October 30, 2013
Construction at the new Westbank Corp. development is moving rapidly, more rapidly than what I've seen in the past. It's the development on the old Safeway site at 70th and Granville in Marpole on the westside of Vancouver. It consists of 3 buildings, the West Tower, South Tower, and Cornish Estates which is townhomes and low-rise condos and a new Safeway to replace the old one. Westbank is certainly one of the most prolific developers in the Lower Mainland and have built some of the best-known condo developments including the condo/hotels the Fairmont Pacific Rim and the Shangri-la, as well as the renound Shaw Tower. However to say they haven't had their issues would be a lie. They have their share of lawsuits on both the Pacific Rim and Shangri-la. In saying that, the fact is they build good stuff, they are sharks like all developers, know your rights and negotiate the best deal and you'll be OK.
The location: It's Marpole.......the most afforable neighbourhood on the westside that is home to many a rental building. The prices at this development........not so affordable. One beds start at around $450k, and two beds around $725k. That's pricey, even for the westside. Their motto is "15 minutes to everything". I can tell you because I live in the area, it's great. Downtown in 17 minutes, UBC in 25, Richmond in 10, YVR in 10. The Canada line is nearby. So the location is good.
Why so pricey? The finishings. And profits. As the head of marketing for Westbank said, "it's like a C class Mercedes, similar to what we did at the Pacific Rim, just below". The finishings are nice. Engineered-hardwood walnut flooring, stylish granite island with undermount sink, Miele dishwasher, wall oven, and range. Thought I saw a Miele fridge at the sales centre, but read that it's Subzero. Integrated fridge and dishwasher. Panasonic microwave. Kohler fixtures in kitchen and bathrooms. By the way, the bathrooms have marble countertops, marble floors, and marble walls! LG washer and dryer. The touches are nice, that's why the price is on the high-side.
The amenities: Gym, sauna,, steam, outdoor yoga room, rooftop groves and gardens. To be expected for a development of this size. The Safeway is nice to have so close.
This area is going through a ton of changes and there is a huge brouhaha going on with the City and the neighbourhood residents......City wants density, residents don't like it. This development brings density to an area that has been void of it, save for low-rise rentals. It's a nice development on a big site. As I said a bit pricey, but they are pushing it to the high-end market, even though Marpole isn't a high-end neighbourhood.
Remember, developers are sharks! Buying a condo unit is much more complex than buying a single-family home. Get a shark on your side. I know the market inside-out, I know who the good developers are and how they negotiate. I also know who is giving incentives at any given time. Call me or email me.