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Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
05-10-2013, 01:14 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-11-2013, 11:53 AM by Skook.)
#1
Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
The Watermark at Sechelt is the new condo development that grabbed the last remaining waterfront land in the core of Sechelt and is now laughing all the way to…Lund!! Yep, ‘laughing to Lund’ but not to the bank based on unit sales so far.

I first introduced this development in a March post and after a recent discovery I thought it deserved the ‘Skook Treatment’. I am not impressed with this project. I think this will be Sechelt’s mini-Coal Harbour if and when they manage to sell all the units which I don’t think will happen anytime soon. I bet any of those who buy in will visit maybe three months of the year tops and the rest of the year vacant units will be enjoying that waterfront view.

The development of this land was contentious with the townsfolk because of the waterfront and it languished for years. I believe the property has traded hands at least once and the current developer is Seacliff Properties Ltd, a subsidiary of Seacliff Holdings Ltd - a private company owned by the Gordon family of Vancouver. This present project was contentious, too, because of its height - 6 stories. However, the development of the land and the project eventually passed Sechelt Council and as one local, Kenneth McMillan, wrote, “the town…turned its back on the ocean, one of its finest assets.”

This ‘turning its back on the ocean’ is compounded by a design element of this project that absolutely appalls me and why Sechelt Council passed this boggles my mind. This development comprises two six stories buildings (5665 & 5725 Toredo St) that are mirror images of each other. I have indicated on the map below their locations with an ‘X’ - 5665 is closest to Inlet Ave. The first level of each building will be commercial space and good luck to any business locating here because except for those willing to pay premium prices for the few spaces facing the ocean and a couple facing Toredo most of the commercial space will be closed off from the outdoors as the design encases that level one space between the two buildings completely in concrete. The resulting Toredo streetscape can be seen in the two pictures below in the last row - brilliant, absolutely, fabs-ulously brilliant.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=144]

I can only think of one reason for this design - to maximize the commercial space and, personally, I think this proffering of a concrete ass-end towards the town and those who live there adds insult to injury. By the way, most of Sechelt’s current ‘downtown’ businesses are found within that blue outlined area and, personally, I would rather walk down a street than visit shops housed in a concrete bunker. The nearby Trail Bay Centre shopping mall has attempted to compensate its lack of streetscape with huge skylights letting in daylight, but I see nothing similar on Watermark’s plans.

In my opinion, had the developer shown any vision, he would have kept the space open at sea-level and turned it into a European-style plaza available to one and all. Shops, restaurants or cafés could have lined the plaza on both sides and those tables with umbrellas pictured above would have faced the ocean and not a concrete wall and highway traffic on Toredo (seriously?!)

I would love to know how many commercial spaces there are and how many have been leased to date. If the units sold give any indication, then not many. As I mentioned in another post, demographics are wrecking havoc on SC businesses. Aging boomers watching their pennies haven’t many needs and part-time residents don’t buy when they aren’t around 9 months of the year. This should be interesting.

Now, about those unit sales. When I first mentioned this project back in March I said the Watermark website indicated that Phase 1 (5665) was 50% sold and Phase 2 (5725) was 31% sold. However, last week I decided to see how the project was doing and when I looked at the MLS information the 'sold' figures didn’t jive. This discrepancy made me think of a post by Whispers, ‘What does “Sold Out” mean? Watermark wasn’t indicating it was “Sold Out”, but it was showing more units sold than what MLS was indicating and so I decided to take a closer look at the project. By the way, the marketing firm mentioned in Whispers’ post responded and said, “Sold” means a firm and binding contract with received deposit.” If this were so in Watermark’s case, why wasn’t it a closed deal and the info passed onto MLS? Sold is sold, right?

So, I have created s spreadsheet and on the left side is the info for Phase 1 and on the right for Phase 2. Each has a column showing the units Watermark indicates as sold on its website floorplans (*Wmk 'Sales' via FlrPlns (May 10/13)) and I’ve highlighted these in gold. The other columns show MLS sales and listing info. The spreadsheet indicates that prices for the units have increased for Phase 2. Now, when comparing unit prices you need to note there are some odd shaped units on floors 2, 3 and 4 and also that the buildings are ‘mirror-images’ of each other. The small table above the spreadsheet shows how those particular units relate to each other between buildings; the remaining units can be thought of as identical between Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Note: In spreadsheet, L=Listed, S=Sold.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=145]

It will be interesting to follow this development and see if any of those units indicated as “Sold” but have no corresponding “MLS Sold” information end up being listed in the future. So, bearing in mind that there are 52 units in each building, the MLS information indicates that 35% of Phase 1 has sold and not 50%; and, 29% of Phase 2 has sold and not 31%. As Watermark's website shows, the buildings are still under construction, so I am sure the developer is hoping and praying that sells pick up when Phase 1 is complete - because they sure stink now.

Those sales have languished despite some serious money poured into marketing. The developer hired North Vancouver based Pacesetter Sales & Marketing Strategies and the company has produced two marketing “magazines” for Watermark with one released for Spring/Summer 2012 and the other for Spring/Summer 2013. They’re interesting to look at because they blur that line between what is ‘news’ and what is ‘advertising/marketing’ - another issue raised by the Whispers blog. I laughed out loud when I looked at those ‘mags’ because both make a point of stressing how close St. Mary’s hospital is to Watermark. In fact, in the 2013 edition, the ‘article’ was moved right to the front - flip the cover and there it is. Well, we can guess who their primary target market is, can’t we. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Finally, there is a picture related to this development on Duane Burnett’s blog - he has been the ‘go-to’ photographer for the Coast Reporter newspaper for a number of years. I pulled that McMillan quote from the Comments section in that post. Scroll down for a funny pic following the story and keep scrolling for those interesting local comments.

