Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SOVEREIGN Tower - BOSA has a tiger by the tail, but deserves praise for imposing rules to avoid an ugly feeding frenzy

What a difference just one week and ten kilometers can make in the high-stakes world of condo marketing in Greater Vancouver! Down at Vancouver's False Creek, veteran salesman Bob Rennie is struggling to help the City of Vancouver recoup some cash from the ashes of the ill-starred Olympic Village project. (more below) The trick is to raise price levels, because even with a promised 30% price break on some units, there is still substantial risk. The Millennium Water project will be a political football and lawyer bait for years to come. In contrast to Rennie's agony witness BOSA's euphoria!

In Burnaby Metrotown, the good folks at BOSA Properties are scrambling to get into shark cages, lest they be eaten in the feeding frenzy beginning at their tower site at 4509 Kingsway.

We were alerted just a week ago that BOSA would have tents, heating and and porta-potties on site by 9 a.m. Friday, a full 25 hours before the Sales Centre was scheduled to open - i.e. Saturday at 10a.m. Suddenly matters threatened to get out of hand. Late on Tuesday night, after the final SOVEREIGN preview concluded, over 125 Buyers refused to go home. BOSA staff must be praised for being fast on their feet and putting together a solution. The details are in a Realtor Advisory which went out just after 11 A.M. today:

Bravo ! These measures will certainly deal with queue-jumpers, but it remains to be seen how staff will calm the agitated majority who will take a number but have no chance at all of securing an apartment. My suggestion is that BOSA give each disappointed client a hearty handshake and remind them that Intracorp's METROPLACE will begin marketing in about six weeks time. In addition there are several other mid-size towers coming to the Metrotown corridor. A Chinese language forum I consulted today reported that one less than generous Chinese realtor was offering placeholders $1,000 for three days of work. That is three 24 hour days! Now he can keep his cash in his pocket.

A knot of prospective Buyers wait to enter the SOVEREIGN Tower sales centre on Kingsway. That was before noon on Feb. 10. The final Preview concluded last night (Feb. 15), and more than a 125 Buyers refused to go home. They elected to camp out over night and BOSA staff had to scramble to bring in tents, heating and toilets to keep them comfortable.

I should mention the offer of 1.9% Financing, which has figured prominently in BOSA marketing for SOVEREIGN Tower. For me at least, it was a very attractive proposition, especially in light of the Bank of Canada's firm decision to drive up the rates, over the next three years. Well, in brief, BOSA is offering 1.9 % on the first 80 units sold - and guarantee the rate for 36 months. If you have your own lender, the Buyer could opt for 5% on their purchase deposit. My sense of the situation is that the clientele, almost exclusively Mainland Chinese, are in no need of a break on financing. Pardon my enthusiasm, but that is the glory of this landmark project. The SOVEREIGN tower is a magnet for wealthy Chinese, and will pull in a container load of foreign dollars. Enough to fill the pay-packets of the local building trades and later create jobs in the hotel and the retail stores. The down-side of course is that SOVEREIGN is contributing to raising the ceiling on condo prices in Burnaby, although at 4509 Kingsway "market value" may settle out a tad lower in 2014, when short-term investors begin flipping units.

If you missed the Vancouver SUN report on the Olympic Village pre-sale, which was conducted in secret over the weekend, you owe it to yourself to have a look. It's not often that pros like Rennie blow a fuse when talking to the press, but then it's also a rare day when condo Sellers force Buyers to sign confidentiality agreements. Mr. Rennie is now on the warpath because one of his confidential Buyer's, whom he termed "some A-hole", violated the agreement before the ink was dry. I don't know how long the Vancouver SUN will keep the article available online, (it's already buried by today's news) so I copied it to file. Jeff Lee's story, Olympic Village condos to go to market - again is worth your time.

