Vancouver Peak

Full Version: Sechelt Development - The Wharf Place
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3
[Image: attachment.php?aid=149]

The Wharf Place, a new 24-unit condo development offering 6 street level commercial units, completed construction and opened for business in April. The developer is not ‘laughing to the bank’ nor ‘laughing to Lund’; in fact, the developer would be lucky to make it as far as Pender Harbour crying all the way. If sales in this unit indicate the state of the condo/townhouse market on the Sunshine Coast, then it is toast.

This development is located on the south side of Wharf Ave at the corner of Wharf and East Porpoise Bay Road. Wharf is a main east-west junction point in Sechelt where it meets with Hwy 101. Turning left onto Wharf enables those heading north up the coast to bypass the downtown area. Heading west on Wharf takes you towards Porpoise Bay. Anyone wanting to head to East Porpoise Bay (Sandy Hook, Tuwanek) must take Wharf and turn right onto E. Porpoise Bay Road. Continuing on Wharf will take you into the developments lining the west side of Porpoise Bay such as The Shores and Seawatch on the Shores.

I always thought of Wharf Ave from its junction with Hwy 101 east to E. Porpoise Bay Road as the industrial area of Sechelt Village. Here you will find building supply centres (Gibsons Building Supplies, Home Building Centre), a Ford car dealership, an auto body shop, gardening centre, the Malaspina Coach Lines bus depot, and so on. As the pictures below show, it is not the most attractive stretch of road in Sechelt.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=150]

These images above are Google streetviews taken in August, 2011. The left image is looking east from the junction with Hwy 101. In the far distance is the Home Hardware Building Centre and at that point Wharf begins to curve to the left as the map below illustrates. The image above on the right shows the future site of The Wharf Place just before Wharf Ave meets with E. Porpoise Bay Road. So, we know that construction did not start until sometime after August, 2011.

The images below show you the exact location of the development and how it is orientated in relation to Wharf Ave, as well as its three floorplans. The ground floor shows the location of the commercial units and illustrates that this area forms a pedestal for the building. Parking for resident and commercial tenants offers both covered (surrounding the pedestal and under the condo floors above) and open air parking (behind the building).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=151]

The second and third floorplans show the condos come in various configurations offering 1bed/1bath at 691sf up to 3bed/2bath at 1467sf. Are there any windowless bedrooms? Nope, they all have either windows or sliding doors onto a balcony. In my humble opinion, I think that overall the layouts of these condos are far more attractive and practical then what you would find at the far more expensive Watermark development down at the pebble beach off Toredo St.

Now, according to the floorplans five commercial units have been sold which I cannot verify and four condo units have sold which I can verify and according to the ‘MLS Sold’ information only two condo units have actually sold - Units 207 and 311. All the other 22 condo units remain unsold despite having been listed since September 14, 2011 - over 600 days ago and counting! You will find this information in the spreadsheet below. I have highlighted the sold information provided by the development website in gold in a separate column and the MLS information is on the right.

Note: in the spreadsheet, L=Listed, S=Sold
[Image: attachment.php?aid=152]

Back at the end of March, Realtor Gary Little’s interactive map showed that prices had been reduced from $20,000 to as much $30,000 on the condo units. That reduction information disappeared sometime in April or at the beginning of May. I regret not writing down those reduced prices so I don’t know if the pricing on the spreadsheet now reflects that lower pricing or if the developer returned to the original pricing for the spring/summer selling period. I have a strong feeling it is the latter. Also, I wonder when you look at this listing info why the developer hasn’t allowed the listings to expire and then re-list to make it appear more up-to-date. All those units are carrying an MLS# beginning with V91. Maybe the developer is too depressed to care anymore.

Really, I can’t begin to imagine what the developer is thinking and feeling right now as this development languishes. If you click on the developer’s name on The Wharf Place website you are taken to his/her website and despite what that website states this appears to be the first and only project undertaken so far. What are the financial implications of this?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=153]

I haven’t checked to see if any of these units are being placed on the rental market - if they have, would they remove them from the MLS listing? You would think so. Maybe it will be an option taken after the summer, but I doubt there are enough renters on the coast to fill even half of this building. As well, I notice on the development website home page it says, “Own from $699/mo*” with the following in the fine print,“*Conditions apply. 25% down payment required. Subject to OAC. Prices subject to change.” Does this mean the developer is willing to carry the mortgage?