May 11, 2013 Update:

There is something that has caught my eye which prompts me to add to this post.

When you start getting creative with your building design such as this one which is trying to give as many units as possible an oceanview if only via balconies you have to twist the units around a central axis. As a result, something has to give and in this design it is windows. Now, most of us would accept windowless bathrooms, but would you accept windowless bedrooms - especially at these prices? Now, with some of these units not only do they have a second bedroom with no windows but also an office or den. Therefore, when you add in all the windowless bathrooms, buyers are being asked to pay big bucks for up to 3 or 4 rooms with no windows.

For example:

Type B floorplan (Ph 1 & 2 units 210, 211, 310, 311, 408, 409): windowless bathrooms (2). bedroom (1).

Type D floorplan (Ph 1 & 2 units 206,207,306, 307, 404, 405): windowless bathrooms (2), bedroom (1), Den (1)

Type E foorplan (Ph 1 & 2 units 204, 205, 207, 305, 402, 403): windowless bathrooms (2). bedroom (1), Den (1)

Other units with windowless 2nd bedrooms: 502, 503, 506, 507, 602, 603.

Now, this is what has caught my eye - if you look at the spreadsheet how many of these units listed here have sold? I think I have just doubled the interest factor on this development. I can hardly wait for the months to unfold on this one.

One more thing; yep, there is always one more thing. I visited the architectural firm's website last night (http://www.trbarchitecture.ca/) and here is what they have to say about their Watermark design:

Quote:This luxury mixed-use, multi-family residential project is built on the last remaining waterfront property in Sechelt. The project is comprised of 104 residential units in two, five-storey towers set on a ground floor retail/parkade podium with a landscaped plaza and waterfront bistro. The overall form gives a subtle nod to ubiquitous west coast, post and beam construction and the material palette is inspired by the beaches of Sechelt. The north elevation creates a dynamic urban street edge, invigorating the downtown area.

So, now I understand why in the Realtor listings they say there is just under 7,000 s.f. of commercial space which didn't make sense to me; so, most of the concrete bunker (sorry, podium) will be a tenant parkade and the need for that didn't cross my mind. Of course, being that close to the shore they couldn't sink a parkade below sea level unless the developer was willing to accept a substantial engineering bill. So, Toredo St. gets its concrete wall though the designer tries to pretty it up by saying it "creates a dynamic urban street edge, invigorating the downtown area." Nice try, but you are full of it.


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06-08-2013, 12:14 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-09-2013, 06:47 PM by Skook.)
#2
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
June 8, 2013 Update:

A great deal of interest has been shown in Watermark, so I thought I would check to see if any updates were needed on the spreadsheet (besides correcting my spelling of Teredo St). Well, there are four changes of note: Phase 2, Unit 202 did sell on May 2, 2013 and went for asking at $649,900; Phase 2, Unit 310 was added to MLS on May 31, 2013 - list price is $345,900 (Note: buying same unit in Phase 1 will save you $6,000); Phase 1, Unit 212 which had previously been indicated as ‘Sold’ on the Watermark website floorplan is now available for purchase as is Phase 2, Unit 309 which, likewise, had been indicated as ‘Sold’ on the floorplan. The updated spreadsheet follows at the end of this post.

Overall, sales are fairly slow for Watermark, but it is still under construction so there is hope for a turn around when Phase 1 is completed. Since this project is a reality and since pundits say a ‘sold out’ project will be a fabs-ulous benefit to the community, I thought I might try spurring sales by imagining I have buckets of bucks to blow and ‘buying’ a unit. So, I snagged the current floorplans and prepared the image below to give me an idea of what is available.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=201]

As you can see, all the really, really pricey units facing the ‘Pebble Beach and Ocean’ in the south are gone except for Phase 2, Units 500 & 501, but those units don’t interest me and besides my imagining (the buckets) has its limits. Where I think Watermark needs help is with those units in the middle of both buildings - those with the ‘D’ & ‘E’ floorplans. I have created a montage below that should help me in my decision making process.

I have three important criteria that must be met before I buy, and all resulting from those 12 years living north of Pender Harbour:
  • Sun - noting that its height above the horizon is different in summer and winter.
  • Wind - noting that its direction likewise is different between summer and winter.
  • Topography - will the sun be blocked at any point during the day particularly in winter and how will it influence the wind.
And, this being Watermark, I have to include:
  • Oceanview - after all, this is what is giving this development its cachet and does influence the price.
Now, what has struck me as very odd is that most ‘Sales’ of these middle building units are occurring on the inner plaza side of both buildings. My montage may help to explain why I am so puzzled.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=202]

I have taken a Plan E from Phase 1 and rotated it to mirror its alignment in the building. It being an interior unit means all daylight into the unit will only come from one direction (this is one of those units I mentioned previously that has no windows in the second bedroom, den, and main bathroom and the ensuite will only see daylight if you keep both sets of sliding doors open).

The April 11th construction pic shows that no sun enters the plaza side Phase 1 (Tower A) units in the morning and the May 16th pic shows what you can expect from noon until the sun is blocked by Tower B as it journeys west which will likely only be a significant issue in winter when the days are shorter and the sun is lower on the horizon.

As for the ocean view, the only way to see it from these plaza side units is to go out on those 98 SF balconies or stand at the doors that lead to the balcony.

As for wind, during the day in summer it comes from the west and usually kicks in around noon and can be glorious so you would want to open whatever windows or doors you have along that side; but, I can only see the west side of Tower B and possibly the west side of Tower A benefitting.

In winter, the winds shift and November and December are the months for those brutal southeasterly storms; however, they have been known to arrive as early as mid-October and linger on into January. Watermark will feel the full brunt of the winds and driving rain being exposed as it is to the south. You won’t be standing out on the balconies on the eastern side of the towers unless you’re fully decked out in Helly Hansen gear; however, on the western sides, guests or residents might be able to stand behind that wall projection if they need a smoke.