CLOVERDALE, where antiques are out, condos in

Yes, Burnaby Metrotown is red hot, but property developers are beavering away in all eight corners of the GVRD. Maybe you read in the SUN recently that the famous Cloverdale Antiques Mall was forced to shut down. Customers were still thronging its many shops, but most of the stalls were run by retirees who could not swallow higher rents. The owner of the property was bent on jacking up rates - allegedly the increase was a near doubling, and the lease holder found himself in an untenable position. I must admit that I do most of my own antique and collectibles shopping in Bellingham, but still, Cloverdale has been a weekend mecca for so many families that it's sad to see an institution disappear.

A pair of brothers enjoy one of the kiddie rides at the Cloverdale Agricultural Fair. It was August of 1966. These boys are now men in their fifties. Perhaps they are "property millionaires" by now, if they had the foresight to invest in the Canadian Dream of home ownership. If they have not fared as well as others, they may resent the reality of rising costs and surging property values in our region.

The demolition of Cloverdale Mall (a separate location from the Antiques Mall) began on January 8, 2011. The building was a "leaker" in every sense, and looked its age. After SAFEWAY pulled out a few years ago all the other tenants fled, one by one. Cloverdale residents are now served by Surrey mega-malls. When this tired out property is finally cleared, construction begins on Cloverdale West Village, a wood frame complex with above retail condos. The term "Mall" is now so frequently shunned, it seems at risk of becoming another "antique". What is this mania for labeling every cluster of shops and homes a "village"? Will it end? [The Cloverdale Reporter has a story on the fate of the derelict mall: SLIDE SHOW]



morning_raindrops said...

Just to let you know, BOSA never told the people to leave, they allowed those people to sit there (I being one of them) the only reason why I sat there was because BOSA didn't ask people to leave. I even asked one of the sales people inside why they let people sit out there. Therefore in order to save myself a chance at buying a condo, I had to line up. In which, 3 arguements broke out because people were selling their seats and spaces and some people were being paid to sit there. I think before you praise BOSA for a job well done, I think you need to look at the bigger picture as to WHY they let people do this. It's all for their hype.

morning_raindrops said...

Bosa set up tents yes that is correct, Bosa supplied heat No the didn't, Bosa provided washrooms yes. Just an update, before hitting number 180 today Bosa had sold out of everything with estates going first. Which means out of the 200 something condos, Bosa took about 60 condos for insider people. Not only that, they were very disorganized in how they let people onto the ground and were very rude. One representative from Bosa tried to speak mandarin to some of the mandarin speaking public and ended up yelling "BACK OFF" to them in English. Instead of letting people through their gates by numbers they let people crowd around the gates and slowly let random people in. I will give them credit for catering and for some heating within the tents. But after telling people that everything was sold out and that they would be taking names down for a waitlist took forever. Not only was Bosa not prepared, they were very disorganized with a lot of unsatisfied customers. Taking people's names down for the wait list took over 2 hours. Many people I've talked to including people holding numbers like 140 were unable to get the spots they liked and were already put onto the wait list. People were lined up from 7 am to even 4:30 pm today and were still arguing with the sales rooms people. Many people who couldn't buy a condo today are not happy with how Bosa handled the crowd, and many that were able to buy a condo today were not happy today as well.

Ronald J. Jack said...

We all appreciate you taking the time to update us on today's events at the SOVEREIGN site. I will speak to BOSA staff on Monday and I get their response to what you witnessed first hand, and describe. Were you able to get an OFFER in today?

Unknown said...

I went to the display centre on Feb 19 around 4:00 PM.

That day was so cold and around 10 people lined to the display centre.

A salesman gave me a 'priority purchase certificate' and I waited more than 40 minutes in such a cold day.

Eventually, I was allowed enter to the gate. A lady asked me for a number. I told her is '145', because the certificate has numbered as #145.

She seemed very unhappy that I did not understand the number which she expected. Another sales man asked me to leave the display centre immediately. I asked him why you let me go immediately instead of showing me the display, I waited in such a cold weather for more than 40 minutes. He was such a rude and told me: "Nobody forced you wait in such a cold weather."

I was so shocked by his attitude. Does BOSA staff treat customers like that? I really appreciate BOSA management team could investigate such a bad service and very unprofessional attitude.

If you want to know the details, please email me at :