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Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
03-30-2014, 03:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-06-2014, 10:56 PM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
In a November 29, 2013 post, I expressed surprise at discovering a Kijiji ad for Watermark Commercial Unit #101.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=832]

It seemed to me a really odd place to find a buyer for this unit. I also queried why the unit wasn't commercially listed so it would appear on which bills itself as “Canada’s Gateway to Commercial Real Estate” and on the site for "Commercial Real Estate in British Columbia".

Well, if that Kijiji ad surprised, what I saw the other day on Craiglist stunned me.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=833]

These ads appeared on the ‘Real Estate for Sale’ board and shows two residential sales ads, one for Units 502 & 503 and the other for Unit 605; all in Phase 1 - 5665 Teredo. As for the ‘Commercial Space for Sale’, one ad is for Unit 101 and the other for Unit 103; both in Phase 1 which was completed last August. Nothing for Watermark appears on the Craiglist 'Office & Commercial for Rent' board.

Here’s is the information found in each the commercial ads:

Quote:$479900 / 1582FT² (#101 - 5665 TEREDO STREET, SECHELT, BC) - POST ID: 4354568757

$459900 / 1354FT² - (#103 - 5665 TEREDO STREET, SECHELT, BC) - POST ID: 4354562036

(John McKenzie is still shouting)

The March 27th ads were updates with the originals posted 29 days earlier according to Craiglist which would have been February 27th. Now it just so happens that a Watermark ad appeared in the Coast Reporter Real Estate Weekly on February 7th; here it is…

[Image: attachment.php?aid=834]

This is the first ad I've come across for the commercial units since that sole Kijiji ad back at the end of November and what is significant about this ad is circled in red - Watermark is willing to lease which is the first time I have seen that word used.

On the right, are two pics showing the Phase 1 commercial units along Teredo St. Both can be found in the January 2014 folder on Watermark’s Construction Photos webpage. The bottom pic shows a Nail Salon occupying one unit and there may be two other units occupied because it looks like there are five units along the front and we know from Craiglist Units 101 & 103 are vacant. I wonder if these occupants bought the units or have leased them. If the latter, then it looks like the developer, Pacific Spirit Properties, won’t be able to move on for a long time to come because the soon-to-be-completed Phase 2 (5725 Teredo St) has its share of commercial units, too. I wonder if Pacific Spirit envisioned the possibility of being a long-term landlord.

I am not surprised to see Watermark having difficulty moving these units. If I were a small business owner, I certainly wouldn’t want to buy them unless I was 100% certain the market would support my business for years and years to come. As for leasing, well there is an awful lot of commercial office/retail space currently on the market in Sechelt and it continues to grow and competition lowers rents.

This will be interesting to follow.

March 31, 2014 Update:

I have started a new thread today, 'Sunshine Coast Small Business: A Looming Crisis?' This thread may go a long way in explaining why Watermark is having such difficulty selling/leasing its commercial units.

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03-30-2014, 07:31 PM,
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
Good catches. I make this observation about listing residential sales on craigslist: I see it a bit in the markets I monitor. Why would any self-respecting ‘realtor’ think that listing on craigslist would increase the appeal, audience for or transparency of the listing? I can think of two reasons: desperation - nothing else is working, no one is responding to the MLS listing, no one is coming to the open houses, the print media produce no results, no one wants to make an offer; and, the ‘what the heck’ school of marketing - it’s free, why not try it, what is there to lose. Either way, it is not much of a marketplace for real estate. BUT, and I capitalize that word because it is a big but, I sold one of my vacant land holdings several years ago through craigslist. Really? Yup. Realtors had been unable to sell my dog; I decided to go it alone, put a lowball price on it and put it on craigslist. Viola! It sold two weeks later. No fuss, no muss, no bother. No commission; no fees. Did I make money? Are you nuts? I lost my shirt, but I got out and moved on. So there you go. In this brave new world of the internet, even craigslist can move properties if you are desperate or have nothing to lose.
04-12-2014, 11:45 AM,
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
April 12, 2014 Update:

I had a friend swing by the Watermark to verify those Phase 1 commercial units and guess what I forgot? One of those units is being used as the Watermark Sales Centre.

Now, we know about the two units listed on Craiglist (#101 & #103), but there is also another unit with a For Sale/Lease sign in the window. This means that of the five units facing Teredo St only one is occupied by a tenant, PerfectioNails. According to its Facebook page, that business had its grand opening on January 6, 2014. Given this “odd-for-the-coast” business name, I decided to do a Google search and it appears to be a chain or franchise business - it has some interesting international locations. The business website was designed by “Themes &Co” which is based in Nice, France. My best guess is that this nail salon is leasing.

