Supreme Court will not hear dispute over Vancouver waterfront development worth $1 billion, ending a 7-year legal battle

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada/iStock Getty Image

Canada’s Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from real estate developer Concord Pacific Acquisitions, ending a long-running legal battle over the billion-dollar development of one of Vancouver’s last waterfront lots.

The feud began in 2015 when Concord argued that Singapore-based billionaire Oei Hong Leong and his company Canadian Metropolitan Properties had pulled out of a deal to jointly develop the former Expo 86 Plaza of Nations site.

Oei and Concord CEO Terry Hui had signed an initial agreement to transform the 12-acre property on the northeast shore of Vancouver’s False Creek into a mixed-use community, complete with 30-story high-rise buildings, an ice rink, a community center and an arts venue .

When talks broke down seven years ago, Hui and Concord filed a civil lawsuit, arguing that the tentative agreement with Oei was a binding contract.

The BC Supreme Court sided with Oei in 2019 and the BC Court of Appeals issued its majority decision in January, with both courts finding the contract lacked enough “essential terms” to make it enforceable.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision means the lower courts’ rulings stand and, as usual, the Supreme Court gives no reasons for its refusal to hear Concord’s appeal.

Oei and Canadian Metropolitan Properties have advanced development plans for the Plaza of Nations lots, now called Expo Gardens, and the company confirmed that the project is nearing completion of the City of Vancouver permitting process.

Oei Hong Leong bought the Plaza of Nations site in 1990 for $40 million. It is now worth an estimated $800 million. (Yvette Brend/CBC News)

Oei has said he hopes construction on the property, which he bought in 1990 for $40 million but is now valued at an estimated $800 million, can begin this year.

“Now I can build something iconic for Vancouver and give back to this city that I love,” Oei said in a statement released after the BC Court of Appeal’s decision.

Concord, which still owns the land east of the Plaza of Nations at the northeast end of False Creek, is in the process of applying for permits to develop this property.

The BC Court of Appeals’ decision was “disappointing,” the company said when the ruling was released in January, but added in a press release that regardless of the outcome of its appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, it hopes for the Plaza of Nations to develop Website will “proceed soon in the interest of the general public”.

Source: Canada Today/BC News