Disneyland and Developers in Metro Vancouver by Geraldine Santiago

Disneyland and Land Assembly in Metro Vancouver by Geraldine Santiago 

I was in Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom recently, and while my family saw the different themed areas like “Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge”, ”Fantasyland", "Tomorrowland", "Critter Country, "New Orleans Square Adventureland", "Mickey's Toontown" and "Main Street USA, as a land assembly specialist, I couldn't help but think about the similarities and undertakings that Walt Disney and developers in BC go through when they purchase assembled properties for their projects.

After doing some research, I learned that there were a few things that Disney needed for his park:  a large regional population, a large site and a zoning that allowed an amusement park to be built and accessibility.

Disney’s staff searched all throughout Southern California and considered Burbank and Chatsworth as a contenders, but the Parks and Recreation Department in Burbank had “balked at an earlier Disney amusement park” and Chatsworth had problems being too close to the beach. 

Anaheim on the other hand, had a growing population of 14,556 and between 1940-1950, it had grown by 65%, and then grew another 30% between 1950 -1953. In addition, Anaheim was also only twenty-five miles from Los Angeles, and off the new Santa Ana Highway. (Santa Ana 5 Freeway). Orange County climate offered the least rainfall, the least humidity and the least extreme temperatures of any other options—ideal for the amusement park to be operational year-round.

In the end, Disney’s staff decided to acquire ’17 tracts of adjacent orange groves in Anaheim', which made up 150 acres. It was filled with 4,400 orange trees and 15 homes called “Ball Road Subdivision’ which makes up Disneyland park today.

When Disney decided to expand to another site, he did not want anyone to know about any of his land acquisitions, nor did he want other companies to speculate either. So, cash was paid and a numbered company was used so that the homeowners won't hold out for more if they had known it was Disney corporation behind the purchase.  

Whether it is a small developer looking to build a row of townhouses, or a large developer looking to build an apartment tower, when developers look at new areas as possible sites to redevelop, they too, research many cities and neighbourhoods, they perform feasibility studies, research present housing stock, assess future population and growth in an area, and seek out sites with location that are near public transit or near highways and research the Official Community Plan (OCP) or Neighbourhood Plan (NP). Developers also use numbered companies and confidentility clauses so that homeowners will not hold out for more. 

To read more about land assemblies in British Columbia, go to or purchase my ebook on-line today!


The Shape of Land (Assemblies) by Geraldine Santiago

The Shape of Land (Assemblies)

Get your FREE PDF ebook on Land Assembly in British Columbia by Geraldine Santiago

Attend our FREE 4th annual land assembly seminar on Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where:  RE/MAX Crest Realty

Time: 1:00-3:00PM

Pre-registtration is required. 

Please go to for more information or


Selling the Sky -Why Your Property's

Selling The Sky - Why Your Property’s “Air Rights” Are Valuable
by Geraldine Santiago Realtor ® and Published Author

Do you know you can cash in on maximizing your property’s full potential by considering the value of your air rights? Above certain heights, the sky is treated as a virtual highway for public air travel, but unused space closer to the ground can represent valuable real estate.

In big cities like New York, Manhattan developers are already paying an average of $225 per square foot for space above low-rise buildings called “air rights”. In fact, the buying and selling of air rights have played a prominent role the city’s development and culture for decades.

Vancouver’s real estate market is booming and homeowners are wanting to cash in on maximizing their lot’s fullest potential. Current options include subdividing and building laneway homes, selling two or more parcels of land as in land assemblies and now selling their air space rights - also known as Transferable Development Rights (TDR).

Physical interests in real property can now be achieved both horizontally and vertically. The most common methods in creating horizontal division is through subdivision and land assembly. In land, a higher value is created for the assembled parcel than for the individual properties. The most common vertical interests in real property are sub-surface air rights and air rights. A subsurface right is the right to use of and profit from the underground portion of the designated property.

What are Air Space Rights?

Impacts of Zoning, Densification and Land Assembly on Air Rights
Air rights are the property rights associated with the use, control and regulation of air space over a parcel of real estate regulated by zoning.  Both of these fractional interests represent portions of a fee simple estate, and each embodies the idea of land as a three dimensional entity. The vertical division of real property is significant because engineering advances have dramatically affected land use enabling best use considerations that were not previously attainable.