Watermark began marketing its development in early 2011 with the first three condo sales occurring at the end of April that year and exactly three years later only one commercial space facing Teredo St is occupied.
06-11-2014, 07:46 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-11-2014, 07:48 AM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
At the Watermark, the banners are coming down, the red carpet rolled up and the furnished display unit and sales centre have both been listed. As of June 1st, this is just another Sunshine Coast development dumping a pile of unsold units onto the market. Yes, the Watermark has listed all but two of its unsold units for a total of 36. Then, add in the 7 “resale” units listed and Watermark’s total rises to 43 units. As of today, there are 85 condo units listed in Sechelt’s core area alone - that’s 85!!

So, it’s time for a big Watermark update (and every other SC development listed here at VanPeak) and I’ll be offering these in the days and weeks ahead. An updated Watermark spreadsheet is almost ready to post; however, carrying on from my last post, let’s begin with all those unsold and empty commercial units fronting Teredo St.

In my previous posts, I mentioned I couldn’t understand why the retail units have never been “commercially” listed. Well, that changed sometime in May, but definitely by the beginning of June. Five units in Phase 1 and three units in Phase 2 are on the market as the spread sheet below shows. I anticipated finding these listings when I visited the Western Investor website and noticed Watermark’s new June ad (left below).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=905]

The details in the WI ad make you scratch your head. It mentions 7 individual strata units (lots) for a total of 9,200sf for $2.8 million. If you add up the square footage of the units listed (#101 to #108 @ 873sf to 1607sf), you get a total of 9,694sf for $3.1 million (but, multiply 9694sf by $304psf = $2.95 million - it’s close). Well, Watermark has always been a bit “loosey-goosey” with details which is understandable with so many “partners” involved (developer, Development Company, public relations firm, marketing firm, realty company, Realtor, etc., etc.,).

Here’s info from one of its earliest flyers. It mentions the three “live-work” units, the bistro and the total available commercial space.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=906]

In a press release dated March 28, 2011 that announced the project was a go, we read…

Quote:With all approvals now received from the District of Sechelt, Pacific Spirit Properties is set to move ahead with its newest development, the Watermark at Sechelt, containing 104 residential suites, 3 live work units, 6,400 sq.ft. of commercial space and a waterfront café/bistro.

The 6,400sf figure was carried forward after 2011, but that didn’t include the 3 “live/work” studios which appear to all be in Phase 2 (7525 Teredo St). Now, Unit #109 sold last month (May 1st) for $239,900. There was a previous “live/work” unit that sold and I mentioned it in my November 29, 2013 post - this was Unit #108. Well, guess what? That unit “sale” has now vanished. Yep, it's gone…didn’t happen...which is why we now see it listed in the spreadsheet.

Now, I am not sure how many “commercial/retail” units there are in Phase 2 which is why I have included the September and December 2013 construction pics above which appear to indicate 5 units (in addition to the main entrance) along Teredo St. If so, there might be a Unit #110 and it or Unit #107 could be the third “live/work” studio.

It is amazing the lack of information available about these Watermark “live/work” studios. The official District of Sechelt Zoning Bylaw Amendment document for Watermark - Bylaw No. 25-235, 2010 (CD-30) Pacific Spirit Properties (Teredo) Development - gives this definition:

Quote:“LIVE/ WORK UNIT” means a suite of rooms where both residential and commercial (either “offices” or “specialty retail”) floor space is designed as a single environment and in which residential and commercial amenities are provided.

According to the listing for #109, there is a bathroom but no bedroom - makes sense since it’s a “studio”. The question is: does it have a kitchen area? There needs to be some “residential” amenities, right? You would think with all the press articles that someone would have asked more questions about these units. Well, for whatever reason they exist and at least one (#108) is available to buy.


The Watermark marketing team prepared many interesting articles for the press and/or for its own website. In light of the listings above, I think one of those articles is worth a brief quote:

Quote:Feb 20, 2013

Lance Sparling can’t help feeling proud of the new beginning taking shape on Sechelt’s waterfront. The Watermark, he says, is more than just a development.

“When you drive through Sechelt and you see those two beautiful concrete buildings anchoring the downtown core, you’re seeing a statement,” says Sparling, president of Sechelt-based building team, Wakefield. “This raises the bar for the community.”

Raising the bar sits well with the District of Sechelt’s plans for its downtown core.

“The Watermark project supports Sechelt’s vision of our downtown as an attractive community focal point,” says Sechelt Mayor, John Henderson. “Most importantly, construction of The Watermark demonstrates confidence in our community as a great place to live and invest in.”

What’s happening at Watermark or more accurately not happening with regard to its commercial unit sales is just another sign of the crisis facing not only Sechelt but the whole Sunshine Coast. And, it’s more than just an aging population issue - there is no economic growth…period…and, it’s a coast, province, Canada-wide problem. That’s what happens when your citizens live on debt.