What about that ocean view in winter, then? I thought that owners on the east side of Tower A and the west side of Tower B might be able to sit at their livingroom window and view it from there, but in the plan it looks like the fireplace in located below that window and there is also that interior pillar in the way; however, since that one side of the balcony is glass, you could rotate the sofa and look out through that one set of balcony doors. Well, where there’s a will there is a way.

I will leave you to further analyze that montage so that you can decide where you would buy. As for me, I know where I will blow my buckets of bucks. I am buying on the west side of Tower B, 5725 Teredo St. (Phase 2). In my opinion, it offers the potential for most daylight especially in winter; is in direct line to those wonderful, west summer winds; maybe affords some protection from the winter southeasterlies if only behind the wall projection; and in winter, the ocean can be viewed through the balcony doors and there might be room for a chair on the other side of the fireplace.

Do I have enough money in my buckets? Tower B (Phase 2), Unit 205 (Plan E on plaza side) was purchased on January 18th this year for $479,900 and directly above it, Unit 305 (Plan E) was listed on May 6th for $474,900. I don’t know what accounts for the 5-thousand dollar price difference since they both are 1169 SF inside with a 98 SF balcony. Upgrades, I guess. Well, bummer, there are no west side Phase 2 units listed so I don’t know if that side is more expensive then the Plaza side. Well, I think I can safely assume the price will be just south of half a million.

So, if I had the money would I buy and move in? Nope, even if it is only a hop, skip and a jump from St. Mary’s Hospital as the website and marketing material strongly promote. I’m one who needs daylight and lots of it particularly in winter. These units are for the photophobic or those maybe planning not to hang around 8 months of the year; so, if you are the former grab one of those plaza side units or one facing Teredo St (Teredo is cheaper at $284,900 to $345,900) and if the latter applies, I strongly recommend the west side of Phase 2, 5725 Teredo - that’s where I’m ‘investing’ my imaginary buckets of bucks.

Here’s the updated spreadsheet.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=203]


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06-14-2013, 07:41 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-17-2013, 07:41 PM by Skook.)
#3
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
June 14, 2013:

I finally found a few minutes today to glance through June's edition of the Sunshine Coast Real Estate Guide and I came across this ad in Bob Michor's section. Michor works out of RE/MAX Top Performers Realty in Gibsons.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=218]

This is another one of those units at Watermark that has been indicated as "Sold" on its website floorplan, but there was no corresponding MLS info. Now, what is odd about this listing is that Watermark still indicates this unit as 'Sold' on the web. As well, this unit is not appearing in Michor's website listings which could mean it is exclusive to Michor. As well, Royal Lepage seems to be the go to agency for Watermark. So...

I wonder who is putting it up for sale? Curiouser and curiouser.

June 17, 2013:

Mea culpa. I go back into my posts to re-read what I have written sometimes days later and often something will jump out at me that I may have missed or an error I may have made. In this case, I missed a piece of information in Michor's ad despite having read it - guess I clued out while reading all the 'watcha gonna get' stuff, and sailed past that sentence on the second row from the bottom that says, "This is an assignment of contract". This explains why the developer has not removed the "Sold" from the floorplan on the website. The developer is not trying to sell it because as far as he is concerned it is sold; rather it is the buyer who signed the contract who has placed it with Michor. This also explains why the unit is not listed on MLS. So, for whatever reason, the buyer wants out of the contract and at the same time doesn't want to lose money so the ad price is more than likely the purchase price. Since this is in Phase 1 which should be completed before the end of summer, the seller may get lucky as that is one of the high demand units at the front. A good explanation of 'Assignment of contract' can be found here.

*********************

Spreadsheet update:
Unit 310, Phase 2, 5725 Teredo St - Sold for list price - $345,900 (06/12/13)
Unit 605, Phase 2, 5725 Teredo St - added to MLS (06/07/13) - List price $684,900


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07-13-2013, 06:18 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-13-2013, 06:44 AM by Skook.)
#4
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
July 13, 2013 Update:

Awesome new construction pics for June and July were recently added to the Watermark website and it’s great to get an idea of how the buildings are progressing. Particularly appreciated are two aerial shots included in the July update. Watermark should be applauded for offering this perspective of how dramatically the waterfront has changed in the heart of the town and how their development contributes to the change. If a ‘better Sechelt’ is measured by square metres of poured concrete, then those behind the ‘FABS’ (For a Better Sechelt) movement formed during the last municipal election should be thrilled.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=285]

At the top of the picture on the left, you can see the Trail Bay Mall owned by the Clayton family and in the right hand pic to the left of Phase 2 you can see where the trees were cut down by the municipality to create the parking lot for Watermark’s construction crew. I mentioned in an earlier post that Sechelt photographer and all-round ‘bon vivant’ Duane Burnett was speculating in this post on his blog that the parking lot may be the future home of an Esso gas station and Tim Horton’s once construction is complete. Well, from events that I have been reading about lately via the Vancouver Sun, I think that would be a terrible waste of potential revenue producing land and I hope to pen a post offering my opinion on what may be (it could be in the works already) or should be placed there if Sechelt hopes to drag itself out of the mess it now finds itself in.

I know for many the pictures above will be shock. However, in all honesty, I believe Watermark deserves some slack here. You need to approach this as you would a ‘clear cut’; yes, those buildings look like a matching pair of carbuncles but once phase 2 is complete and the garden is planted on top of the semi-underground concrete parking bunker between the buildings, and since the architect did choose a “material palette…inspired by the Sechelt beach” in ten years when it all has had time to green up and flesh out you likely won’t even know those buildings are there. Yep, I predict they’ll both just blend right in with that pebble beach.

