Unbuilt condos shoot into the $7-million bracket

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

High-end luxury housing market keeps going higher

Fiona Anderson

VICTOR BONDEROFF/VANCOUVER SUN Artists’ renderings of Coal Harbour’s Two Harbour Green with Shangri-La.

There’s a race for top spot brewing in Vancouver‘s high-end luxury condominium market where two as-yet unbuilt projects have units with asking prices in excess of $7 million.

Realtors selling the penthouse suite at Two Harbour Green, the latest development in Coal Harbour, are asking $7.25 million.

Bob Rennie, marketer of a 5,200-square-foot condo on the top floor of the under-construction Shangri-La at Georgia and Thurlow, has that unit listed for $7.4 million.

Both, if sold, would become the highest-priced condominiums ever to clear the market. The previous record of $6.9 million was for a 41st-floor unit in the Shaw Tower last July.

Rennie thinks both properties could sell within three to six months, but won’t speculate on which will go first.

“One buyer has the services of a hotel, and the other buyer has the seawall,” Rennie said in an interview.

At Harbour Green, buyers are lined up to take a look at the 5,800-square-foot three-bedroom plus den suite with its own 4,000-square-foot roof-top deck.

Ten people have so far shown interest in the penthouse, said the project’s marketer, George Wong of MacDonald Realty Platinum Project Marketing.

Malcolm Hasman, a realtor who sells high-end luxury real estate, thinks the penthouse at that price will go quickly.

“To be right on the waterfront in the premium building on the prestigious Coal Harbour, in Canadian funds [that] is not a lot of money,” Hasman said in an interview.

He thinks the buyer of the penthouse at Two Harbour Green could come from outside the country. He sells about 60 homes a year in the $1-million-plus market, and more than half of his sales are to people who are not from B.C., he said.

“Most of the people that I am working with — high net-worth international people — even at the levels we are seeing now at $1,000 per foot in Coal Harbour … they still do not see that as overpriced at an international level,” he said.

The equivalent penthouse in New York would cost $30 million to $50 million, Hasman said; a townhouse in the Knob Hill area of San Francisco could cost as much as $25 million US.

“Our prices may be high to us, but they are not high on an international level.”

Wong expects half of the 71 units in Two Harbour Green to be bought as recreational properties by people who want to spend a few months a year in Vancouver.

“People are acquiring more and more recreational properties globally,” Wong said in an interview. “Vancouver is totally on the shopping map of recreational travellers.”

The property is hot because demand for Coal Harbour waterfront is high, and supply is limited. Only one more fully residential tower, Three Harbour Green, will be built in the area.

“This is a very finite product,” Wong said in an interview. “There won’t be any more of these. So it’s like a collector’s item.”

Two Harbour Green is the second of three towers being built by Aspac Developments Ltd. in Coal Harbour and is expected to be completed in 2008. Other units will range from 2,400 to 3,600 square feet and all units will contain top-of-the line lighting, appliances, and kitchens with a built-in espresso machine and a steamer oven. One Harbour Green, is expected to be ready for occupancy before the end of the year.

Already 30 units worth more than $75 million have been sold,with no public showings, Wong said, — to people who had been invited to individual sneak previews. The first “public” showing is Saturday by invitation only. To be invited, an interested buyer must pay a $10,000 appointment fee Wong calls a “qualifying mechanism.”

“That’s our assurance that these are fairly serious people,” Wong said.

This amount is refunded to non-buyers and goes toward the deposit if the person chooses to buy.


Two condos are listed at potentially record-breaking prices in Vancouver:

The penthouse at Coal Harbour‘s Two Harbour Green ($7.25 million), and Georgia Street‘s Shangri-La ($7.4 million)


Here are some record-setting prices for Vancouver condos sold through the MLS system:

July 2004

$6.9 million: Shaw Tower, 41st floor

December 2002

$5.45 million: Shaw Tower penthouse

March 2005

$4.535 million: The Edgewater

June 2002

$4.5 million: Penthouse, 1717 Bayshore Dr.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

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