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Bentall 5 building has been sold to a German investment company for $300 million in Vancouver, B.C.

Bentall 5 building has been sold to a German investment company for $300 million in Vancouver, B.C.

Photograph by: Bill Keay, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - News that the Bentall 5 building in downtown Vancouver had been sold to a German investment firm for $300 million dropped like a bombshell in the city's commercial real estate sector Wednesday morning.

It is the highest price paid for a single building in Metro Vancouver in at least the past decade and the second highest in Canada since the end of 2007.

And buyer Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH came forward with an unsolicited, all-cash bid to entice owner SITQ, the real estate subsidiary of the Quebec pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, into selling.

"For sure it's the largest [sale] in Canada this year," said Tony Quattrin, an executive vice-president in Vancouver for the commercial realtor CB Richard Ellis, Deka Immobilien's broker in the deal.

The Bentall 5 sale ranks as the biggest transaction Metro Vancouver has seen for the decade Paul Richter has been researching the market.

"[The sale] is a bit of a surprise in that you don't see deals anywhere near this [magnitude] generally in this market," said Richter, western Canadian manager for the property research firm RealNet Canada Inc.

He said in an interview that he fielded several e-mails Wednesday morning that included a lot of multiple exclamation points in their punctuation.

"Something coming in at $300 million has caught a lot of people's attention," he said.

The surprise, however, is "tempered a little bit when you think about the property and how high-end it is and how tight the office market is," Richter said. "It's just a gem in the office market."

Located at 550 Burrard downtown, the 33-storey, 583,000-square-foot tower was built by Bentall Properties LP, which is owned in part by SITQ, in two phases. The first opened in 2002, the second in 2007.

The sale comes at the same time tight credit conditions have dampened commercial real estate purchases and the news from U.S. markets is about foreclosures on major assets.

Avtar Bains, senior vice-president at Colliers International, said the fact that Deka Immobilien found an owner in Vancouver willing to sell was the startling part.

"What's somewhat surprising is that it is rare that opportunities like this come up in downtown Vancouver," Bains said in an interview.

Quattrin said the Bentall 5 building is Deka Immobilien's first purchase in Canada. He said the purchase speaks to the confidence the firm has in the Canadian market, which is surviving the recession better than other locations in the world.

"And I think Vancouver's [office-market] fundamentals, regarding its comparatively low vacancy rates, limited new supply [of office construction] and probably better prospects for growth, I think Vancouver becomes a priority."

Quattrin said Deka Immobilien, one of two open-ended property investment funds controlled by the 19-billion euro DekaBank Group, moved quickly when it decided to invest in Vancouver. He said the firm sent an advance team to scout the city last October.

The deal to buy Bentall 5, Quattrin added, was put together over the past 60 days.

Tony Astles, senior vice-president at Bentall Real Estate Services, said Deka Immobilien will retain Bentall as manager of the building.


1. $300 million: Bentall 5, Vancouver, May 2009.

2. $246 million: Central City, Surrey, August 2007.

3. $209 million: Crestwood Corporate Centre, Richmond, August 2008.

4. $151 million: Telus Tower, Burnaby, May 2006.

5. $140 million: HSBC Building, Vancouver, September 2005.