When I was looking at earlier construction pics that showed the beach front view of Phase 1 as it was taking shape, I had the nagging feeling I was looking at something familiar - something I had seen before, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. However, with these latest construction pics that showed the glass windows in and the concrete painted white, the light bulb came on…

[Image: attachment.php?aid=286]

The architect says, “The overall form gives a subtle nod to ubiquitous west coast post and beam construction…” That may be so, but there is also nothing more ubiquitous than a BC Ferry plying the waters off the west coast. Perhaps the image of that ferry bow seeped into the architect’s subconscious only to take form in Watermark’s architectural drawings - either that or it was a cruise ship; both, of course, would be most appropriate for two buildings on a pebble beach looking out to sea.

The cruise ship influence might be a more apropos since in June’s construction pics we actually get to go inside the unit chosen for the Watermark 'Display Suite' - enabling us to see in reality what a floorplan only hints at. Along with those aerial shots, I am grateful for these pics, too, because it made me realize I am not very good at visualizing floorplans as I tend to interpret the units as more ‘spacious’ than they actually are.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=287]

The unit Watermark chose for its Display Suite is a Type D floorplan and it’s on the left above. Now, from the view out the livingroom window, I figure it is on the second level of Phase 1, 5665 Teredo Street, and it’s Unit 206 because a) it is unsold and b) you can see a hydro pole in the distance through the window. If you go back to the aerial shot on the right above, there is no hydro pole on the right side of building (Inlet Ave) but you can see one on Teredo St in the distance near the corner towards the mall. The view surprised me because it meant that the building’s angle is greater than what I imagined. This definitely reinforces the thought that an oceanview from those units facing the inner plaza is impossible except if you stand or sit by the balcony door or actually go out on the balcony.

So, this is what a livingroom plan that is 12’6” at its widest point gives you to work with in terms of space and it will be a bit narrower by the window as the wall angles in. Except in the master bedroom, that livingroom corner is the sole source of natural light for the rest of the unit - the 9’ x 9’ kitchen and 2nd bedroom via the opaque panel above the kitchen cupboards. I wondered about those marks on the wall separating the kitchen and second bedroom in the floorplan and thought they might be three small dormer windows to let in some light but it’s a long milky coloured panel and I wonder how this appears in the bedroom. That second bedroom is at 9’2” x 8’7” and the den at 9’6” x 9’9” and I thought you could switch around the 2nd bedroom and den for more bedroom space but then you would lose that little bit of natural light coming in via the panel.

I for one am all for the move to smaller living spaces and I am in good company given the rising popularity of laneway houses in Vancouver. Why anyone would want a bathroom big enough to service a sports team all at once or a bedroom that would double as a ballroom is beyond me. When I was on the SC, two of us lived quite comfortably in a home smaller than this unit’s 1126 sf. Mind you, the house was more of an open-plan square and we had two 6’ x 4' picture windows and balcony sliding doors all facing that cherished southern exposure that is especially welcomed in winter.

And, our smaller home didn’t carry a $439,900 price tag like Unit 206 at 5665 Teredo St, Sechelt and I believe the laneway houses in Vancouver are cheaper, too. But, as Watermark’s own website points out there are just so many pluses included in that price that we didn’t get living in our wee house up in Pender; such as: being close to the SC’s new source of organic caviar, being close to a newly expanded St. Mary’s hospital, being next to a pebble beach in the heart of Sechelt within walking distance of all the shops (but there may be a lot less soon if all the ones listed for sale don’t find buyers - and there is a bundle - or are they all moving over to Watermark?); and, there is so much less to worry about with a unit at Watermark such as “exterior caulking and painting”, “survey cost due to lot line dispute”, and “snow removal, salting & sanding” (actually, Watermark, if you wait it usually rains the next day and you won’t have to worry about it either - but, it’s good to know). You can finish reading all the advantages to Watermark condo ownership vs home/cottage ownership in their .pdf doc.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=288]

I must confess I do like the exterior brick cladding (definitely beachy) and the wide inlaid sidewalks (should be a hit with longboarders, too), but another stop light along the highway route sure is disappointing to see. So, the soon-to-be-finished development doesn’t quite have the serene, tranquil, medical office complex appearance of the artist rendering and, in fact, is beginning to look like something you would find along West Broadway in Vancouver; but, doesn’t this mean Sechelt has come of age and for many now calling the coast home that is absolutely, unequivocally, stupendously, fabs-ulous!!

You hang in there Watermark for your supporters and prove all the naysayers wrong. You’ve said it, yourself, that “The project sets a new standard for Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast…” Here’s hoping that June write-up in the Vancouver Sun, ‘Watermark Offers Concrete Value in Sechelt’ (great pun) that I just quoted you from spurs those summer sales.

******************************

Spreadsheet update:

#501 - 5725 Teredo St (Phase 2) sold for asking $949,900
#403 - 5725 Teredo St (Phase 2) removed from MLS listing

Correction:
#305 - 5725 Teredo St (Phase 2) was listed on 05/06/13 and not in 2010.


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09-06-2013, 06:12 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-06-2013, 06:16 PM by Skook.)
#5
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
September 6, 2013 Update

It’s time for an end of summer update on the developments I have profiled to date. So, let’s begin with the ‘Watermark at Sechelt’.

Do you mean the pricey new 104 unit, 2 building condo complex with the dog kennels on the half-underground parking level that looks out to sea by the pebble beach from the last open waterfront space in the centre of Sechelt so very near to the recently expanded St. Mary’s Hospital that pushes the local caviar on its website? Yep, that’s the one.

Well, guess what? We have the first two unit flips - units 400 and 401 at 5665 Teredo St which is the now newly completed Phase 1. I know it is now open for business because the owner of Unit 400 tried to back out of the purchase by listing the unit in June as an “Assignment of Contract” sale with SC Realtor Bob Michor (see ad in post above). So, the fact it is now on the MLS means only one thing - the balance owing has been paid and the unit is his/hers or theirs lock, stock and barrel.

