by the locally based architect. But the downtown project is now suspended, pending “design changes.”

The economic meltdown can’t take all the blame.

Last year, Vancouver-based Henriquez Partners Architects put forth plans for a sleek, 120-metre tower for the North Vancouver waterfront. But instead of embracing it, a group of area NIMBYs made enough noise to quash the project.

When it comes to inspired architecture in metro Vancouver, it seems, if nervous accountants can’t kill a project, neighbourhood activists most certainly will.

 
 
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