Archive for January, 2008

There will be Beasley

January 27, 2008

The Beasley

As a young city, Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of history to work with. Or perhaps better said, Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of history that we care to think about in any serious way. The consequences that flow from this thinking range from the serious (a lack of civic engagement, general indifference to poverty, etc.) to the not-so-serious (supremely crappy condo names that wouldn’t be caught dead in an Ikea catalogue).

On the condo-name front, Vancouver’s “missing past” has left the developers and marketers to come up with their own names, often with disastrous results. Combing through a list of recent Lower Mainland condos — Pulse, Legacy, Ultra, Ginger — you get the sense that Metro Vancouver condo names are much ado about nothing. (Well, maybe almost nothing. I guess somebody could appreciate condos branded like aftershave.)

So what name does Amacon bestow on its latest Yaletown development? Turns out it isn’t Mountain Rain, Musk, or even Ocean Breeze. The Beasley is the name and the brand “pays tribute” to Larry Beasley, Vancouver’s former co-director of planning. Much of the development in the city in the last two decades was subject to Beasley’s approval and given the emergence of Vancouver as the king of condo cities, it’s fitting that LB gets a condo of his own. (And a Yaletown condo too, no doubt.)

To the developers, I say keep this up. Don’t shy away from the history of Vancouver. Spare us the neighbourhoods of towers named like nightclubs and sex toys. You can build Vancouver’s future by acknowledging Vancouver’s past. Do it for Larry. Do it for the kids.

Learning at Vista Place

January 11, 2008

Vista Place

Now here’s a funky concept in Vancouver condo marketing: The condo ad as economics lesson. Forget lifestyle marketing, what consumers need is a tutorial in supply and demand.

Take a read of this ad copy for the Vista Place condos in North Vancouver:

Now that Vista Place is nearly sold, buying here has become even more of a rare opportunity. Exceptional homes in a great North Shore neighbourhood with fabulous features. And while most things of value get more expensive as supply decreases, you can still get pre-construction pricing if you act now.

I don’t know how any sane person can read this and not think we’re at the peak of an over-inflated market.

The web copy at doesn’t follow up on the ad’s attempt at ECON 101 but it does offer a writing error worthy of ENGL 103:

Vista Place on West 13th and Chesterfield….Here’s a vibrant neighbourhood waiting to welcome you. So many fabulous places to go. Markets to shop. Boutiques to browse. Restaurant’s [sic] to meet with friends. All the urban advantages on your doorstep. Unlimited outdoor adventures in the North Shore Mountains just a short drive away.

Scratch that, that mistake is worthy of English 9. At best.

Message to the condo marketers: You wanna know what rare is? Rare is condo marketing that actually uses proper English. (Honestly, I don’t get it. How does this keep happening?)

Name your next condo “Apostrophe” and maybe we’ll forgive you.

Going coastal

January 5, 2008

Aqua at Coastal Village

Well, let’s just say I’ve been writing for a lot longer than I thought I would. By now, I figured all would’ve gone to hell and I’d be set to retire. With no hype to deflate, it was gonna be time to shut ‘er down. But here we are in 2008 and the sky has shown no limit. The market is foaming at the mouth. Prices are as high as ever. The best I can do is shake my head, browse some ads, and spew literary venom at the merchants of shoebox homes.

Focus Real Estate Marketing brings us today’s fodder — a Squamish townhouse and condo project called Aqua at Coastal Village — and it’s a beauty. There’s no picture of the building in the ad, just two white-shirted common laws lounging barefoot on a dock. I can’t blame them. Dropping $362,000 for Squamish’s “best value” doesn’t leave much budget for shoes. (Though apparently there’s money for Lululemon; click the amenities link on the project website for a view of a lifestyle-living fashionista locked in the downward dog.)

I want my market crash. Now.