Major Vancouver developer Concord Pacific is suing the City of Vancouver alleging that land they transferred to the city for use for "charitable public purposes" could be developed into high-rise condos that would compete with the developer's own housing projects.

Concord Pacific, which has developed large swaths of former industrial land on the north shore of False Creek since 1988, filed a notice of civil claim earlier this week in the B.C. Supreme Court.

In the notice of claim, they allege that a piece of land in that area — 601 Beach Crescent — was sold to the city in October 1999 under the understanding that the land was to be used exclusively for non-profit housing units or some other "charitable, public welfare purposes beneficial to the community."

The city put up the site for sale in May.

'Irreparable commercial harm'

The notice of civil claim alleges the city is allowing potential developers to build a condominium tower of up to 425 feet in height, with the obligation to provide nonprofit housing on 20 per cent of the site.

That, the documents say, would cause "irreparable commercial harm" to Concord Pacific, which developed residential housing in the area on the premise that 601 Beach Crescent would remain designated as a low-rise non-profit housing site.

"City officials expressly promised Concord, and the City and Concord agreed that the Concord Lands forming part of Lot 259 [601 Beach Crescent] would be used exclusively for charitable public purposes through development as non-profit housing units and that its designation would be maintained," the documents state.

Concord is calling for an injunction to stop the sale of the site and is also offering to buy the land back.

Matt Meehan, senior vice-president of planning for Concord Pacific, said in a statement that the company could not comment further because the issue is being determined by the courts.

"This proceeding is a stand-alone matter among the large number of successful projects Concord has completed with the City of Vancouver," Meehan said.

"Concord has a long term relationship with the City of Vancouver and will continue to partner with the city on all current projects."

The City of Vancouver declined comment, stating the matter was before the courts.

Concord Pacific is known for the massive development of False Creek, transforming the former 204-acre industrial site used for Expo 86, into a high-rise residential area.