Sugar sweet on East Hastings Street

Sugar - 2636 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Looking for sugar on East Hastings? What might have been an invitation to criminal activity is now a navigational inquiry for Vancouver condo buyers. I don’t know how such a bad joke in the marketing room could turn into a full-fledged brand campaign, but here it is.

Sugar at 2636 East Hastings Street has certainly done sweet business. Project developer Euro-Pacific (whose website at time of writing is a GoDaddy Starter Page) had their grand opening for their condos a little more than a week ago. Already more than 75 per cent of units have been sold. Apparently a “suite” deal, ho hum.

As as an enticement for buyers, an LCD TV is included as a standard feature. How nice of the developer to throw in a television after you throw in $300,000 (probably more). This is the kind of novelty you expect when buying a couch at The Brick. Classy move, sugar. Ten bucks says your TV is some crap brand like those Digimate models collecting dust at Futureshop. Must be the “slim” profit margins on condos these days. After all, it wouldn’t competitive to cover the cost of a brand name add-on. (I invite Euro-Pacific to correct me if they are actually offering up a decent TV. Corrections are welcome and encouraged.)

The kids over at Real Estate Talks have been trading barbs over this one for a few weeks now. I’ll highlight some of the better comments here. To avoid the risk of being boring, I’ll spare you my usual method of dissecting the copy and making jokes about it. I mean, I could make a funny about Sugar’s “quick access to Vancouver’s hottest spots” and then reference the huge adult video store that’s steps away but that’s not that funny. Or maybe it is. You tell me.

Some entertaining, slightly incoherent and deliberately out-of-context excerpts from the Sugar thread at RET:

  • “The area is absolutely fine and in my opinion better than Marpole.” -vanreal
  • “I don’t know if some of the people posted in this thread ever been to E. Hastings and Nanaimo area. Really, it’s not that bad. It ain’t Yaletown, but it’s not Cracktown by any means.” -Yoree
  • “I park my car in the lot out back or on Hastings Street itself. Never a problem.” -wgb.llb

I just love that last one. It inspires a great tagline. “Sugar. Park on Hastings or around back. It’s never a problem.”

Are you having as much fun as me? This is the sweet life, kids.

22 Responses to “Sugar sweet on East Hastings Street”

  1. blueskies Says:

    a “sugar” reference?
    how did that get past the focus group “sniff” test?
    or “snort” test?
    i can picture the sales brochure with a line of coke on it
    good find!

  2. vancouveriste Says:

    Honey, you really should check out the ‘hood before you diss it.

    In just the past two weeks, two beautiful homes within an easy walking distance of the Sugar site have recently sold for over $900k.

  3. Sean Orr Says:

    Please keep dissing the hood. No wait, please keep dissing dumb marketers who have no clue about ‘the hood’.

  4. vancouveriste Says:

    Yer rite as usual, Sean. They don’t know what they’re dissing.

  5. condohype Says:

    The hype machine seems to work in two ways.

    Obviously the big one is in marketing of condos themselves and the whole “lifestyle” narrative they put forward as somehow being rooted in the Vancouver experience. It’s bunk and it deserves to be made fun of. But there’s a second hype and it comes out of the stereotypes that people in this city place upon themselves. Or maybe more specifically, on the parts of the city where they don’t live.

    I’ll be going deeper into this idea in the coming weeks. But I’m interested in this discussion. Keep it going.

  6. jesse Says:

    The neighborhood has started to gentrify, that is, houses that were rentals are selling to owner-occupiers. Argue if you want, but petty crime is pretty rare amongst owner-occupiers. Overall that neighborhood is one of the more “honest” Vancouver neighborhoods. It has kept its old-school Vancouver feel and has not been overly usurped by trendsetters or monotonic ethnic areas. You can probably buy most things you would ever need on that stretch; other neighborhoods require you to drive to other areas to get 100% coverage.

    I don’t know if I would buy there. Generally the plots are small and the gardens are pretty crappy. Going north of Dundas is actually quite nice. There is still a high rental rate there. Check out the Vancouver Police website about crime rates and Sunset is a bit… um… orangey. If the economy turns, the recently gentrified neighborhoods are the first to regress.

