Vancouver's latest luxury tower has majestic mountain views and the Trump brand name, but the project will be entering a crowded condo market where prices have been flat over the past five years.
The condo portion of Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver is nearly 60 per cent presold as the project's backers seek to stand out in a competitive market for attached properties, according to developer Holborn Group. Magnum Projects Ltd. is marketing 218 residential suites in the twisting tower designed by late Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. Those condo units will be in the upper portion of the $360-million building, which will have a 147-room hotel on the first 15 floors. The hotel suites are not for sale.
The brisk sales for the condos in Trump International mark a turnaround from a previous effort under the Ritz-Carlton banner that fell flat for Holborn Group amid the 2008-09 recession.
Slated for completion in the summer of 2016 in downtown Vancouver, the 63-storey Trump International will be the city's second-tallest building after the Shangri-La, located nearby on West Georgia Street.
While Vancouver's real estate market has garnered much attention over soaring prices for single-family detached homes, last month's benchmark price index for condos in the region was up only 6.6 per cent since September of 2009.
Still, Holborn president Joo Kim Tiah said Monday that the high-end condos at Trump International will carve out a luxury niche and become a social magnet. Prices for the units had a starting point of $619,900 when marketing began in October of 2013. Three penthouses are to be marketed, with the most expensive one at nearly $20-million. The penthouses will each have features such as an in-suite elevator, private garden and spiral staircase.
"We're a condominium and a hotel. People who live in the neighbourhood, people who live in the building and people who come from overseas will gather here. This will be the place to mingle," Mr. Tiah said in an interview on the 48th floor of the project under construction.
The Trump Organization is the manager for the hotel, which will feature a nightclub with a swimming pool. Rooms with a view will command premium pricing, including some listed recently starting at $1.4-million.
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who are executive vice-presidents at the Trump Organization, joined Mr. Tiah for a site visit of the project. "It will create great vitality for the neighbourhood and the city," Ms. Trump said. "The health of this project isn't predicated on any one market."
Mr. Trump Jr. said buyers have emerged locally and from a range of places in Asia, Europe and Latin America. "There's a global demographic," he said.
The two members of the Trump family visited Vancouver on Monday. In June of 2013, they helped kick off the project with their brother, Eric, and their father, Donald.
The Vancouver venture differs from Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, which ran into complications due to the hotel suites being made available for sale to investors. In Vancouver, the hotel portion is not for sale to investors, though the Trump Organization will manage the suites.
A separate firm will be hired to oversee the condos, co-ordinating efforts to ensure standards are met with the Trump brand.
"One of things we pride ourselves on as hotel operators and partners is a sense of place, making sure each of our properties is unique to that environment," Ms. Trump said. "We're a pure hotel with condominium residences on top. We manage the hotel, and the residences benefit from the hotel services and amenities."