Friday, January 14, 2011

The SOVEREIGN of Metrotown - getting dressed for his debut

The promised floor plans for the SOVEREIGN tower are not yet in, but the website has a nifty widget that allows us to admire the view from four different elevations. BOSA is promising a February 2011 launch but as of yesterday there is no activity on site - although a sales centre will appear soon. I admire the design of the building but having recently watched the superb documentary film IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, my mind keeps juxtaposing the SOVEREIGN tower with the famous gantry and support deck which launched the Saturn V rockets for the Apollo moon landings.

The views from each unit on the upper floors of the SOVEREIGN tower will defy superlatives. Shown here is the line of sight toward downtown Vancouver and the north mountain wall.

In the absence of hard information on the SOVEREIGN tower, speculation is rife among Realtors. Chinese New Year is fast approaching and billions of freshly landed dollars are up for grabs, but don't discount the legion of locals who are desperate to sink their savings into something solid. The only SOVEREIGN secret anyone cares about is how steep the prices will be for individual units. They will sell at any price, but the risk is that Buyers saddled with extortionate prices, will be denied any viable resale potential.
Directly across the street from the tower property is the infamous "Crystal Mall". Why infamous? For a number of reasons including the fact that it's "THE CRYSTAL", not a mall but a marketplace. I well recall the intense speculative interest in the project in the late 1990s. All manner of promises were made - there would be retail anchors and a multi-screen cinema, etc. Never happened! (The major components did open in 2000 but many people averted their eyes as they drove by, for the longest time. It was painful.)
We had lined up a number of buyers for retail and residential units in THE CRYSTAL but whole blocks were sold out (unethically in my opinion) by insiders to pre-assembled buyers from Asia. The "Sold For" prices at the time were ludicrously high because the project was never exposed to the Marketplace. For several years the hapless suckers twisted and squirmed trying to unload bad investments. The complex itself looked sick for the longest time, but fortunately the Goddess of Property sometimes shines on the least of us. Those who didn't dump an impulse purchase, in time saw prices exceed what they had paid for a unit. Today the Crystal thrives and is a happy place to shop or eat.

I have the highest hopes for THE SOVEREIGN, but again everything depends on how the marketing campaign is conducted. Burnaby Metrotown doesn't need another fiasco like THE CRYSTAL. Buyers are being told that a "famous" hotel chain is going into the building and that "retail giants" will take the floors on the ground level. Unfortunately the residential component will be 100% SOLD OUT before any announcements are made for the lower portions of the project. We just have to trust that all will turn out to everyone's satisfaction.

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