The 60-storey Ritz-Carlton tower in Vancouver was scheduled for completion in 2011. ((Holborn Developments) )

Construction of one of Vancouver's most prestigious condominium projects has been halted, but the developer says design changes, not the international credit crisis, are behind the move.

Work halted on the Ritz-Carlton construction site on Friday, and crews did not return on Monday after the weekend, leaving a giant hole in the ground near the corner of West Georgia Street and Bute Street in the heart of Vancouver.

but the building's developer Simon Lim, president of the Holborn Group, told CBC News financial concerns were not behind the decision to put the project on hold.

According to Lim, the work was halted so some design changes to the parkade can be made, and it made no sense to keep crews working. The sales office is open by appointment while those changes are underway, he added.


Work halted on the Ritz-Carlton construction site on Friday, and crews did not return after the weekend. ((CBC))

Bob Rennie, who works on marketing the project, said 50 per cent of the condominium units were pre-sold.

"I've just been instructed by Holborn to make it clear that it is a suspension of construction until they go through redesign," Rennie said Tuesday.

Advertising signage around the construction site was missing on Tuesday and construction trailers had been removed from the site. About 50 per cent of the excavation for the foundation of the project had already been completed.

The 60-storey tower, which twists 45 degrees as it rises, is an Arthur Erickson design. The design features a high-end Ritz-Carlton hotel on the lower floors and 123 luxury condos on the upper floors priced between $2.5 million and $10 million, with the penthouse priced at $28 million.

Holborn's next project, The Hills, is now delayed until the new year. The Hills, at Nanaimo Street and Kingsway, is to offer more than 280 units in a 22-storey highrise tower, a 6-storey mid-rise and a few townhomes.

Jennifer Podmore, a real estate market strategy consultant with MPC Intelligence in Vancouver, said confusion and uncertainty are prevailing in the industry.

"You're seeing a lot of people just taking a deep breath and waiting a few months and really studying what's happening with the consumer confidence and what people are saying to figure out where people are going next," she said.