$750m Telus Garden sells out before public launch

Telecom giant’s employees given 1% discount off price of development’s condos

The planned 53-storey condominium tower will be part of the $750 million Telus Garden development

More than 150 Telus Corp. employees are among the buyers who have snapped up all 428 units in the 53-storey condominium tower that is part of downtown Vancouver’s $750 million Telus Garden development.

“The project is sold out,” Telus senior vice-president of enterprise, services and strategic initiatives Andrea Goertz told Business in Vancouver March 29.

“Offers have been made on all homes. We continue to work with interested parties to finalize individual contracts.”

Marketer and Magnum Projects Ltd. owner George Wong originally intended for the project to have a public launch.

He confirmed that the last contracts on the condominium units were signed March 25, but added that there’s a seven-day rescission period during which buyers can cancel the contracts if either financing falls through or they have buyer’s remorse.

Goertz was confident that most of the units that fail to close during the seven-day rescission period would be sold during a weekend blitz March 31 and April 1.

“When your publication comes out, we are confident that we can say we’re in a sellout situation,” she said. “As of Monday, we are confident.”

But latecomers keen to buy a Telus Garden condominium might still get their chance if conventional real estate wisdom prevails. An industry rule of thumb is that approximately 20% of transactions are cancelled during the rescission period, marketer and TheKey.com owner Cam Good told BIV.

“Some marketers will claim that there are less, just for optics,” Good said.

Wong agreed with Good’s estimate that, industry-wide, about 20% of contracts fall through during the rescission period. But he pointed out that the Telus Garden project, which is bounded by Robson, Georgia, Richards and Seymour streets, is different because there was such high demand.

He expects only 3% to 4% of the signed contracts to fall through.

Goertz said Telus employees were given the opportunity to buy units for 1% less than the lowest price available to other buyers because Telus wanted to recognize their employees’ contributions and because employees are the company’s fifth-largest class of shareholder.

Units are priced from $279,900 to more than $3 million.

Other developers say that the move is unusual.

“We have never offered incentives for insiders to buy early,” Polygon Homes Ltd. CEO Neil Chrystal told BIV.

“We find that a lot of our staff wish to buy a home either as an investment or to live in, but there’s no special deals for staff.”

Another reason Telus employees account for more than one-third of all the development’s buyers is because, for many, it will mean a short commute to work.

Telus Garden, which is co-developed by Telus and Westbank, also includes a 500,000-square-foot, 22-storey office tower.

The telecommunications giant will lease 212,000 square feet on nine of the tower’s floors, including the top four.

Law firm Bull Housser Tupper & Tupper LLP plans to move its 250 staff to 67,000 square feet on the 16th, 17th and 18th floors in September 2014.

One of the attractive aspects of the building for Bull Housser is that it will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum building standards. The condominium building will be built to LEED gold standards.

“The sustainability aspects, leading edge technology and modern design will allow us to better serve our clients by providing our team with new tools, opportunities and inspiration,” Bull Housser managing partner Simon Margolis told BIV.

Goertz said the project will also have retail space, a fitness facility and a restaurant. •