Had someone bought that “Assignment of Contract”, they would have got the unit for $799,000; now, it can be had for $839,900 meaning the owner decided “what the hell” and matched Unit 401’s list price. Unit 401 went on the market August 1st and Unit 400 joined it on August 28th.

If these owners manage to sell these waterfront units, there’s an added bonus - they get a visit from the tax man. Vancouver blogger, Whispers from the Edge of the Rainforest, had an interesting post back on Aug. 29th informing us that Canada Revenue Agency is tracking down condo flippers in both Toronto and Vancouver (don’t forget the Sunshine Coast is a REBGV member!). Whispers wrote,

Quote:Seems that anyone who bought a condo unit pre-construction, then sold for a profit without actually moving in, is liable for capital gains tax, and must also repay the GST/HST refund that residents receive.

Whispers quoted from and linked to a news article that appeared in the Toronto Star, Tax auditors target condo sellers in hunt for ‘flippers’ (I recommend reading this article - it’s very interesting.)

Quote:Folks who’ve sold condos or houses less than a year after taking possession seem to be the prime focus of CRA auditors so far, but tax lawyers are advising clients they could be at risk of a tax bill for at least 50 per cent of any gains made if they’ve sold before living in the property 18 months to two years.

So, let’s see…Unit 401 was purchased outright back in 2011 for $740,905 (likely includes the 5% presale discount offered at the time) and it’s listed now at $839,900. If it sells at list, that is nearly a $100,000 gain and if the taxman wants 50% plus any tax owed…hmm, want do you think? Has this been good return on investment?

******************************

In addition to these flips, I stumbled onto this yesterday on a SC Property Management website.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=387]

Now, I wonder who wants to rent out Condos (note it is plural) that have balconies with or without Ocean Views? Could it be another investor perhaps who bought more than one unit? Like maybe a Realtor who ‘bought in’ hoping to make a little profit from a hot, new development? Could it be the developer, who has a finished building with only just a tad over half the units sold?

It just so happens there’s another owner who wants to rent their unit, too. I stumbled onto this Holywell Properties website notice (another local Property Management company) back on Aug. 21st only at that time the unit was listed at $1250/mth but yesterday when I checked the rent had been reduced - nice big banner announcing the fact. No doubt, the drop was due to Malaspina’s rental listing appearing on the scene. Unit 410 faces Teredo St and definitely has no oceanview.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=388]

Good luck, guys because you are going to need it. Who would want to rent these units when you can rent a whole oceanview townhouse at the Wakefield for a few sous more. Heck, you can find detached houses with oceanviews in that range. And, more and more owners up and down the SC will be looking in every nook and cranny and under every rock trying to find the rare, elusive renter because they haven’t be able to sell their ‘investments’ and need someone in it or the insurance jumps.

So, here’s the updated Watermark spreadsheet. Anything in blue was added since I last offered updated information.

‘OL’ represents ‘Owner List’.
‘L’ is ‘Developer’s List’

The gold boxes were the units declared ‘sold’ by the developer on the Watermark website way back when I started this thread. The ‘green’ box initially was indicated as sold on the website floorplan but then that ‘sold’ notice disappeared. The boxes with the asterisk (*) had no corresponding MLS ‘Sold’ info and thus were likely ‘Contracts to Purchase’ and would now be paid-in-full with Phase 1 declared ready for occupation - probably happened just around the time the rains returned, too.

So, the developer indicated 25 units in Phase 1 (5665 Teredo) had presold and since 2011 only 3 more units have sold for a total of 28 or 54% of the units available (out of 52). With Phase II (5725 Teredo St), there were 15 presales in 2012 and 12 confirmed sales to date in 2013 for a total of 27 or (52%) of units available (out of 52).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=389]

I said in an earlier post that I thought Watermark would be Sechelt’s Coal Harbour; and, after seeing these rental listings and the number of units still unsold, I think I might be right.


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09-15-2013, 02:02 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-18-2013, 03:35 PM by Skook.)
#6
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
A few days after posting my latest update above, I went back to visit the Malaspina Property Management site. I was still trying to determine if it was only one unit for rent or multiple. For some reason, I decided to click on a pic and when it opened the unit # was on the browser tab. So, the pictures, anyway, are for Unit #406 in the new completed Phase 1 - 5665 Teredo St and here is the floorplan with some of those rent listing pics. Quite a dinky little livingroom area, eh. Now, what was the purchase price of that unit? Oh, right, in 2011 the owner paid $389,405 (got the 5% early bird discount). However, the same floorplan in Phase 2, was purchased in Nov 2012 for $429,900 - well done, I am so proud of you! Boy, those townhomes at Edgewater at Porpoise Bay are starting to look like a real bargain.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=419]

I have just this minute checked the Malaspina website to see if the ad is still there. It is and would you look at that...the rental price has dropped on the low end and risen on the high end...LOL...just can't keep up with all this silliness. So, when I posted on the 6th, the rent listed was $1,250-$1,300 and now it is $1,150 - $1,500. There has to be more than one unit involved here. You think?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=420]

Now, I better run over to Holywell and double check their ad. Whew, still there and still at that reduced price of $1,050/mth. Tongue

Update: oops, me bad - didn't read the ad with both eyes open. Yep, at least two units involved here with Malaspina. The ad says one bedroom and three bedroom, now. So, #406 has the one bedroom and the three bedroom can only be one of the big, pricey units facing the ocean - ew, la, la. Someone dropped some serious coin here.

Sept 18, 2013 Update:

Another change to the number of units now for rent at Watermark. There are now 2 - one bedroom units available joining that 3 bedroom waterfront facing unit.