There is another significant issue here, too, I think. If you click on 'Partners' on the development website, the financing for this project came via the local Sunshine Coast Credit Union. I wonder how many other development projects it has financed on the SC and how many are in the same dire straits as this one.

Yes, for 'The Wharf Place' and SC RE, it's hurting real bad.

Note: I have discovered some info on the commercial units since this post and it is below in a new post along with an updated spreadsheet.
May 15, 2013 Update:

The other day I was looking through the May Realtor .pdf files at and discovered three ads for The Wharf Place in the Prudential Sussex file. The first ad, in the lower right corner below said that the Commercial Unit #106 was back on the market. The top ad below followed a few pages later and still mentions there is only 1 commercial unit left. However, it has reduced the number of residential units sold to three from the four shown on the development’s website. However, I can still only find two units listed as sold with MLS: 207, and 311. The third ad, lower left below was for Commercial Unit #105 and is indicating it is the last commercial unit available. Someone at Prudential should be double checking and updating their ads before they are put online or go to print.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=155]

I have updated the spreadsheet for The Wharf Place to include Commercial Unit #106 and the listing prices for both those units.

(Dec 18, 2015: The outdated spreadsheet image has been removed. Click here for the most up-to-date spreadsheet. It will open in a new browser tab).
September 8, 2013 Update:

It's time for an end of summer update. Since my last post in May, only 1 condo unit sold and this was in June and this brings the total condo units sold to 3 in this 24 unit complex: Unit 311 (in 2011), Unit 207 (in 2012), and Unit 301 (June 12, 2013). At this blistering pace, the complex should be fully sold out in 2035.

As for the Commercial Units on the Ground Level, the developer managed to sell Unit 106 so only 1 out of the 6 remains unsold (Unit 105). I wonder what type of businesses moved into these units. If their decision to 'buy in' counted on a built in client base from the residential units above then they are in deep trouble.

The Wharf Place website lists a number of 'Partners' acknowledging the role they played or are playing in moving this development forward including:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=390]

I don’t know if the SCCU supplied the developer with financing but if they are only involved in offering mortgages to unit buyers then they’re not making any money on this project.

As for Prudential Sussex, I can’t quite figure out the rationale behind allowing the remaining 21 condo listings reach 725 ‘Days on Market’ (as of today). Perhaps they are waiting for a decision by the developer as to what should be done next since this development is going nowhere.

What options are available to the developer? Its current rent-to-own offer hasn’t attracted buyers and obviously the unit pricing holds little attraction. So, I guess they can lower the unit list price and see what happens or just turn them all into rental units, but I don’t think either option offers much hope - certainly not this year.

It will be interesting to see what path the developer follows in the months ahead.

Here is the updated spreadsheet. Unit 208 had been listed as sold when I first visited the development website back in early May but the “sold” was removed and so I changed the ‘gold’ to ‘green’ and added the double asterik. The developer also indicates on the website floorplan that Unit 202 is “sold”, however the unit has been listed since 2011 along with all the other vacant units hence the 'green' box and single asterisk in the gold box. I believe the reason for the ‘sold’ is that through an agreement with the District of Sechelt at the time of the rezoning bylaw application, this unit was set aside as an “affordable housing unit”. Unit 202 is 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 705sf unit with a list price of $229,900 - and they consider this affordable? Yeah, in your dreams.

(Dec 18, 2015: The outdated spreadsheet image has been removed. Click here for the most up-to-date spreadsheet. It will open in a new browser tab).
Hey skook:

You are a great foot soldier, digging up the data on the two Sechelt developments. It seems pretty likely that neither will be money makers - but in the overall scheme of things on the SC, what do you think is the main driving force for these failures? Is it the decline in interest in vacation properties due to miscellaneous reasons (higher energy costs, lost savings in the last stock market meltdown, whatever) or is it the Ponzi scheme of continual real estate development when there is nothing else to back it up other than more real estate, or is it something else.

