Surrounding all sides of Vancouver’s burgeoning False Creek district is the ambitious Concord Pacific Place, the massive development on the former Expo ’86 site. Already comprised of 55 towers on 200 acres that features 42 acres of parkland — in addition to the nearby seawall and Stanley Park — Pacific Place is the embodiment of Vancouverism — that uniquely North American style of urban living, defined by the forthcoming The Arc.
Buying into BC
“We are Canada’s largest community builder. That means we don’t just build in certain spots, we try to bring in the whole community and build something of lasting value,” explains Grant Murray, vice president of sales for Concord Pacific. “What makes a city, and an area, exciting is that it’s people-friendly. If people want to live there, value goes up. We’ve made it appealing for people of all ages to live in the downtown core. It’s not like a lot of cities that are quiet at night; it’s safe, it’s secure.”
When completed in the next decade, Pacific Place will incorporate a further eight acres of parkland and up to 20 more apartment towers representing 10,000 to 15,000 homes. False Creek is connected to the waterfront, parks, historic Yaletown and entertainment precincts (BC Place, Rogers Arena, a proposed art museum among others) by new infrastructure such as the Cambie Street Bridge. The area is home to the world’s first strata-titled marina, and the heritage of Gastown, the financial district and lively Davie Village are not too far away. False Creek also represents among the last of the city’s downtown developable land. Once it’s gone, there’s no more.
As Murray sees it, The Arc, and Vancouver in general, is still a good investment, underpinned by the forthcoming Marriott hotel and convention centre, historically low mortgage rates, a vacancy rate below 1 percent and 40,000 to 50,000 new residents annually. Apartments already completed have seen their values rise by as much as 250 percent since 2005, and capital gains should continue. Murray expects an owner-occupier to investor mix at The Arc in the neighbourhood of 50 to 60 percent investors, with appeal to single first-time buyers and young professionals. As the economy shifts from logging and mining to tech, creative industries and education (international student admissions are up 26 percent in the last three years) demand for housing like The Arc will stay strong.
Canada’s famously tolerant and cosmopolitan environment is a plus. The five-month old Liberal government might concern some investors, but Murray doesn’t expect any major disruption. “I don’t think Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are going to change a lot of the existing policies … I think a lot of the infrastructure money he’s talking about will get spread out across the country, and that’s always good; it will be a boon. I don’t think the election will be a deterrent at all.” And despite a Progressive Conservative prime minister in office, Murray notes, it was existing Liberal policies that helped Canada weather the 2008 GFC.
Then there are exchange rates. “The Canadian dollar was at par with the US dollar for almost five years but it’s trading at about 75 cents right now,” Murray points out. “Hongkongers get 30 percent more buying power than five years ago. That $400,000 condo a few years back is about $300,000 now.”
Welcome to False Creek
Located at 89 Nelson Street, Murray sees The Arc as the gateway to the downtown core, perched a stone’s throw from the bridge and looming over the water dotted with ferry traffic. The tower’s unique waving aesthetic was intended to put residents and pedestrians in a coastal frame of mind — and make a statement. “We were faced with the issue of developing a building form that … gave us the opportunity to maximise the living experience for occupiers. So we stretched it,” explains designer Walter Francl at Francl Architecture. “It’s actually a very long, sinuous, narrow building that curves, because by curving it we actually increased the length of the wall face — and that gives more window space. We also wanted to differentiate it by orientation. It is a gateway; it faces the water, city hall, traffic coming in. We wanted the entrance to stand apart.”
The Arc’s 560 units are spread across 29 storeys and range in size from 466 to 1,348 square feet in one- to three-bedroom configurations; penthouses range from 1,812 to 2,220 square feet. Among the amenities are curving balconies, a three-storey lounge for breathtaking views, and electric-vehicle ready carpark spaces. Facilities will include a glass-bottomed pool on level 20, a full gym and spa (with a Tepidarium, a heated room with stone loungers) and 24-hour concierge service. Flats will feature high quality materials and finishes, and appliance and fixtures by Miele, Grohe and Kohler.
Prices at The Arc begin at approximately CA$1,000 per square foot (HK$5,800) and remaining selection is limited. The Arc is scheduled for completion in early 2019. For more information contact Concord Pacific’s Hong Kong office on 2334 0000, or refer to www.arcvancouver.com.