As well, the low end of the rental price range has dropped again. It is now $1100 - $1500/mth.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=429]

Way to go, Watermark, you're definitely on your way to becoming Sechelt's Coal Harbour - units sold but nobody home. Whoever will be opening that café-bistro might as well hold off until next summer (2014) otherwise it will be as dead as a doornail over winter.


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10-09-2013, 07:31 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-09-2013, 08:02 AM by Skook.)
#7
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
October 9, 2013 Update:

Well, my golly gosh - Watermark has a third owner flip at its newly completed Phase 1 full concrete constructed condo complex by the pebble beach on the waterfront in the heart of Sechelt that’s oh so close to St. Mary’s hospital. Yep, and this flip is a doozy so the listing deserves to be seen in all its glory.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=483]

Units 600 & 601 in Phase 1 & Phase 2 are the largest and priciest of the units directly facing the water. This unit was purchased in September, 2012 at the developer’s asking price of $1,099,000 so that new list price is a 43.3% increase. Is the owner crazy?? Not if he’s Canadian and wants to recoup his purchase price because when he sells Canada Revenue Agency will be knock, knock, knocking on his door with a hand held out in plain view (details are in this Toronto Star August 29th business report piece). Here’s wishing this owner all the best with the flip.

In other news, there have been no unit sells since mid-August. The developer has added three more units to the MLS listings. Unit 305 ($454,900) and Unit 405 ($468,900) at 5665 Teredo St (Ph 1) and Unit 304 ($464,900) at 5725 Teredo St - the still to be completed Ph 2.

Unit 410 appears to have been rented as its advert disappeared from the Holywell website on September 24th - it was available for $1050/mth. That should help the owner towards meeting those monthly mortgage payments. The Malaspina rental ad remains unchanged since the September 18th update above.


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10-18-2013, 10:02 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-18-2013, 10:04 AM by Skook.)
#8
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
October 18, 2013 Update:

Congratulations are in order to ‘Watermark at Sechelt’ as this month it has sold two units in its recently completed (August) Phase 1 building at 5665 Teredo St. Yes, these sales are long overdue when you consider that nothing has moved in the building since September 27, 2012. So, units 305 and 405 can now be crossed off.

But, you know how life is - two steps forward and one step back. Alas, another owner wants to flip. Unit 308 which sold June 30, 2011 for $375,155 (received the 5% early bird discount) was listed this past October 11th for $429,900 - a price increase of 14.6%. There are now four condo units in Phase 1 up for resale.

There is something odd, though, about Unit 308. If you look at my spreadsheet above, you will notice that despite it selling in June, 2011 the developer’s website did not indicate this unit as “Sold” on the Phase 1 floorplan (hence no gold bar in the first column). This can be verified with the series of floorplan images in the June 28, 2013 post. It still is not indicated as “Sold” on the website and you can verify this yourself by clicking here, clicking on Phase 1 and clicking on 3rd floor. It is as the individual handling the website knew that this unit was going to be put on the market so why bother indicating it as sold.

So, this raises three questions you can ponder:

-Why was a unit that sold outright on June 30, 2011 never indicated as “Sold” on the floorplan?
-Who actually purchased this unit?
-Why is it being listed now?

Another piece of disappointing news for the developer is that the sell of Unit 305 at 5725 Teredo St (Phase 2) has fallen through. The Unit was listed as “sold” on July 20, 2013 at asking; however, on October 16th the unit was put back on the market under its original MLS# V1006447. Perhaps the buyer was unable to procure financing under the new rules.

It’s time for an new spreadsheet posting and, again, here is how it has been set up. It is divided into two sections to indicate Phase 1 and Phase 2. The 'gold' bars in the first columns of each section are those units indicated as “Sold” on the developer’s website when I first looked at the project back in May. I then added the MLS “Sold” info for those units. Those “Sold” units without MLS info would be ones where the buyer signed an ‘contract to purchase’ only with a deposit. The 'green' bars were units indicated as “sold” on the floorplan but then the “sold” indicator was removed. Any new information since the last time I posted the spreadsheet is indicated in blue. Owner resales are indicated in dark orange. Unit 410 in Phase 1 was listed for rent and as I indicated in posts above it appears to have been rented out and other units are likewise listing for rent on the Malaspina Property Management website.

In my September 26th post, I calculated the percentage for units sold in each phase and I erred with my Phase 1 calculation by counting the units sold in 2012 twice -oops - so it, in fact, it wasn’t so rosy a picture at that time. Here is how it stands now:

Phase 1: 27 units sold out of 52 = 52%. Current Owner resales listed = 4.
Phase 2: 27 units sold out of 52 = 52%.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=494]


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11-29-2013, 05:43 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2013, 06:01 PM by Skook.)
#9
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
A Watermark Mystery - The Case of the Vanishing Sales

These past six months I’ve noticed something unusual and the only conclusion I reach is that there is a strange virus affecting new condo complexes in Sechelt. It appears the immediate effect of this virus is that a unit will manifest itself as “sold” only to see that sale reversed 1 to 4 months later - perhaps after the virus runs its course.

I first noticed and posted about this “symptom” on October 29th when commercial Unit 106 at The Wharf Place was “sold” and then “not sold” for the second time. I thought this was perhaps unique to The Wharf Place given its sad state of affairs with regards to sales; however, events at Watermark prove this isn’t so.

At Watermark, there have been three definite instances of the virus with the first occurring in June and the most recent in October. Here were the units affected:
  • #310 - 5725 Teredo. “Sold” June 12th @ $345,900. Back on market with original listing # V1010359 on Nov 2nd
  • #305 - 5725 Teredo. “Sold” July 20th @ $474,900. Back on market with original listing # V1006447 on Oct 16th
  • #400 - 5665 Teredo. “Sold” October 23rd @ $800,000. Back on market with original listing # V1023854 on Nov 9th
That last virus infection, #400, has to be a real “bummer” since this was a unit resale. Yep, any celebrating was for naught; however, there is an upside as the failed flip means Canada Revenue Agency won’t be knocking on the seller’s door this year.