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06-11-2014, 11:08 AM,
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
Thanks Skook. Hope you are doing OK. You are in our thoughts over here in TO, even though we've not met, and amen to your comments about what happens when you live off of debt. Cheers - Jimmy WW
06-13-2014, 08:05 AM,
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
It is not just a local, canadian trend.
Some of the functional business data coming out of the southern eurozone is horrific.

USA Today had an article
"Share of home buyers paying cash reaches new high"

Google it.

Interesting when you read between the lines. Financing is restricted leaving cash buyers in a power position.

The all-cash trend may have peaked, according to RealtyTrac's Blomquist. In the second half of 2014, he expects to see a greater proportion of buyers who have financing. "There is a finite pool of people who can pay cash," he said.

So giving the existing debt ratio of Canadians...minus the new legal restrictions on entrance visas?
06-13-2014, 04:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-13-2014, 07:14 PM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
Nola’s comments are worthy of a new thread because she reminds us that we are not immune from international factors that could severely impact our own little corner of the world. However this thread is about the Watermark condo development and before we get carried away, I am reining us back in with this post.

This will likely be my last update on this development. I figure if the developer has reached the conclusion any further marketing is pointless and it’s time to leave his project to the fates that govern the real estate market then I, too, should bid adieu and wish all those who bought in the very best in the months and years ahead.

The first look inside this condo complex came about courtesy the construction pics that were added religiously each couple of months to the Watermark website. The picture on the right below (June, 2013) made a definite impression on me and I thought, “Wow, you pay almost a million dollars for a unit and that’s your storage locker?”

As the complexes were completed and some new owners decided immediately to cash out their “investment”, we got our first look inside the units via the listing pics. We would see that regardless of unit size, location and list price those “Wows” kept coming from the closet hardware, to the folding doors, to the tubs and toilets.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=910]

Was it reasonable to expect more from Watermark? Well, given what the developer likely paid for this last waterfront property in the heart of Sechelt and how long and drawn out the rezoning process was, likely not. After all, the developer had to find any and all means to make money off this endeavour while purchasing as much as possible through as many local businesses as possible. I don't know, I guess I just expected a bit more bang for a buck.


Speaking of bucks...lots of bucks…we have some flips in the newly completed Phase 2. Unit #500 (V1068752) went on the market June 4th at an asking price of $1,559,000. The unit was originally purchased this past December for $949,900. So, what justifies the huge jump? Well, it is a large waterfront facing unit and last October, Unit #601 in Phase 1 was owner listed for $1,575,000 and sold in December for $1,460,000 (originally purchased for $1,099,000 in September, 2012). However, waterfront Units #400 and #401 in Phase 1 have been owner listed since last August and have failed to sale. So, it must be Unit #500’s customization justifying the $600,000 price increase. Here’s what has been done…

Bedroom 2 with its ensuite bathroom has been eliminated so that the whole front of the unit is open. A wet bar with built-in cupboard space now replaces the ensuite. The office entrance and storage closet has been reconfigured. In the master bedroom ensuite, the separate tub and shower were eliminated and replaced with a large single spa shower. The natural gas fireplace is now situated on the opposite side of the unit. Overall, these are smart changes to the floorplan; although, the fireplace looks awkward in its new spot. Are these changes worth over half a million dollars? Well, time will tell. By the way, the foyer on the left in the image above - it belongs to this unit.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=911]

Here’s the unit’s listing write-up:

Quote:PHASE 2 at the Watermark - 5th floor customized front suite with fabulous south & west full ocean views. Huge oceanfront patio. Enjoy south facing walk-on waterfront; a care free lifestyle in Downtown Sechelt within easy & level walking distance to all amenities & nearby expanded 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 ocean & island views while enjoying warm southerly exposure. This luxury suite offers almost 1850 sq ft with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms & a lovely wet bar - spa like ensuite w/steam shower & many custom features.

The two other unit flips (#201 & 203) in Phase 2 have also upped their prices but at the less eye-popping 15-16%.


It is time to post the updated spreadsheet for Watermark. All sales data is up to date to June 4th and listing data to June 13th. I have created a spreadsheet legend to explain the colour coding for the unit numbers. The most recent listing information is in “blue”.

When comparing unit pricing between Phase 1 and Phase 2, you must remember the buildings are mirror images of each other and some units on the second, third and fourth floors will reflect this mirroring as shown in the box on the right below.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=912]
[Image: attachment.php?aid=913]
[Image: attachment.php?aid=914]

As of June 4th, the number of units sold in Phase 1 (5665 Teredo) stands at 36 out of 52 units (69%) and in Phase 2 (5725 Teredo) the number of sold units is 30 out of 52 (60%). For the complex as a whole, 66 of the 104 units have sold (63.5%). The developer has 36 units currently listed on MLS. There are two units that remain unsold and unlisted - Unit #212 in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 (not sure why they are not listed).

