The 21-storey, 107-apartment Harley House tower at 1230 Nelson St., in Vancouver’s West End has been acquired by one private owner from another in a $52-million transaction.
Calling it a “quintessential 1970s concrete high-rise that rarely trades,” principal Mark Goodman of Goodman Commercial Inc. said there was strong interest in the property when it was placed up for sale.
“It’s distinctive and it’s probably one of the best-located properties in the West End,” Goodman told RENX. “You are literally in the heart, just a few steps away from Nelson Park, you are only a few blocks from Denman and Davie Street, and Robson Street the high-end shopping destination.
“You’ve got transit a few blocks in any direction from the building.”
Goodman and fellow principal Cynthia Jagger handled the transaction, which closed on March 17.
“We delayed announcing it because unfortunately there are more important things happening in the world,” Goodman said, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic which has in many cases delayed or caused the cancellation of prospective transactions.
“We felt it’s important that the business world knows deals are still happening.”
Strong interest in Harley House
Goodman did not release information about the buyer or the seller, but documents obtained by RENX indicate the purchaser is a numbered company listed only as 1320 Nelson Holdings Ltd. Goodman did say both the vendor and buyer are “private family-based operator(s).”
“There was a lot of interest in the property. We actually sold it unconditionally.”
The purchase price represents a per-apartment price of $485,981, which Goodman called “market” for such a property in this area of the city.
“The last few deals we’ve been doing for wood-frame, West-Side property have been in the lower $400,000-per-unit range, around a three cap,” he explained. “This property is more rare, it’s concrete, we’re in the $486,000 range and I’d suggest the cap rate was in and around 2.75 per cent.
“This is a rare, once-in-a-generation type of acquisition.”
Completed in 1971, the building comprises about 94,500 square feet. Of the 107 apartments, eight are two-bedroom units and two are penthouse suites. The other 97 are one-bedroom units.
Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, bicycle storage, tenant lockers and an administrative office. A major selling point was that, “it’s got three levels of underground parking, which is great because parking is in high demand in the West End,” Goodman said.
Property could be intensified
The property has a total of 89 parking stalls.
Coincidentally, Goodman said the firm also sold a smaller apartment building next door, 1019 Bute, last month to a different buyer.
When asked about the future of the building, which is constructed on a 26,000-square-foot lot, Goodman suggested the new owner could intensify the property.
“I can’t see this building being demolished any time in the short, medium, or even long term. The city has had a moratorium in place for years, even longer in the West End compared to the balance of Vancouver,” he explained.
However, “there may be some infill opportunity, the city in the West End is encouraging that.”
He also said the current pandemic did not materially impact the transaction. Other than a few anxious moments as the parties conducted legal formalities in the final days, things went smoothly.
“We were worried, was the land title office going to be open? Could we convert this deal? Fortunately it happened,” he said.