Now, in all seriousness, you have to ask yourself, “What is happening here?” I suppose there could be any number of reasons like the sale was contingent on the selling of an already owned SC rec property which these days would be next to impossible. Or, the buyer hoped to arrange a HELOC to cover the purchase but the terms proved too onerous. It definitely would be interesting to find out what happened in these three failed sales.

******************************

During the last week of October, there was a new listing put up for the Watermark and this was an interesting one - it was for one of the three live-work studios included in this complex. Now, I knew from earlier research that these existed but as luck would have it all are on the ground level and there is no ground level plan on the Watermark website.

I noticed the listing on October 29th (went up on MLS on October 26th) and it sold on November 6th. It's cached listing is below.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=565]

The description is rather short on details:

Quote:Concrete six storey Watermark features 104 luxury suites, cafe bistro & commercial space. This Live/Work studio is located on street level just across from the Shops and Services of downtown Sechelt. A short ferry ride from West Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast makes for access easy.

I think the listing was only a formality for the Realtor to get his commission as he likely had a buyer already lined up and committed. So this live-work studio has no bedroom and only 1 bathroom. It’s 1037sf and the maintenance fee is $189.42 and it sold for $310,000.

Now, this Unit is in Phase 2, 5725 Teredo and given what I have seen from the construction pics the first thing that crossed my mind was, “How much natural light enters this unit?” I just pulled a new pic from the Watermark website and it is directly below. It shows the completed landscaping and side of Phase 1 facing Inlet Ave - nope, no ground floor windows here. The next two pics show that a studio unit in the inner side of either building can’t have any windows because of the concrete parking bunker. So, if they don’t face Teredo St then perhaps these units are all located on the far side (west) of Phase 2 and there are no pics showing that side. Maybe if located there each studio unit would have a separate entrance. Hmm, still don’t think they will have many if any windows, though. Oh, another darn mystery.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=566]

I thought I would include a new construction pic directly above. Yes, I think a fog horn, smoke stack and rotating radar antenna would finish it off quite nicely - see my July 13th post.

******************************

I just did a search on Google to see if I might have missed anything on these live-work studios (haven’t) and darn if I didn’t stumble on this Kijiji Ad posted by Realtor John McKenzie on November 13th.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=567]

Is it me or does anyone else find the posting of this commercial unit on Kijiji weird? The first time I saw SC homes valued into the millions on Kijiji I thought, “Seriously? You must be kidding me.” I just can’t image anyone who could afford a home valued at $3mill and above looking on Kijiji; but, if the purpose is to reach other Realtors who are on the hunt for clients...okay, I guess that works.

The same goes for this Watermark commercial space. Let’s see what did the developer say about Watermark? Oh yes, “The project sets a new standard for Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast…” and, therefore, I will list my commercial units on Kijiji. Go figure.

Now, if I were looking for commercial/retail space to purchase I might try ICX, CLSLink, NAICommercial, Colliers International, CBRE and I would check out Western Investor’s digital edition. So, I have checked all these sites to see if there is any mention of commercial space at Watermark in Sechelt - nada, zip, zero. However, when you think about it Watermark marketing began back in 2011 so if this commercial unit hasn’t sold by now I guess the Realtor will try to snag some local interest any way he can.

Now, look at the ad again and check the “crumb line” to see where he placed the notice on Kijiji. It’s under Sunshine Coast > real estate > other. Now, check out the Kijiji real estate categories to the right. If you were interested in retail space which IMO falls under “commercial”, isn’t that where you would look? All well, I just don’t think like a Realtor.

So, the shouting aside, here are the Kijiji ad details for this Watermark commercial unit:
  • Prime highway frontage in the heart of Sechelt in a concrete waterfront building.
  • Total of 104 residential residences.
  • 5 star location - great investment or holding property.
  • 1582 sq ft - Unit #101 - 5665 Teredo Street, Sechelt - Strata Lot 53 - $479,900.
  • Contact john Mckenzie, Royal Lepage Sunshine Coast at 604.740.1304.
Who would that ad appeal to and what type of business would fit the bill? Well it better be profitable because that’s $479,900 for 1582sf ($303.35/sf) - nearly half a million to start and then add on the monthly Watermark maintenance fee plus all your operating and business expenses. Wow. My suggestion: do thorough market research before buying!!


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01-29-2014, 08:24 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-29-2014, 08:28 PM by Skook.)
#10
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
It’s time for a Watermark update. There are some new sales to report both developer and owner flips, so let’s begin with former.

Developer sales:
Unit 210 - 5665 Teredo (Phase 1) sold Nov 1/13 for list: S339,900
Unit 304 - 5725 Teredo (Phase 2) sold Oct 31/13 for list: $464,900
Unit 500 - 5725 Teredo (Phase 2) sold Dec 27/13 for list: $949,900
Unit 307 - 5725 Teredo (Phase 2) sold Jan 21/14 for list: $459,900

Owner flips:
Unit 308 - 5665 Teredo: Purchased June, 2011 $375,155; Listed Oct 11, 2013 $429,900 (↑14.6%); Sold Oct 23 for asking.
Unit 601 - 5665 Teredo: Purchased Sept, 2012 $1,099,000; Listed Oct, 2013 $1,575,000 (↑43.3%); Sold Dec, 2013 $1,460,000 (↑32.8%).

Would it be a surprise to learn the 601 sale has everyone tied to Watermark salivating? Bet not.

