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SHAPE's new tower about to fill up at Burnaby's City of Lougheed

Developer employs new strategy at Tower THREE, builds the 262 condos before launching sales

SHAPE's Tower THREE at the City of Lougheed development in Burnaby, B.C. (Courtesy SHAPE)
SHAPE's Tower THREE (right) at the City of Lougheed development in Burnaby, B.C. (Courtesy SHAPE)

B.C.-based real estate company SHAPE is offering what it calls a first in Metro Vancouver – the sales launch of an entire tower of newly constructed, ready-to-move-in condominiums.

The company says the release of homes at Tower THREE at the City of Lougheed in Burnaby includes 262 units. The sales strategy marks a significant shift from the typical pre-sale model for large-scale residential development in the Lower Mainland – by which homes are usually purchased before they are built.

Tower THREE joins Towers ONE and TWO – sold-out pre-sale towers – and Tower FOUR, a fully leased luxury rental tower, within Neighborhood ONE at The City of Lougheed. It’s a $1-billion project.

Tower ONE was pre-sold with 566 homes and Tower TWO was pre-sold with 474 homes. 

Brenda Parris, vice-president, residential marketing for SHAPE, said multifamily properties are generally sold in advance of construction.

That can mean buying a unit several years before the project is completed – or waiting and hoping. 

Strategy a "calculated risk" for SHAPE

“But if you’re somebody who really loves that lifestyle, you’re limited to whatever inventory might come back from the pre-sold units,” Parris said.

"So whoever bought six years ago, that decides to potentially sell, and that’s a pretty small window of opportunity.

“So what we’re offering here is like an unprecedented amount of selection for the homebuyers to be able to go to a fully complete tower and pick what floor they like, which direction they’re interested in, what colour scheme they like.

"It’s not about whatever slim pickings are available at the end of pre-sale, full life-cycle.

“The reasons you don’t see this often is it just takes an element of calculated risk on that front. For most developers, they have to hit a certain number of units sold in order to even qualify for construction financing to get the green light to go ahead."

The sell-out success of Towers ONE and TWO played a big role in SHAPE's decision.

"There’s an element of de-risking, people are bought-in. They’re excited about this project,” Parris said.

"I think internally as a developer we can take on that risk and wait until the end, and then of course we have the capital support of TD Asset Management, which is a heavy hitter.

"It’s about the long-term belief that we have in the City of Lougheed.”

There’s also a lack of housing supply which makes Tower THREE's release timely.

The City of Lougheed development

The project is part of a massive master-planned project on 37 acres which will consist of more than 20 residential towers – all developed by SHAPE.

IT projects upwards of 10,000 residents when the community is built-out.

“I think that’s one of the really unique pieces about the master plan and of this scale. It is under one single vision. . . . It will be SHAPE in partnership, co-owned with TD Asset Management,” Parris explained. 

“What makes it special about having one developer working on it is that there is a relationship between the first tower and the last tower.

"How we decide to plan the retail mix and the outdoor spaces and where the trees go, all of it is connected.”

When asked if she foresees selling future buildings in the development like Tower THREE, Parris described the initiative as a “massive innovation.”

“I think we’ll have to see where it goes. We would love to be able to include all different types of residences and buyers in our portfolio,” said Parris, noting that both pre-sale condos and the rental units have been successful already. 

“We’ve been really successful with the rental residences.

"Buying may not be right for some people right now and we’ve been able to engage that audience, and now I think there’s an opportunity for us to talk to this really big buyers' group that have immediate needs.

"They don’t know what they are going to be doing in six years; they want to move into something right now.

"I think if we’re able to show that this is something that makes a lot of sense for us and for buyers, then with 20 more towers ahead of us in just our one project, never mind the other ones in the region, I’d say we’re definitely keeping the door open for that.”

Three of SHAPE's Lougheed towers complete this summer

Parris said Metro Vancouver is a growing region and the City of Lougheed site is at the epicentre. 

“From an urban planning perspective there’s an opportunity for growth. It’s centrally located. It’s new at a highway,” she said.

“It’s connected to the master plan of the City of Lougheed and it’s the only SkyTrain (location) connected to a master plan that has three SkyTrain lines going to it. . . .

"It’s a really significant location and I think it’s a location that is strong enough to support this 20-tower long-term vision of the master plan.”

The first two towers are to be ready for move-in between June and August. Tower THREE is expected to be complete in July and includes a commercial podium with shops, restaurants and a PriceMart Foods grocery store. 

Selection ranges from one-bedroom residences to large three-bedroom penthouses.

All will feature air conditioning, concierge services, parcel storage lockers, EV charging options and access to a 22,000-plus-square-foot, three-level private amenity space complete with a fitness facility, entertaining lounges, meeting spaces, children’s play area and more.

Co-owned by SHAPE and TD Asset Management, The City of Lougheed is one of British Columbia’s largest master-planned, mixed-use developments that will feature housing, shops and restaurants, parks and public plazas in an area spanning 16 city blocks – 1.3 million square feet of shopping, dining and culture. 

SHAPE is the real estate investment, development and management company leading some of North America’s largest development projects.

With more than 370 acres in its portfolio, SHAPE currently manages five million square feet of commercial and residential space and has four million square feet under construction. 

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