Archive for February, 2008

Sophia goes down

February 27, 2008


When the Eden Group of Companies said “time is running out” for their Sophia condos in Mount Pleasant, they sure weren’t kidding. If you bought pre-sale, East Van’s hottest concrete blondie just went down on you … and I don’t mean in a good way. With 85% of the building built, developer Eden pulled the plug citing cost overruns and labour shortages. At last count, 78 pre-sale buyers are now in limbo and will likely see their condos lost.

Sophia’s “Sorry, I’ll see ya”-routine isn’t the first for Eden; it wasn’t long ago that sophisticated sister Elyse pulled the same act, much to the dismay of feminists. It’s bad enough the condos failed but it really sucks that they failed and happen to be named after girls. I’m a feminist and I can tell you this doesn’t help the cause.

Whenever I’m feeling down, I look to Bob Rennie for inspiration. Turns out Bob’s got an opinion on Eden’s crush and his line of thinking might surprise you. In an interview with CTV News, Rennie tells us the “smart money” supports government intervention:

Anything the government wants to put in place to protect the [pre-sale] consumer doesn’t worry those top 15, 20 developers. If you’re getting creative with your financing, or your profit margin is too low, that developer may worry. But then again we’re protecting the consumer so let’s do it.

He may be a master of hype, but with this comment Rennie offers us a refreshing cold shower.  Cheers to you, Bob. The next latte’s on me. I am impressed.

Who let the dogs out?

February 22, 2008


The Jacobsen was one of the first puppies I had on a leash back when I started my frolic into condo-slander in early 2007. Ten months later the development’s still a dog. Man, I thought Vancouver real estate was supposed to have bite. With 15 units remaining, it’s clear this bitch is just bark. Woof.

Surrey goes Boston

February 19, 2008

The Brownstones at Morgan Heights

When I think of Surrey, I think, “You know, this place could use a little more Boston.” For a long time, I thought my dreams would never be realized, save for that Boston Pizza near the corner of Scott Road and Nordel Way. Well, thank goodness for Adera, the “pure know how” developer. Because of their greatness, a whole ‘hood of “Boston style urban homes” are coming to Surrey. They’re calling them The Brownstones at Morgan Heights.

For maximum effect, try reading the following copy with a Massachusetts accent (any trouble, just think Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting):

Imagine living in the sunniest part of the Lower Mainland, everything you need within walking distance of your home in a true urban village. Picture your new 3-bedroom home at The Brownstones: classic beauty, contemporary style customized to your preference, and Built Green using sustainable living technology.

I’m fascinated that the developer willingly compares Surrey to Boston. Lots of crime movies are set in Boston. The Departed. Mystic River. Boondock Saints.

Interesting. That’s all I’m saying.

Live the Linden lifestyle

February 13, 2008


There are some lines I won’t cross. Despite being an anonymous blogger, I have a big thing for ethics. Something from reading all the condo builder copy about “commitment to excellence” has rubbed off on me. Satire, not slander, is my motto. I like to think I dance around it pretty well. I focus on the ads rather than personalities and I leave it open to anyone to respond.

Part of being ethical also means avoiding favouritism. No special treatment because an ad was designed by a roommate, or a person I’d like to mate with. My loyalty to objectivity must be as solid as a granite countertop. To date, it has been. But today, I must confess a lapse in judgment.

For today, I am looking at a condo being co-developed by none other than the great Trevor Linden. The condo, named West, is a 19-unit “high spec” development in Point Grey.

Having Trev involved changes the game. At least my game anyway. I know what he means to this city. For me to raise any critical suggestion, to insinuate even the slightest negative remark would be an exercise in high treason. (If Bertuzzi had his own condo, well, that’s a different story.)

Sorry, folks. I won’t mess with Vancouver’s favourite son. Trev, you’re the best, buddy. You’ll get no trouble from me.

Subprime sublime

February 11, 2008

Residences at City Place, Jacksonville

I like surprises. I thought I’d never see the day when a condo hyped in the Sun/Province would be priced below $60,000. Last week, I experienced a great surprise. The shock was overwhelming. For once, a condo priced within reach. The promise of a lifestyle fantasy fulfilled. The address I’ve always wanted… in Jacksonville.

Uh, Jacksonville. What, is that in Surrey? You know, like one of those nouveau neighbourhood nicknames like Central City? Nope. Think Florida. As in Jacksonville, Florida.

So there you have it, friends — the subprime mortgage meltdown has made its way to Metro Vancouver, bringing to us a wide range of deep-discounted condo opportunities in the USA.

This ad is for the Residences at City Place in Jacksonville but it might as well be Coal Harbour. With studios sized at 450 square feet located in a convenient downtown location, is there really any difference?

I am also not easily impressed

February 6, 2008


Why do I bother with commentary? The marketers say it all. I’m unnecessary. There’s no place for me. I mean, what could I possibly contribute in the face of this:

In a city overwhelmed with choices, MOSAIC strives to build homes that surpass all others. LINKS is a showcase of our quest. Overlooking a majestic golf course, with breathtaking mountain views, we found the ideal site to build a community of two, three, and four bedroom rowhomes minutes from cafes, malls, farmers markets, mountain trails, and lakes. We have carefully considered every detail — from doorbells to closet space to rooflines to the pedestrian pathways which circle around common parks and gardens. So whether you are walking your dog or picking up your mail, you will see nature. You will be part of a vibrant village. You will feel right at home. Connected. By Design.

The script is damn near hypnotic. Reading it, I have visions of Royter hovering above me. “You WILL see nature. You WILL be part of a vibrant village. You WILL feel right at home. You WILL be paying this off for 40 years.”

More info at but be warned, if you’re looking to know where this development is, don’t bother with the website. It doesn’t tell you, and that brings about a lot of problems if the object of this ad is make me want to live (buy) at Links.

I may be mad, but there’s something to be said about dwelling on the details.

Illusion at Lumen

February 4, 2008


Concrete meets luxury to bring you “luxury concrete” at Lumen, a new condo on West 3rd near Granville Island in Vancouver.

Allow me to keep things “light” by sharing the developer’s 100W description of the place (to make this a drinking game, take a drink at each hyphenated phase):

Striking white quartz countertops, rich wood veneer cabinetry and matching paneled appliances create a seamless flow of smooth, integrated surfaces in your European-inspired kitchen run; while sexy frameless glass showers, extra-deep soaker tubs, and distinctive medicine cabinets make each luxurious Lumen bathroom a spa-like sanctuary.

European-inspired. Extra-deep. Spa-like. Wow! I just downed three shots! (Actually, I downed four. I took a bonus at the “rich wood veneer” part. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

Hey, how many condo marketers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (Again, I couldn’t help myself.)