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Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou appears in Vancouver court for bail adjustment hearing

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A day after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a formal request for her extradition, the chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei appeared in B.C. Supreme Court for a bail adjustment hearing.

Meng Wanzhou has been living under strict bail conditions in her Vancouver home since her release last December.

Meng asked the court to update details around a person acting as part of the $7 million surety she had to post as a condition of her release last month.

More specifically, she asked that Robert Cheng be reinstated as a surety guarantor. Cheng had originally pledged his $1.8 million dollar home but never signed the documents to follow through due to a drop in value of his home. Another person stepped up with cash but Cheng and his wife have now put forward cash and the home to make up the difference in the value.

 

 

Tuesday’s appearance comes a day after a dramatic announcement by U.S. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker of 13 criminal charges against Meng, Huawei, and its affiliates in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

The charges date back to 2009 on allegations concerning the relationship between Huawei and a company called Skycom that did business in Iran.

 

 

U.S. prosecutors claim Skycom was a hidden subsidiary of Huawei and accuse Meng, 46, of misrepresenting the relationship in order to induce U.S. banks to move money in violation of sanctions against Iran.

Canada’s justice minister has until March 1 to respond to the extradition request.

In the wake of Meng’s arrest, Canada and China appear to have engaged in a growing diplomatic feud that has seen China arrest two Canadians and sentence a third to death for his role in an alleged drug conspiracy.

Meng and her husband own two homes in Vancouver, but she was arrested at the international airport in the B.C. city while in transit to Mexico and South America. Prosecutors claim she and other Huawei executives have been avoiding the U.S. since learning of an investigation into their activities.

In proceedings that drew an overflow crowd of international observers, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Meng bail in spite of arguments from prosecutors that she would be a flight risk.

Camera crews stake out the home of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. One day after the U.S. issued a formal extradition request, Meng is scheduled to appear in B.C. Supreme Court to request a bail adjustment. (Yvette Brend/CBC)

Meng is living under 24-hour supervision for which she has to pick up the tab. Five friends with permanent ties to Canada also stepped forward to act as guarantors.

The terms of Meng’s bail limit her movements to the Lower Mainland.

Her next scheduled court appearance has been moved to March 6.

 

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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