Stan Silverman may be a clown, but his drive to get a luxury condo building completed in Pemberton is no joke.
A retired developer who built his first project in Langley in 1987, and who now travels third world countries like Peru and Cambodia wearing a red nose, came before Pemberton council Tuesday seeking a concession that would allow him to complete construction of a luxury condo building on Frontier Street.
Dressed in a rainbow-coloured T-shirt, bright green shorts and vibrant neon runners, Silverman identified himself as the new proponent of Terrastone Crossing, a building that has sat uninhabited and unfinished for two years.
"I thought my days of making presentations to councils were over several years ago," he said.
When he retired as a developer, Silverman had to do something for income. Putting on clown clothes seemed a good idea, but he also went into lending and Terrastone was the first building for which he granted a mortgage.
He lent $2.5 million to developer Wayne MacDonald, who approached him with a number of opportunities including a three-storey luxury apartment building with 40 rental suites and four retail units, providing a mix of residential and commercial space.
"The long and the short of it is, for 15 months we did not get any payments," Silverman said. "We did not want the building back, we were thrust upon with it, so 15 months later, we ended up with the building."
He had an opportunity to sell the property but it had myriad problems that made it "unsaleable," in his estimation. There were suites with three-foot closets... not nearly enough room for potential tenants to fit all their clothes. The original proponent planned to heat the building using propane... but the building did not have the capacity for a propane tank.
"This was just never going to happen," he said of Terrastone.
Silverman, leading the development through his company 910172 BC Ltd., is now the building's proponent and he has retained Marcon Construction of Langley to make it attractive and marketable, targeting an occupancy date that could come as early as April 2012.
On Tuesday he passed a major hurdle to getting the building finished. He needed council approval to reduce parking at the building by three stalls, requiring a cash-in-lieu contribution of $22,500, down from a cash-in-lieu requirement of $45,000. It basically means that the developer only has to pay for construction of three parking stalls instead of six.
Kristen McLeod, a former Pemberton councillor who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, disagreed with the parking variance, saying that the supermarket paid cash-in-lieu for parking and that a cost of $7,500 to build, pave and maintain a parking stall was "really cheap." She pointed out that the supermarket had to pay for its stalls.
Cam McIvor, a developer with Ravens Crest Developments, said that the grocery store only paid $3,000 per parking stall, adding that the Village of Pemberton should encourage business and reduce costs that would stop it happening.
"We all want to see the building get done and I don't think the supermarket is in any position to argue given their establishment of parking in the downtown," he said.
Council ultimately approved the variance, voting two to one with Councillor Ted Craddock absent and Councillor Lisa Ames, a realtor, stepping out of the meeting due to a conflict.