Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pay to Play in BC with Postmedia real estate

In June 2013, the ailing Vancouver Postmedia papers, The Sun and The Province, dumped 100 employees, plus two out of four floors of their downtown Vancouver offices. 
Colliers International, "the biggest player in the domestic commercial real estate industry", subleased the two now empty middle floors.

The previous year, Colliers and Postmedia had launched their joint venture "Property Post", described in their presser as providing :
"up-to-the minute news, commentary, information and videos that are accessible via the Financial Post website and the online business sections of The Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal.

Property Post also features content provided by Colliers, including twitter feeds, videos, and industry reports. Property listings will be a key component, allowing Colliers to use the site to market properties on behalf of its clients."
Ok, so it's a publisher-advertiser symbiotic partnership, similar to the one Postmedia proposed to CAPP a year later, providing Postmedia with revenue and Colliers with eyeballs :
"It is absolutely exciting," said Sudeep Balasubramanian, manager of digital sales at The Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers. "What we realize in terms of our digital strategy is that it is no longer just about selling advertising on a website.
Postmedia will support the site with editorial content that will be anchored by the Financial Post, and each of The Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, and Edmonton Journal newsrooms. It will also showcase commentary by Financial Post business columnist Gary Marr, Postmedia reporters, and freelance writers." 
While enthusiastic quotes from Colliers spox are liberally sprinkled throughout both papers, it's not always easy to tell whether it's an embed when they wander into a straight news story. This story from last week, for instance, quoting David Taylor of Colliers International on evictions and demolitions as 106 office towers go up in Burnaby : 
"Burnaby has faced “less public opposition during rezoning” because ...the land is “primarily occupied by older rundown apartments where tenants have, seemingly, less influence with the city than single-family homeowners."
Or this one about money from China being laundered through real estate : 
Chinese police run secret operations in B.C. to hunt allegedly corrupt officials and laundered money
"Kirk Kuester, executive managing director of Colliers International Vancouver, said the pool of money from Mainland China seeking investments in Metro Vancouver is so vast right now that he has to turn away potential clients.
“The money is staggering, quite honestly,” Kuester said. 
Kuester said, for example, that on Wednesday he had two or three potential clients with “half-a-billion” in private funds ready to put to work, but there are simply not big enough deals to satisfy them."
In addition to two middle floors of the former Pacific Press, Colliers International has ten offices in China.

Two years ago the BC Libs sold off 370 acres of Crown land on Burke Mountain at "$43 million less than its market value to allow Christy Clark to balance the budget", according to the NDP and a bureaucrat's leaked memo.
Colliers International won the marketing contract which saw the "fire sale" land bid go to WesBild. 
WesBild director Hassan Khosrowshahi has given $900,000 in donations to the B.C. Liberal Party since 2000, while Colliers International has only enriched the Libs by just over $100,000 in donations over 10 years. 

In BC there are no restrictions on private fundraisers or corporate donations or foreign donors or foreign ownership of farmland.  
Last year the BC Liberals raked in $10 million in donations. 

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