There are several little "new" developments in the Gibsons area that are also suffering from the same problem (although not quite as severe.) - Island Vista down about 40-50K, need to be at least dbl that, Gerussi Lane off Pratt, Cedar Gardens off Shaw.) There does seem to be a lot of "serviced lots" available in quasi developments along Howe Sound that are going nowhere. What ever happened to the supposed native waterfront development between Gibsons and Granthams? And why would anyone pay 1.7 mil for the derelict properties at 842 Marine, unless they are hoping for a development. Can't imagine why anyone would want to create more million + properties when there are some many for sale around already. Ditto for the so-called Gospel Rock development. Sounds like a sure money loser to me.

As an aside ,do you think that the Gibsons "George" development will ever happen? I can't imagine it unless they manage to pry extreme concessions from the local government.
Lot's of good questions, punnoval, and I bet they're being asked by many a Sunshine Coast Realtor, too. Well, if they don't have a crystal ball, neither do I.

One can only look at the stats, think about mitigating factors that could have led to this real estate insanity and take your best shot at guessing where it may be heading.

That is all it really is - educated guessing.
September 16, 2013 Update:

The smoke as barely settled on my September 9th update and look at the new banner on The Wharf Place website - looks like the fall push is on.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=421]

I wonder what incentives the developer will offer to get these next five sales. This bonus offer appears to be separate from the GST offer but I could be wrong.

Unfortunately, the developer is whistling in the wind. There aren’t the numbers currently living on the coast who will buy in and the only individuals moving to the coast are retirees but not in enough numbers to absorb the humongous inventory up and down the coast and especially in Sechelt.

They are no young, urban professionals moving to the coast who I could picture buying into such a development. They aren’t coming because they have nothing to come to - unless they start their own business, there are no decent paying employment opportunities. In fact, I would say there are no employment opportunities at all. One day, I might take a closer look at this issue.

I also discovered another Malaspina Property Management rental ad which was posted on its website back on August 6th. One of the three unit owners in the project is trying to rent out his/her suite. It is #207 bought back in February 2012 for $209,000.

So, what’s the story behind this, I wonder. Well, it doesn’t matter why the unit was bought or by whom, what is a given is that they can’t sell it not with 21 other units in the development sitting empty and the developer offering “incentives”. But, again, even if the unit owner was willing and able to take a huge loss by undercutting the developer’s pricing, there just aren’t any buyers around. It’s sad, but I don’t think the owner will find a renter either to help defray the monthly mortgage bill. If the owner has left the coast, I hope it was to go to a really well-paying job somewhere else because they are going to need it.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=422]


Well, well, well, that new website banner was so distracting I missed this significant piece of information…


(Note: previous content in this spot has been removed. Please see Post #9 below for explanation)
My curiosity got the best of me, so I contacted the developer and here is the Bonus Offer to the next five (5) buyers:

A high-efficiency washer & dryer (this is standard equipment in many multi-unit sales offerings);
HST/GST and transitional taxes included;
Window coverings - 2” Faux style blinds (again, this is usually standard equipment).

The representative said that they received an offer on #204 so there are 4 more units under the program.

Here's the value of the Bonus Offer:
High efficiency washer & dryer: about $2,000.00 including GST from Coast Wholesale.
HST at 7% on $293,000 (average price of all listed units): $20,500.00
Faux blinds: about $2,000 depending on how 'faux' they are and how many windows in the unit.
Total value of the package: about $25,000 on a $293,000 unit (again, the average price) so about 8.5%

These kinds of 'allowances' effectively reduce the price of admission without lowering the 'sold' prices, something the developer must maximize for future sales and to not antagonize the current owners (few in this case) by undercutting values.

Will this work? As Skook speculates: probably not. My experience suggests they were offering all this to any live body that came in the door and looked interested, so it's not a very clever or productive marketing ploy.
As I've said before, RFM, "You the man!"....Cool

Since I'm really not into household accoutrements having chosen to live as close to a monastic lifestyle as I can without taking vows, I googled...

"Faux Wood blinds are made with moisture-proof PVC so slats are easy to clean...", etc, etc. Hmm, I don't think they can get much more "Faux" then that.