  7. kenady Says:

    A year and a half ago I bought just up the street from Sugar, at The Riviera (at Hastings and Slocan, across the street from the old Bell Funeral Home site). I’d lived in the West End before buying this condo on E. Hastings – never, ever thought I’d leave the West End – thought it was the only place in the city worth living. I was wrong. In terms of crime, for example. Lots of it in the West End. Near Denman and Nelson, my apt. was broken into more than once, car windows were smashed in, car door locks punched in, antenna bent to desctruction, junkies shot up regularly in front of my car, and stuck their needles in my car tires, leaving them there, in my flats. Near the end of my time in the West End, the crime was a drag, and uncomfortable. No probems so far on this stretch of E. Hastings. It is a quiet little community, and I don’t use the term community lightly. By community, I mean that the shop keepers on the street – the grocers, deli owners, dry cleaners, bankers, etc. remember me when I see them. Special order food for me if they can, and deliver my groceries for free whenever I choose (Como Market). The street guys, a few regulars, well, they also seem part of the community, and never a threat – always acknowledging me on the street when I pass buy. Transit service is excellent along this stretch. Since I’ve moved here I ditched my car. The walk to Commercial Drive through thought the back streets of the neighbourhood is wonderful, and residents are very friendly. This is a ‘warm’ community in a way that much of Vancouver isn’t. It’s like a separate ‘village’ unto itself, and a secret gem that most people either misunderstand or don’t even know about. Between Hastings and Wall Street are streets filled with great old homes mixed in with Vancouver specials, and an interesting and odd cultural mix, which is part of the charm. There is even a community garden on Wall Street, with big plots right by the tracks with a view that is breathtaking. To me, Commercial Drive has a pretense of no pretense. The Rise (Hastings-Sunrise, where Sugar will be) , at least now, has no pretense. It’s just people living. There is a refreshing rawness about it. In a way, I kind of like the misperceptions of the area. Perhaps it will keep people away so it can stay the way it is. In terms of the Sugar development, many of the buyers, apparently, are people who already live in the neighbourhood and are downscaling from houses, or were previously renting. Once people have spent time in this area, they don’t want to leave, it seems. [Do a google search on Hasting-Sunrise. There was a great Georgia-Straight article about the area, and its online.] *apologies on the fractured posts above. my computer was messing up)

  8. kenady Says:

    Here’s the link to the article about Hastings-Sunrise that I refered to in my previous post:


  9. WoodenHorse Says:

    Sorry, this is OT, but: Has anyone else noticed that both banks and RE shills are using White Guy/Asian Girl couples more and more frequently?

    What’s up with that?

  10. vancouveriste Says:

    Let’s keep these secrets of “the rise” to ourselves, okay?

  11. Jaymo Says:

    This is a popular area, sales and rentals are snapped up quickly. Vancouveriste, the secrets out and has been since at least ’04. When we bought our house on Trinity, our realtor referred to it as ‘the’ up and coming neighbourhood in Vancouver.

  12. kenady Says:

    Vancouveriste: Sorry. I know. I should keep my mouth shut in the name of preservation. I shouldn’t mention things like how one of the grocers throws in free garlic and ginger with my purchase without charging me, and how, if I don’t have quite enough money with me to pay the full bill, which sometimes happens (you know, short a buck or two), he says, “Don’t worry. Pay me later. Pay me later.” Now where else do you find that kind of service? I mean, really. But, like you say, I should keep these secrets inside the community.

    Jaymo: Yes. So true. Vancouver’s best kept secret that more and more are finding out about.

  13. jesse Says:

    Agree with kenady in general. Yes the horse has left the barn. There are other neighborhoods around that have potential (as long as you don’t mind waiting 20 years). Fraser between 41st and 54th is interesting. I think of Sunrise as a little bit of New West transplanted to Vancouver, just a little bit closer to downtown and a little bit pricier.

  14. kenady Says:

    Jesse: In what sense do you see Sunrise as “a little bit of New West”? I don’t know New West at all. I’m curious about the specific qualities you are referring to.

  15. jesse Says:

    My comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek but Sunrise has a decent diversity of shopping and ethnicities that New West also has. New West also has a smattering of older character houses along with a reasonable variety community facilities, like community centres, libraries, etc. The two are not interchangeable of course.