Source: CB Richard Ellis, Vancouver Sun

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Property Photo: # 803 7225 ACORN AV  in Burnaby
I have listed a new property at # 803 7225 ACORN AV in Burnaby.
AXIS Living. Brand new, never lived in but GST has been paid! Ready to move in, high end spacious suite across from Highgate shopping centre. Close to....EVERYTHING!
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Property Photo: # 903 7225 ACORN AV  in Burnaby
I have listed a new property at # 903 7225 ACORN AV in Burnaby.
AXIS Living. Brand new, GST has been paid! Ready to move in, high and spacious suite across from Highgate shopping center. Close to...EVERYTHING!
Read Full Story
1. As with conversations, listen more than you speak (or read more than you Tweet)
Think of Twitter as a busy conference.  If you run up to everyone you meet in real life and try to sell them something, soon enough people will lose interest in you, right?  Same on Twitter.  It is not "whoever Tweets the most wins"  It is more "whoever can provide real information to their followers wins"
Spend some time reading the Tweets of people you follow, you will surely find some interesting topics and unique perspectives
2. Follow, Follow, Follow
Follow people.  You don't have to follow just your heroes, friends and favorite celebs.  When in doubt, follow!  If you find a person Tweets too often, you can always unfollow later
3.Thank people for their @ mentions
If someone takes the time to retweet what you say or mention you in a positive way to their followers, make sure you thank them.
4. Ask yourself "Why is this interesting to people?" Before Tweeting. 
If you are selling a product, don't just tweet that it is for sale, try to convey something of interest.
5. If Tweeting a news story, try to give your thoughts or opinion instead of just linking
Linking is like handing someone a newspaper and saying "read this"  Adding your opinion helps open conversation and perhaps even debate (Twebate? ok, maybe that is a little much)
6. Don't listen to me! 
Ok, I think I have some valid points here, but who knows where social media will go?  If you have something you think works, go with it!
Cory Raven is a Metro Vancouver Real Estate Salesperson currently licensed with MAC Marketing Solutions.  In addition to trying to add his mark to the social media phenomenon and servicing the needs of his clients, Cory is also working with MAC Marketing's owner, Cameron McNeill to create a boutique Real Estate Company of an elite group of Trusted and Committed Realtors to service the Vancouver Real Estate Market.
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Today's Real Deal is a brand new listing at Concord Pacific's SPECTRUM.  Excellent location close to skytrain, Yaltetown, Chinatown and more.
This Real Deal, as with most of them is not my listing.  I scour the entire MLS looking for the best deals for my clients and when I find one that really stands out as good value I share it here on Real Deals.
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Best priced suite on Beach Avenue in the West End
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Today's Real Deal is a 1250 square foot 2 bedroom on Jervis in the Westend.
Today, the price was dropped $20,000 to $539,000
Looks like a great price for a 2 bedroom in such a great area with 2 parking stalls.
This listing, along with most Real Deals is not my listing.  On my Real Deal's I scour the entire MLS looking for the best deals for my clients and post Real Deals here as often as I see them
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5 year - Fixed Rates
Fixed rate 5 year term mortgages have increased about 1/2% in the past week, this is due to yield changes in the bond market. The lender's best 5 year fixed rate mortgage today The prime lending rate was announced today by the Bank of Canada to stay the same.
If you have a fixed mortgage above 5% and you qualify we may be able to switch your mortgage to a new lender and save you money over and above your penalty, Call us for a free 15 minute mortgage analysis and we will run the numbers for you and let you know if we can save you money.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages
The lender's prime rate is still 2.25%, some of our clients still have prime minus 1% and have a 1.25% mortgage rate. The best Adjustable rate mortgage today is prime + .4% = 2.65% See BOC announcement
Should we lock in our ARM?
Having an ARM Adjustable Rate Mortgage when rates are rising can be stressful. There is no crystal ball to look at to decide if you should lock in or not. I believe there are 2 factors to think about:
1) Comfort level, If the stress of floating is too much then forget about the math and guessing where rates are going and lock in to a 5 year fixed rate mortgage, the rates are still very low and you can sleep at night and not worry anymore. Just call us and we will help you lock in your mortgage.
2) What do you THINK is going to happen to rates: Based on the report from the BOC (see link above) they seem to think they will keep the prime rate low until 2010, Quote from BOC "
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/4 per cent and reiterates conditional commitment to hold current policy rate until the end of the second quarter of 2010
If you believe the BOC then you can benefit from low rates for another year and THEN lock in to a fixed rate.
If you have any questions, we are here to help, cheers
Lance Cook


CBM Canada's Best Mortgage Corp.
#101-3960 Quadra Street
Victoria, B.C.   V8X 4A3   Canada

Phone: 250-391-7678 (Ext.105)
Direct line: (250) 391-7833
Fax: 250-391-7679
Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-593-7738 (Ext.105)
Toll-Free Fax: 1-877-651-7739
We Shop - You Save™
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Bob Rennie: Priced to Sell