Air rights can be sold in fee, with the seller retaining one or more easements for a specialized use, such as the operation of a railroad. In Vancouver, air space rights are currently being bought and sold for at least $85 per square foot with that price rising as supply diminishes.

If you have a heritage designated property that you cannot tear down or build up, and are not using the airspace above your heritage building, a developer may acquire those rights to add density to a property through transferable development rights. In New York, air space rights above heritage buildings - like theatres and churches - are being sold and purchased by neighbouring developments.

The city of Vancouver currently has incentives for developers through transferable heritage density bonuses. Under the terms of this program, if a developer agrees to rehabilitate and legally protect any heritage buildings on their development site, the City will allow the developer the chance to increase the density of their project. There are receiver site and donor site locations.

Density can be transferred in zoning districts in the Central Area where potential receiver site locations are as follows:Downtown District (DD), West End (RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, C-5, C-5A, C-6), Central Broadway (C-3A), Southeast False Creek (SEFC) from sites located outside of SEFC (noting that density may not be transferred from inside SEFC to any site located outside of SEFC).

The zoning districts in the Central Area where potential donor sites can be located are: Downtown District (DD), West End (RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, C-5, C-6),Central Broadway (C-3A), Chinatown (HA-1 and HA-1A) and Gastown (HA-2) zoning districts.

Complete details regarding  “The Transferable Heritage Density Inventory Heritage Conservation Program” can be found at ttp://

In other cities like Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, and New Westminster, a density bonus is given to property owners in exchange for the purposes of heritage conservation which can be on-site or off-site density transfers.

Maximizing Your Property’s Value
As a homeowner wanting to sell property, learn how you can maximize your property’s value through land assemblage and Transferable Development Rights by attending Remax’s Lunch and Learn Seminar on September 8, 2018 from 11-1pm. We will be educating property owners about the process of maximizing their home’s highest sales potential through transferable development rights and land assembly.

Ask yourself - Do I own the air above my property and if so, what can I do with it? How can I sell my air rights? Our Industry experts will be on hand to answer your questions and provide you with best use scenarios.

To obtain event details and register, go to: or contact Geraldine Santiago at or TEXT (604) 764-6873 Code: LAND.

RE/MAX Crest Realty office, 3215 Macdonald Street,Vancouver, BC V6L 2N2


Why Vancouver is Getting So Unaffordable by Geraldine Santiago

Why Vancouver is Getting So Unaffordable by Geraldine Santiago Realtor ® and Published Author

 In a 2017 report by 2013 Nobel Laureate economist Robert Schiller titled, “Why Cities are Getting So Unaffordable”, Schiller cited 92 cities whereby affordability was measured by real estate prices to income ratio. Hong Kong was shown to be the least affordable with the ratio of 18.1, Sydney at 12.2 and Vancouver at 11.8.

Interestingly enough, according to this report, cities such as New York, Montreal and Singapore were quite ‘affordable relative to incomes”. New York’s price to income ratio was 5.7, Montreal and Singapore at 4.8.

Using satellite data for major US cities, the study was confirmed by economist Albert Saiz of MIT, stating that ‘tighter physical constraints- such as bodies of water or land gradients that make properties unsuitable for extensive building tend to correlate with higher home prices.” Vancouver’s topography is such that it is unsuitable for extensive building in these two areas--bodies of water and mountains to the north.

So how do we address densification, affordability challenges in our city? Is land assembly an option? Attend our land assembly seminar on Saturday, September 8th. Go to


How to Band Together in Land Assembly by Geraldine Santiago Realtor ®

Attend our 3rd annual seminar for sellers wanting to sell their home as a land assembly.  Find out how and if your property qualifies, and what properties are being rezoned in your neighbourhood.  Densification is the answer to our housing crisis and in order to do that, land assembly is needed.  

Did you know that 89% of Canada's land ownership is owned by Crown Land? Crown land is land (or land covered by water like rivers or lakes) that is owned by the provincial government. This includes forests, parks, beaches, public swimming pools, community centres, public libraries etc. We love our parks and forests, and can't build there!

So where are we going to find land to build upon, to make way for the increase in population in metro Vancouver? If Crown land is not being sold, sales from individual land owners might be the answer. Perhaps land assembly is our our hope.

Go to for more information and to pre-register as space is limited.

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