  16. babybull40 Says:

    Ahhh Sugar… How sweet…. I hope the “concrete and steel construction” can stand up to the sugary taste of the hype…I know I don’t live out there.. But I do find this all so amusing.. The marketing that goes into real estate… They paint a very pretty picture don’t they?

  17. skippy Says:

    As others have mentioned, this area is actually nicer and has far more of a community feel than some of the other mini-communities (ie Marpole) in Vancouver. It just gets a bad rap because it’s “East Hastings, OMGWTFBBQ!”

    Living in Marpole, we ended up having to park on the street as our (boring old nothing special) car was broken into twice, in a “secured” underground parking garage. When we were living in Kitsilano, our car was vandalized by drunks going home from a bar. I’m in a high-rental area of the neighbourhood (north of Hastings, west of Nanaimo), been here for a while, and haven’t had any problems. We’ll see how it goes in the long run, but so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the area.

    That said, of course the condo ad copy is ridiculous. They’re trying to sell overpriced condos in a cooling market, what do you expect?

  18. Sandman Says:

    Hastings Sunrise… I moved here two years ago. I am a total West Side girl. I found a condo for only100,000 just under 600 sq. ft. two balconies, washer dryer. it is now worth 210.00. I live just West of Nanaimo. It was a bit scary at first. But several HUGE drug busts later and more and more young hip couples moving in. A few trouble buildings that are ripe for redevelopment… good old gentrification. In my old place on 8th and Cambie they had so many cars stolen they put a bait car in it. In two years here no thefts no vandalism and no breakins. A totally ecclectic mix of people and surprisingly friendly.
    Even if I am all trendy and all the hood people still befriended me. I was nicknameed Martha Stewart. Well things just keep getting better and better in this neighbourhood. There is actually 8 or more developments schedule for the Hastings Strip… now nicknamed The Rise..and I don’t see the Sugar marketing as too far off. Have you ever noticed the BIG porn shop on West Broadway near Oak?

    It is ony 8 minutes to downtown and only one bus. Only one bus to UBC or SFU. Very central location. On top floors there are stunning viewf of the Burrard Inlet, Mountains and the City. The Rise was listed as one of the top 10 places to invest in real estate in BC.

    The old Terminal City block on Victoria & Franklin looks like it will be developed soon. There is an offer on the table for 4.5 million. Ripe for a major grocery store etc. and funky condo’s above. The hookers pretty much dissappeared along with the drugs. And WCR put in 4 million worth of pollution control they had to bow to the newbies in the neighbourhood that made a major stink of their own when they smelled the pollution. But is is gone now and young hip couples are moving in.

    The shopping on Hastings is funky and “real” in many ways what KITS used to be and no longer is. I hope it hangs onto its realness.. I think the young hip kids will help. They tend to avoid too trendy and too commercial. So I hope developers and retailers keep this in mind.

    This area has a strong history and such an ecclectic mix, italians, asians, natives etc. hardworking people with heart and happy to see the neighbourhood become vibrant again.

    That’s my take folks.


  19. condohype Says:

    Still no word from Euro-Pacific about the make of the LCD TV.

  20. Sandra Tilly Says:

    Does anyone know how much these condos at sugar were selling for?

  21. condohype Says:

    It’s been eight months since I wrote this post and the developer’s website is still a GoDaddy starter page.

  22. Erin Says:

    Well I am moving here in 8 days so I am going to look on the bright side. Besides I have lived in Vancouver my entire life and the whole city has turned to crap! Moving away from the hippie grime of Commercial Drive; where there won’t be 5 homeless jerks on my property, going through my reclycling in the middle of the night every night will be a welcome change. Getting drunken insults hurled at me for refusing to give change to the no fewer than 15 bums in front of the liquor store on the Drive will be something I won’t miss. Keeping my dog away from the lazy homeless jerkoffs’ pitbulls every 3rd or so awning is also getting old. Yaletown, where there are junkie underage boy prostitutes hanging outside my office jonesing for another bump is not exactly glamorous living either. Where SHOULD I live? Is anywhere safe and clean anymore?
    The downtown eastside is renting at between $1400-$2000

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