October 22, 2012

Big Metrotown condo development sells out

Buyers snapped up hundreds of units in a massive new development planned for Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C. Saturday.

Some folks interested in purchasing one of the 269 condos stood in line before sunrise this morning hoping for their chance to own a unit at the first of five new towers at Burnaby’s Station Square.

Angel Pleitez was one of them. It is the mega-development’s location that lured him to be there at 6 a.m.

“Very convenient to everything, SkyTrain, mall, Superstore,” he said. “The best location.”

As many analysts are labeling the market “soft,” the long lineup to buy condos was a surprise.

“The market is generally a little softer than it was, so you’re not sure going into a situation like this,” said Ryan Beedie of Beedie Development Group.

The first tower is 35 storeys, while the others in development could reach 57 storeys.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan notes the city is in transition. There are plans to add 11 residential towers at Brentwood Town Centre, and two of them could reach 70 storeys.

“It’s changing us from a bedroom community to the centre of the region,” Corrigan said.

He added that it is key is to develop the condos along existing transit hubs.

“There aren’t many choices. Either we can develop the agricultural land and the park land that is so important to our region, or we can go up. We can develop more density around stations,” Corrigan said.

In March, hundreds of people lined up for the chance to buy condos at Marine Drive and Cambie Street in Vancouver.

“Last year we had a very strong market where you had numerous projects that were achieving really strong presales right off the bat,” said Michael Ferreira of Urban Analytics.

Demand has decreased since then, but despite that all 269 units were sold Saturday.

Greg Zayadi of Anthem Properties Group said the buyers were people who will keep the condos for a long time.

“It’s not the investor of old that thinks the market is going to go up another ten or 15 per cent and selling it at the end of the day. They’ll be retaining this unit for a long time to come,” he said.

The first tower won’t be complete until the fall of 2015 and the rest of the development could take until 2020.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Nafeesa Karim