So, they are offering these incentives to only the next 5 buyers...hmm, why that cut-off point? That would take the total number of units sold to 8 - still short of the 50% mark of 12 units. Of course, this is eating into the developer's profits. So, the purpose is likely just to start some momentum and buzz. As you said, strictly a marketing ploy.
Here is what I am eating right now...


This morning in Post #6, I thought I had made this brilliant discovery via The Wharf Place website that developer had just opened a Sales Office and flippantly implied that both the developer and Prudential Sussex Realty had been remiss in waiting so long to do what was so obviously needed. I was wrong.

I make every effort to be as accurate as possible in what I post. I usually verify my information by going to as many sources as possible. I did not do that in this situation relying solely on the developer's website. However, this afternoon I asked myself, what if the website was slow to update it's information or what if I really did miss the Sales Office info on the website when I did my Sept 8th update? (I really don't think I did - at least not that new banner, but now I am doubting myself on both counts)

So, I went hunting through my computer doc files. I had saved a Coast Reporter Real Estate Weekly from August 16, 2013 and found this...

[Image: attachment.php?aid=425]

Then I went back to the Sunshine Coast Real Estate Guide for September and it contains the same notice as above. In both the July and Aug Guide editions can be found the notice below.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=426]

So, it appears that sometime in August (by at least the 16th) the developer began the offer of purchase incentives. But, most importantly The Wharf Place Sales Office was in fact open by as early as July.

I apologize to the developer, CSA Kobas Developments Inc, and Prudential Sussex Realty for my earlier comments which I have removed.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a pie to finish.

Sept 18, 2013 Update:

Okay, I've had my fill of humble pie - 48 hours is long enough so I've downsized the image and moved it over to the side. Time for the Skook treatment on those two real estate ads above.

Let's start with the bottom ad first. So, the sales office was open for July and Aug and perhaps it is still open. Any sales? Nope. Must have been very boring sitting in that Sales Office.

So, now the Realtors handling this development at Prudential Sussex Realty are willing to admit just what I said previously above - there just isn't the population base on the SC or coming to the SC to snap these up units and call them home. How so? Because, when the developer is willing to throw in some buyer 'incentives', who do they do target in that August RE ad? Investors!

So, did any units sell in August? Nope. Have any units sold in September up to and including today? Nope - I checked and there are still 21 units listed on MLS. So, it would appear that investors aren't any where to be found on the SC, either unless they are all hanging out at Watermark putting their units up for rent.

The Wharf Place buyer incentives will be in place for the next 5 sales. One unit has sold each year since 2011 - so, at this rate the buyer incentives should be around until 2018 - no rush.
October 7, 2013 Update:

There is good news for The Wharf Place - sales are up 100% over last year! Yes, there has been another condo sale which brings the 2013 total to 2.

Unit 204 sold on September 27th for $323,099 - a drop of only 5% (-5%) from the $339,900 list price which isn’t bad all things considered; however, when you factor in the Bonus Offer (see RFM post above) worth at least $25,000, it’s maybe not so good. But, ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do’ in this market to bring the buyers in.

Another bit of possibly discouraging news for the condo complex relates to an ad I noticed in this month’s Sunshine Coast Real Estate Guide:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=478]

The ground level commercial Unit 105 remains unsold and now Units 102 & 103 which did sell are now available for lease - the ad makes me wonder if those units were combined into one space. So, what happened here? Were Units 102 & 103 bought by an investor or did the buyer(s) change their mind about setting up a business at this time?

I have been thinking a lot about the economic climate on the SC because of the sheer volume of businesses that are now listed for sale. Frankly, I've been stunned by what I see and hope to put together a post in the near future to show you why.

Finally, on October 2nd, the number of condos/townhomes listed dropped substantially - from 165 to 137 and that’s where it stands today. All the condo listings for The Wharf Place disappeared and then two days later one reappeared - Unit 208. The MLS # remains the same as does the list price. Perhaps, it has been decided that listing all the units as available sent the wrong message and now they will follow Watermark’s tactic and only put a few on the market at one time. I will keep my eye on the listings to see if any more or all appear in the listings, again.
Pages: 1 2 3