Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CHANCELLOR Tower Metrotown - Polygon's strategy averts sidewalk mayhem, but what precedents are being set?

I chose not to attend Polygon's sneak preview of the CHANCELLOR tower. The event hosted Vancouver area Realtors, and was held yesterday in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Metrotown, Burnaby. As with the previews of SOVEREIGN and METROPLACE, hundreds of Realtors attended. And as with the Super-tower projects, few of those Realtors will be able to compete with the "In-house" sales force of the developers. But hey, you play the cards you're dealt.

In an earlier Blog article I considered Polygon's problem of how to deal with the place-holders who were squatting on the block in front of the building site. I asked the question "Taping your business card to a plastic kitchen stool, and lining them up in front of a major developer's sales center - ONE WEEK BEFORE SALES DATE. Is that all it takes these days to guarantee the chance of writing a contract with condo sales staff?" I got my answer yesterday from May Kam, Sales Manager at CHANCELLOR.

The answer is YES ! - any licenced Realtor who wants a piece of the action with Polygon, Intracorp, Bosa, et al, better be willing to hire a dozen human traffic cones, and get themselves to the nearest Canadian Tire to invest in a dozen plastic stools. The next tower feeding frenzy is just over the horizon. ... But of course there is far more to flash condo marketing than creating buzz or convincing wealthy Chinese to line up at your sales center. "Inside Sales" is also a thorn in the foot of Jesus. Insider trader is illegal on Wall and Bay Streets, but property developers kiting the value of projects, and then permitting internal sales staff to buy choice units and later flip, is an old Vancouver tradition. I'm not pointing fingers at any particular developer, but I could.

We will witness holes shot in the sky all along Metrotown ridge, as new and higher towers are approved. But there will also come a reckoning. And surely the City of Burnaby must ponder the problem and innovate a solution to a problem the municipality is contributing. Does every highrise tower site have to end up looking like a U.N. Feeding Centre, and every licences realtor have to become a part time labour contractor in order to do their jobs for their clients?

UPDATE April 13, 2011 - Here a bit of good news - the elected government of Burnaby (its Council) has asked city legal staff to "develop a policy" to deal with the current phenomenon of flash marketing, which is creating disruptive lines of place holders in front of developer sales centres in Metrotown. A good start! I'll have a few further suggestions as we get closer to the Municipal election.

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