Let’s take a closer look at these two flips. Unit 308 is a corner unit (Teredo St back end) on the inner courtyard side of 5665 with no ocean view unless you stand at the balcony door. It is 1009sf + 141sf (balcony). At purchase, the owner paid $371/sf and the new buyer paid $426/sf - an increase of +14.8%.

Unit 601 along with its mirror image unit (600) is the largest unit you can buy in Watermark at 1977sf + 471sf (balcony). It faces the sunny south and, of course, has a front row seat to that oh so precious ocean view. The Watermark floorplate for level 6 indicates Units 600 & 601 are 3 bedroom + office/den; however, the listing for 601 indicated only two master bedrooms:

Quote:Oceanfront Penthouse Phase 1 at the Watermark. 1977 sq ft open plan living plus 471 sq ft private waterfront patio. Full concrete construction with floor to ceiling windows. 2 master bedrooms plus large flex room for den/ office. The largest floorplan in the Watermark is now available for immediate occupancy.

So, unless there was a typo then some customization to the layout has occurred. The listing also indicated taxes of $7,560 with a maintenance fee of $316/mth. The seller paid $556/sf back in 2011 and December’s sale ballooned this to $738/sf - an increase of +32.7%. So what would justify such an increase? In addition to customizing the layout, did the original owner make substantial and expensive upgrades to the cabinetry and appliances? Was it sold fully furnished?

Or, has the Watermark, in particular, and Sechelt, in general, become so desirable that the buyer just had to have that unit. Watermark developer Pacific Spirit Properties must think so because yesterday it began to up the prices on listed units.

At 5665 Teredo:
Unit 307: $439,900 to $449,900
Unit 309: $399,900 to $409,900
Unit 505: $539,900 to $549,900
Unit 605: $684,900 to $689,900

At 5725 Teredo:
Unit 302: $409,900 to $429,900

It appears the flip at Unit 308 has resulted in the developer rethinking the pricing of the units nearby; as for the others, I’m not sure the reasoning. There were no further price increases today, but more may follow.

While Pacific Spirit has upped some prices by $5,000 to $20,000, current Phase 1 owners trying to unload their waterfront facing units on level 4 have truly been inspired by the sale of Unit 601. Unit 400 was listed in August for $839,900 and on Tuesday raised the asking price by $40,000 to $879,900. Unit 401 owner who paid $740,905 back in 2011 put it on the market in August at $839,900 (↑13.4%) and on Tuesday tacked on another $60,000 taking it to $899,900 (now ↑21.5% over purchase); and, so he should since it is a larger unit then 400 and those additional 82sf are worth every penny of the extra $20,000 and besides only one level separates it from Unit 601 and that has to add value. Well, all this observer can say is “Why not. You're absolutely justified. You go for it and I'll be rooting 100% for you." "Shoot for the moon," is what I say.

On Tuesday, there was also a new flip listed. This is Unit 606 - 5665 Teredo which is the smallest unit available at Watermark at 645sf + 97sf (balcony). These Plan A units (212, 312, 410, 606) are those wee middle ones facing Teredo St that become more expensive the further up from street level you go. This particular unit was purchased in 2011 for $284,905 and is now listed at $319,000 an increase of only $34,000 (↑12%). I say only because when you factor in the taxes, lawyer’s fees etc., etc. paid when the unit was bought how much ROI has the owner made for parking his/her money for the last two and a half years at Watermark. If the unit sells, there will be a commission to pay (unless it’s a real estate agent flip) so what’s the profit here - $10,000? Owner would have done better investing it in the stock market.

Here’s the listing description for this unit - spelling and grammar mistakes included:

Quote:Penthouse customized 1 bedroom unit. Nice built ins [sic], upgraded light fixutures [sic] & 3 way fireplace. The Watermark in Sechelt is walk on watefront [sic], a carefree lifestyle in Downtown Sechelt within easy & level walking distance of all amenities & nearby hospital. Mere steps from the seawall & Pebble Beach. The terraced architecture & concrete construction of Watermark at Sechelt is designed to take full advantage of the beautiful views. This top floor one bedroom suite includes 5 appliances, walk in shower with mountain view balcony. Great Sunshine Coast get away [sic] at a nice price.

Penthouse, eh? I guess that makes all units on level 5 “sub-penthouse” - Watermark should jump on this and rewrite listing descriptions.

What is really interesting about this particular unit is its customized layout. In the image below, are the listing pictures; as well, I have added Watermark’s Plan A layout (bottom left) and shown how I think the layout was customized based on the listing pics (bottom right).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=718]

Now, let’s contrast Unit 606 with Unit 410 below which was listed for rent with Holywell Property Management back in August. Unit 401 was fitted out using Watermark’s Plan A layout. In 606, the kitchen width is smaller and the stove and microwave have been moved against the wall. By moving the bedroom, restructuring the dividing wall, and putting in the 3-way fireplace, there is now a whole open living area with lots of natural light which benefits the kitchen area. The 606 bedroom is smaller but you don’t live in the bedroom and there may not be a closet but an armoire would solve that problem. The large window between the bedroom and living room is a smart touch.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=719]

Personally, I think the customized layout changes to 606 are brilliant and utilize this small space far more effectively then what Watermark offers in its original plan. I wonder if Watermark offered this customization or the owner came up with it? If it was the owner, then Watermark should have adopted it for all Plan A units. Given what the owner paid for the unit back in 2011, there was a cost to the changes, but it was worth it. Unit 606 actually looks like a home and not like two white shoeboxes stuck together.

Now, if I were the current owner, I would approach Holywell and buy a set of those Unit 410 pics. Then I would up the asking price of this unit to $329,900 and when anyone comes to view the unit whip out the 410 pics and 606 will practically sell itself. Besides, it’s a penthouse and its neighbour just a few feet away at $738/sf is Unit 601. I’m sure some of its magic will work its way down the hall.


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