Rennie’s face foreshadows Jameson flop

WestEnder - May 11-17, 2006

“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” –Anton Chekhov

Chekhov’s Gun refers to the literary technique of introducing a story element that only later proves significant. This goes beyond simple foreshadowing. To Chekhov, a proper story should contain no irrelevant information.

In May 2006, Bob Rennie graces the WestEnder with a look of uncharacteristic consternation. His serious face is at odds with the news item. The condo he’s promoting, Jameson House, is supposedly a glory in the making, and the cover story is an all-out ego stroker. (The reporter describes the condos as so luxurious that “residents of such digs should not indulge in such base acts as eating or using the washroom.”) But why so serious?

Fast-forward two-and-a-half years. The world-class Jameson House is caught in a world-class credit crunch. Demand for seven-figure condos is dried up. Bank financing is pulled due to market conditions. Construction stops at the project site. A developer’s dream is dead unless new money comes through to save it.

All that remains is the look on a face, and the power of hindsight for us to interpret it.

17 Responses to “Rennie’s face foreshadows Jameson flop”

  1. Amarulaman Says:

    Good luck at ever getting that post-crash look from Bob Rennie!

    I think he has pulled a Dave Chappell and is living in South Africa as we speak….

    I shudder to think how many bet their life savings on this man’s word…as if it was gospel!


  2. islander Says:

    We have a similar project in Victoria: Swallow’s Landing.
    Multi-tower, multi-story, multi-millions. Ground suites were >$500K. And it got crazy from there.
    Turns out, nobody wants to pay $2-$4M for a penthouse suite in a building in the ghetto (Esquimalt).
    Same deal with the vaunted enviro-project Dockside Green. It was going to save the world with recycled grey water, rooftop gardens, blah, blah, hippie, blah, blah. Towers 2 and 3 are shelved.
    Turns out people don’t want to pay 3 lifetimes worth of money to overlook a gravel pit.

  3. blueskies Says:

    “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

    look to the past for comfort

    thnx Robbie…well put
    and so apt.

  4. condohype Says:

    I might take some heat for saying this but I’m actually sorry to see this one stall. The architecture is much better than what we’ve come to expect for a Vancouver condo.

  5. blueskies Says:

    we looked at the development, really neat but pricey
    i could picture myself in a completely curved environment
    no straight lines……… anywhere……
    it certainly did have architectural merit.

  6. Happy Renter in North Van Says:

    Maybe he was daydreaming about how he was planning on spending his ill-gotten gains…

    Then again, it just might be his prune juice hadn’t kicked in yet…

  7. rob bennie Says:

    It’s downfall was not due to credit issues… the damned furniture wouldn’t fit into those curved walls

  8. jesse Says:

    WE can haz condoz?

  9. flux Says:

    rob bennie is right…cuved walls might be architecturally beautiful, but it’s not practical. Square rooms are important, espcially when you’ve not got too many sq. ft. to start with. Rectangles might not be sexy, but they’re very useful.

  10. mk-kids Says:

    I love Chekhov.

    Ooooh, a retro WE cover! I forgot about that one and it was a goody.

    2006 seems so long ago…

  11. anon Says:

    There is PLENTY of modern and mid-century modern furniture available for curved walls; just not quasi-Victorian “Antiques Roadshow” crap. And Mabel, however are we going to upgrade the place with Home Cheapot particle board crown molding? Oh wait, they’ve got that paintable rubber stuff now… SAVED!!!

    That said and done, visionary modern architecture never bodes well in a Depression or for several decades afterward; ask Frank Lloyd Wright, whose genius didn’t go mainstream until the early 70’s.

  12. Larry Yatkowsky Says:

    “should not indulge in such base acts .. as using the washroom” might explain the look. :>)

  13. Jimbo Says:

    Not everyone dumps their old furniture to buy all new stuff to fit into a curvy new apartment!

  14. TaxHaven Says:

    Oh, come on…! Who buys those things anyway? I will return to Canada only when I can get a nice acreage & house in some quiet rural area of V.I. for a bargain price.

    At this rate, I reckon two more years…

  15. Provecho Says:

    I agree with Condohype. This building offered something that none of the generic Concord Pacific-type towers could: generous space, light and thoughtful design–for a price, of course.

    With most new developments I look at the floor plans and imagine knocking down walls to turn a miserable, microscopic 2-bedroom into a somwhat habitable 1-bedroom. With Jameson House I could actually picture myself living in the suites as they were designed. You know, with enough space for a big sofa and king-size bed and a dining room table that seats more than two.

    I’m sad to see this one go, it was pretty much the ONLY new building in Vancouver that I aspired to live in.

  16. Where's Waldo Says:

    Any tips? Where IS the infamous Bob Rennie now??? He who was SO prominent in the media in the days of the real condo hype/buying frenzy… and now, silently absent from showing his face about-town.
    I put it to you Bob, let’s hear your two cents worth on when your condo marketing empire will re-generate…

  17. RearEnder Says:

    Fun fact: The Westender corrected Rennie’s lazy eye in the photo.

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