In search of new models of affordable housing

In the past year, prices for homes have dropped throughout B.C., and yet what might be considered “affordable housing” is still in desperately short supply. Construction costs are down, as the demand for new homes has subsided, but the cost of land remains high. Indeed, not only do we have a shortage of developable land in Vancouver – and elsewhere in B.C. – but that shortage is compounded by a restrictive zoning and entitlement process.
The lowest cost for which you can build a home, excluding land, is well over $325 per square foot; land costs alone add another $50 to $200 per square foot (depending on the city and building you’re living in). Your average Vancouver couple – say, a hospital worker and a police officer – can no longer afford the mortgage on a home in the community in which they work.
So who’s to blame for the affordability crisis? Is it the greedy developers? I would argue no. Developers in Vancouver work on very narrow profit margins – 50 per cent smaller than the typical developer south of the border.
Is it the condo investor who’s preventing an increase in affordable housing stock? Again, no. Without that investor, there would be no new rental units coming on the market (it doesn’t take two hands to count the number of actual rental buildings built in Vancouver in the past 10 years).

As unsatisfying as it is to say, the problem is beyond our control: we remain a desirable place to live, and as long as we keep our borders open there will always be someone willing to pay the price of entry.

That’s not to say there aren’t creative solutions out there. Two projects I’ve worked on in recent years point the way to affordability, each offering smart ways of densifying a community and spreading land costs. At Woodward’s the developer Westbank/Peterson was allowed to build 536 market condominiums and obtained 300,000 square feet of density to be transferred to future development sites. In exchange, they agreed to build 200 non-market social housing units, which will be turned over to the city and managed by the Portland Hotel Society.
Similarly, at L’Hermitage at Robson and Richards, the developer Millennium added density by purchasing two building sites next door to the condo development – including the drug-infested Passlin Hotel, which consisted of 47 single-room-occupancy units – tearing them down and replacing them with 47 new single-room accommodations. In return, Millennium was “bonused” enough density by the City of Vancouver to add four floors to the top, where big-ticket condos could be built and sold – and thus make this scenario work for both city and developer.

Of course, the examples above are about creating social housing for society’s hardest hit. But for those hospital workers and police officers, living in a single-­room accommodation is not an answer. For them, affordability is a question of innovative financing, with one possible solution being what

I call the “Optional Affordability Program.”

In this scenario, municipalities allow developers of any site to add 10 per cent or even 20 per cent additional (affordable) suites to current zoning. Let’s say it’s 20 extra condos that are, on average, 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom units, with a land value component of $100,000 each. The municipality would place a charge on title equal to $100,000, allowing those units to sell for $100,000 less – with all subsequent buyers paying market value less the charge on title (plus some specified inflation rate).

The charge on title can be paid off at any time, allowing the condo to then travel with market values. That $100,000 would then be paid back to the city, with the money going (presumably) toward other housing needs.
Vancouver will never be a cheap place to live. In fact, it never was. But with some creative thinking about zoning and financing, we can build a sustainable community in which more people, from all walks of life, can afford to live where they work. That should be our priority.
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Vancouver,BC - June 2, 2009 - A continued increase in buyer activity over the last four months has resulted in increased home sales and lessened the downward pressure on prices.
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Today's Real Deal is a 2 bedroom  in Concord Pacific at Aqua @ The Park
Price has just been reduced!
This listing, as with most of the Raven's Real Deal, is not my listing.  The Real Deal service is me scouring the MLS for what look to be good deals on behalf of my clients and potential clients.  Enjoy!
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Lowest price (excluding strata hotel units) in Coal Harbour!
Excellent studio space at 1239 W Georgia Street "The Venus" in Vancouver's prestigious Coal Harbour.
This is not my listing.  My Real Deals are not a way to advertise my own listings, but a service where I scour the MLS looking for the best deals on behalf of my clients.
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Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website.  In the meantime, you may access all my blog posts by clicking here.
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Cory Raven
Cory Raven - Managing Broker
RE/MAX Select Realty
4806 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3R8