Three Harbour Green 227 Thurlow Street Vancouver – Penthouse

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013


So what would you expect to see stepping through the front door of a condo listed for a jaw-dropping $22.3 million? Twenty-four carat gold leaf wallpaper? Pillars of pure marble shipped in from Greece? Rare and exotic wood panelling? Try none of the above. At first glance, the front entrance of the four-bedroom, family room and den penthouse at Three Harbour Green, high above Thurlow and West Cordova Streets, looks much like the lobby of a large downtown Vancouver law firm, minus the reception desk.

But venture a few more steps inside the 8,010-square foot home and you begin to understand why this pad commands a stratospheric price. From the living room, one can contemplate the impact of the changing seasons on the North Shore Mountains – not just to one, but all three peaks at once. Or survey the shining waters of Vancouver Harbour and watch seaplanes take off and land, from Coal Harbour to the Ironworkers Bridge to the east. Even the master ensuite throne offers a bird’s eye view of Lonsdale Quay. The three terrace areas on the east and west sides of the building total more than 2,000 square feet, providing a 360-degree view of the city and surroundings.

Most of the penthouse’s value is in its unique location and “exposure,” says Lily Korstanje, managing director of Magnum Projects Ltd., who has shown would-be buyers through the suite. “People who come to see the suite are awestruck by the views.” While it is one among several ultra-luxurious towers built around Coal Harbour – one nearby Fairmont suite recently sold for a reported $25 million to a buyer from Dubai – this penthouse is absolutely one of a kind.

As you tour the penthouse, you quickly realize there isn’t a stick of furniture to be seen – in sharp contrast to the gussied-up interiors of so many of the city’s newest real estate offerings. Magnum considered staging the penthouse but concluded that offering potential buyers a blank canvas and a brochure with renderings would be best. “We get two types,” says Korstanje. “Those who love the space and want to program it themselves. Or others, who say this is going to take too long and prefer a turn-key situation.”

But even without comfy couches, paintings on the walls and objects d’art from around the world on ultra-modern coffee tables, the penthouse’s built-in features pack a lot of wow-factor. On the 31st floor, the huge kitchen – with incredible views to the east of course – has a sleek counter of half-inch-thick stainless steel and frost-white enamel cabinets with the elegant lines of a racecar. That makes sense, given it was designed by Pininfarina of Italy, famous for its collaboration with automaker Ferrari. Cost? A cool $200,000. Other features include a built-in espresso and cappuccino centre, Sub-Zero fridge, both standard and convection wall ovens and an oversize gas cooktop by Miele. To one side is a food preparation area, with a stainless steel counter that’s double the length of the first.

One floor up, on the 32nd, is the master bedroom with a private staircase and a northwest view to the mountains and sea, and a walk-in closet by MOVE of Italy that includes its own emergency exit to the penthouse entrance. The ensuite bathroom is a wonder in its own right. In one corner of the voluminous amenity sits a frameless and gargantuan shower stall that measures at least 10-by-15 feet, prompting our incredulous photographer to quip, “this is bigger than my entire bedroom.”

On the 33rd floor is the suite’s pièce-de-resistance – a 2,000-square-foot sky garden, open to the sky but protected from the wind by large windows with views that take in the entire harbour and English Bay. This private enclave features cedar decks, framed by smooth river rock gravel punctuated by large stepping-stones. Centring this Zen-like space is a lone pine tree surrounded by tall grasses. At ground level are some amenities appropriate to the penthouse owner’s station in life, such as a private garage in the parkade that could, in a pinch, fit 18 cars, Korstanje notes.

Three Harbour Green features are shared with the other 81 suite owners, including a 25-metre ozone-purified pool, squash and raquetball court, table tennis room, sauna and steam room, yoga and fitness rooms, and a virtual golf course where one can play St. Andrews and other famous links projected onto a screen. For children there is an open-air playground—with harbour views for the kiddies of course.

So who buys properties like this?

Korstanje says she has shown the penthouse over the past year to prospective buyers from mainland China, South Korea, India, the Middle East oil kingdoms, the United States and Latin America and, more recently, from Uzbekistan, the former state of the Soviet Union. She calls them “visionaries who recognize Vancouver’s potential.”

“This is under $3,000 a square foot,” she enthuses. “You can’t even get a dinky little run-down old New York apartment with a Central Park outlook for under $6,000 a square foot. “ While so far no one has bought, Korstanje says it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, don’t hold your breath waiting for the price to drop.

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