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Boffo to test condo market, preview 43-storey Bassano tower in Burnaby

Phase 1 of Italian-inspired development in Brentwood area to include condos, commercial space

A rendering of the 43-storey Phase 1 condo tower planned for Boffo Development's Bassano site in Burnaby. (Courtesy Boffo)
A rendering of the 43-storey Phase 1 condo tower planned for Boffo Developments' Bassano site in Burnaby. (Courtesy Boffo)

Two decades after assembling a plot of land in the Greater Vancouver city of Burnaby, Boffo Developments is ready to preview its towering Italian-inspired, master-planned community in the Brentwood area. 

The local developer, which has been in business for more than five decades, told RENX it is launching previews for the first phase of Bassano, a planned three-phase cluster of four residential towers that draws its inspiration from Bassano del Grappa, a Northern Italian village near where the Boffo family originated. 

This new development, located where Lougheed Highway meets Springer Avenue, marks a return to Burnaby for the developer, which built its first homes in the city.  

The initial phase of Bassano will be a 43-storey tower with 318 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, ranging from 658 to 2,144 square feet. 

Karen West, vice-president of sales and marketing with Boffo, said the firm is moving forward with the preview plan for the first tower but has not yet committed to a specific sales launch date. 

"It's a funny time in the market," West said. The general plan, however, is to aim to complete Tower 1 in 2028. 

As the market continues to calibrate based on elevated interest rates and a generally slower presale market, Boffo is taking a cautious approach to launching sales — like many other developers. 

Boffo expects calculated sales process at Bassano 

In its Intel 2024 Report, condo-marketing agency MLA said the 2023 regional presale market was challenged and saw a total release of 13,049 concrete, wood-frame and townhome condo units with an absorption rate of 46 per cent.

The agency's latest presale report shows the number of units released has been climbing lately, with 11 projects and 1,552 units released in March, 17 projects and 1,637 units in April and 15 projects with 2,501 units forecast to be released in May. 

The presale sold rate in April was 31 per cent, the report said. 

“We design and build for the end-user, and our homes are larger, which is going to potentially take a little bit more time for our homeowners to come in several times, have a look at the product, shop around, see what else is available and decide that this is the place they want to be," West said. 

Boffo also focuses on one project at a time, West said. "Bassano will keep us busy for about 10 years."

"We contemplated waiting till the fall, but . . . I think everybody's anticipating the announcement June 5 from the Bank of Canada,” West said, referring to the next policy rate announcement.

“I don't know that that will sway people one way or the other. I think we're all optimistic that things will get better.

“After a reasonable previewing period, I think we'll be kind of equipped with where we're at, and our decision to head for sale.”

Italian-inspired features, retail component

For the first tower, Boffo initially planned for street-level townhomes along Springer Avenue, but has since decided to incorporate some commercial/retail space, West said.

A rendering illustrates the positioning of Bassano (slightly left of centre) in relation to some of the other towers in Burnaby's Brentwood neighbourhood. (Courtesy Boffo)
A rendering illustrates the positioning of Bassano (slightly left of centre) in relation to some of the other towers in Burnaby's Brentwood neighbourhood. (Courtesy Boffo)

"We saw that there was an opportunity to service not only the residents of Bassano, but also the surrounding residential areas with potentially a place where you can get a coffee, maybe grab some lunch and the . . . grocery essentials," West said. 

The core of Brentwood, just to the west, includes the Brentwood SkyTrain station and has plenty of shopping, dining and necessity options, but there is a gap along Lougheed further east in and around the Bassano location, West said. “We're trying to fill a bit of a gap that we see there at the moment."

“Bassano is a very special project for the Boffo family – it has been years in the making,” West said.

“The team has worked incredibly hard to curate an authentic ‘Made in Italy’ offering for homeowners who have a sophisticated understanding of the level of detail and craftsmanship that a Boffo home provides.” 

There are three corner two-bedroom floorplans that include window kitchens, a rarity in high-rise condo living. Boffo says every home will have materials and finishings imported from Italy, including cabinetry, Italian slab backsplashes, Bertazzoni appliances and Gessi kitchen and bathroom fixtures. 

Among the amenities are a concierge, work-share lounge, a health club with infrared sauna and steam rooms, and over 41,000 square feet of combined indoor and outdoor social spaces including a rooftop lounge.

The outdoor amenities include a 23,000-square-foot park with several gathering spaces, gardens, children's play area, bocce court and dog run. 

The site of the master-plan is about a four-minute walk from Holdom SkyTrain station, the next stop to the east of Brentwood.

Brentwood grew up around Bassano site

Since Boffo obtained the land, Brentwood has emerged as a high-density town centre with thousands of new homes in high-rise condos in and around the dramatic redesign of Brentwood Centre by Shape Properties

"We couldn't be happier with the infrastructure that has taken place with the Amazing Brentwood," West said. 

Concord Pacific, Keltic and Grosvenor are among other developers that also have towering housing projects in various stages of planning and development in the Brentwood area. Additional towers are also being planned by Shape at the Amazing Brentwood. 

"I think there's a lot of draw for people to live in the neighbourhood," West said. 

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