As for owner resales, there are 4 currently listed at 5665 Teredo and in April the owner of Unit #606 (customized) dropped the asking price - images of #606 can be seen in my January 1, 2014 post (scroll down). At 5725 Teredo, there are 3 resales on the market.

Now, what? That’s a really good question and I have no idea how things work in situations like this. I guess the development company created for this project, Pacific Spirit Properties, by the developer, Seacliff Properties Ltd., will remain forever tied to the project and will continue to try to sell and/or lease those vacant commercial and “live/work” units.

As for the 36 unsold residential condos, well it looks like the developer is willing to lease out all two-bedroom units on a long term basis (3/5/8 years) according to these ads that began appearing this month in the Sunshine Coast weeklies (The Local, Coast Reporter).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=915]

Starting at $1500/month, eh? I don’t know about that. Just as an example, there is a furnished 3 bedroom house currently listed at Holywell Properties for $1600/month. In the grand scheme of things, I wonder if "leasing" out these unsold units is a viable alternative. What impact would this have on the Watermark Strata Council? So many questions.

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06-21-2014, 12:45 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-21-2014, 12:50 PM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
June 21, 2014 Update:

Here we go again, folks. You know that “live/work” Unit #109 that “sold” on May 1st for $239,900? Well, it’s now “unsold” and was put back on the market June 16th with a price increase; yep, it’s now been deemed worthy of another $10,000 tacked on and is listed at $249,900…ROFLOL. This just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=934]

There is another condo flip to mention. Unit #302, 5665 Teredo (Phase 1) went up for sale June 15th. It was purchased back in October, 2011 for $391,500 and is now listed for $429,900 (+22%) - the same as the developer’s list price for a similar unit. If the owner manages to sell for that list, then my thought is that this has been one very poor real estate investment if that is in fact what it was.

Unit #407, 5725 Teredo has been listed for rent on the Holywell site for over the last month. I see the rent has been dropped by $1000/mth from $1650/mth to $1550/mth.


I just happened to notice the other day that new images for the Watermark commercial units have been added to the commercial listings. So, finally, we have a peek at the commercial set-up and inside this building. Unfortunately, the quality of these images leaves much to be desired.

In the middle image below, we can see the inside parking arrangement. Watermark parking is only semi-buried and you can see how that is reflected in the waterfront landscaping. So, the Bistro is actually a projection off of the parkcade. Has the Bistro opened for business? Does it look busy?

The picture on the right shows the only entrance to the parkcade (on far left) which is off of Inlet Ave under 5665 Teredo.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=935]

I have now been able to put together a composite image of all the commercial units fronting Teredo St. As a result, we can see that there is actually a unit (#101) on Inlet Ave and Unit #102 occupies the corner of Inlet/Teredo. There is a bit of mystery between Unit 103 and 104 as there appears to be another unit with its own entrance; perhaps, the execution of the plans changed but not the plans?

[Image: attachment.php?aid=936]

So, we can assume that the newly listed Unit #109 is just beyond Unit #108 and that there does exist a Unit #110.

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12-20-2014, 11:26 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-20-2014, 11:35 AM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
December 20, 2014 Update:

Here’s a striking, eye-catching ad that appeared in yesterday’s Coast Reporter Real Estate Weekly.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1040]

To think it was barely three years ago – Spring 2012 – that Watermark units were presented to the public in a campaign that included a glossy, marketing magazine; the magazine’s second edition appeared Spring 2013. Of course, back in 2012 it was only the developer trying to sell the Watermark units. Now we have determined owners competing against that very same developer.

So, how determined is the Unit 302 owner? The unit was listed back in June at $429,900 (22% above its 2011 purchase price). The list price was dropped in August to $399,900 and this month dropped again to $379,900 - a mere 8% above that original purchase price.

Other fine examples of Watermark owner determination can be seen in this December 13th post. Such determination should continue since as of today there are 9 owner resale listings competing against each other as well as against the developer’s 31 listings.


The last Watermark update back in June concerned itself with the development's commercial listings facing Teredo St. Since then, the Unit 106 listing disappeared and can be assumed sold. Commercial Units 101, 102, 103, 104, 105 remain listed for sale as do the “live/work” studio units 108, 109.

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02-01-2015, 08:22 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-01-2015, 09:33 AM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt Development - The Watermark at Sechelt
We have been considering downsizing to the Watermark and have added this bankruptcy news to our list of pros and cons. Is there a possibility that mechanics' leans can be posted against the development itself?

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