The $60-million property is currently the site of the two-building commercial Keybridge Centre at 6851-6871 Elmbridge Way.
“It’s a premier waterfront location that still has a lot of infill development which is taking place there right now. It is rapidly transforming with the river district that is being developed by Aspac,” said Bal Atwal, principal with Avison Young in Vancouver which brokered the transaction.
“There has also been some infill development in and around that area with the likes of Onni, Intracorp, Cressy – major developers in Metro Vancouver.
“This is the next piece that will likely get developed in the coming years.”
Landa Group of companies is a Vancouver-based firm which has focused on multifamily development projects in Metro Vancouver.
It has developed eight projects and currently has several others in various stages of planning and development, including the world’s tallest Passive House structure 1400 Alberni and the luxury 1650 Alberni multiresidential tower.
Mixed-use development planned
Bene Development, which is based in Richmond, had negotiated with the city to rezone the property for 472,000 square feet of mixed-use density. The plan included three residential towers up to 16 storeys as well as a hotel, retail, commercial, parks and public space.
“They had gone through several revisions on their plan and had gotten quite far along with the city on their application, but it didn’t come with a development permit in hand,” Atwal told RENX in an interview.
“With the decision to sell the property, with the new group coming in, there are likely to be some revisions to put their own stamp on it.”
The site is within walking distance of a SkyTrain station and downtown Richmond. It’s about 15 minutes from Vancouver International Airport and 30 minutes from both downtown Vancouver and the U.S. border.
Among the other developments in the area is the River Green master-planned community, a multi-phase development by Aspac which could see up to 2,600 residential units constructed adjacent to the Richmond Oval.
Onni Group also recently developed Ora, a grocery-anchored mixed-use residential building with 323 condos.
Sale affected by Metro Vancouver slump
The 6851-6871 Elmbridge property went on the market early in 2019, but when the Metro Vancouver market suffered a decline in real estate values, the original asking price needed to be adjusted.
“Pricing expectations were significantly higher at the time,” Atwal explained. “As the market started to adjust downward over the last six to 12 months, the pricing expectations started to adjust downward as well until we got to a stabilized number that made sense to the buyer and seller.
“I would say the interest started to pick up significantly near the start of the third quarter of 2019. We started to get a lot more inquiries and then as pricing expectations started to came down, it was just a matter of time.
“Late last year, we were able to get the property under contract which led to closing early this year.”
Bene had bought the site in 2014 for a reported $31.3 million.
One-third of density for commercial
Atwal said he current zoning allows for one-third of the total density to be commercial uses.
“I think one of the unique aspects of this site is it’s a great location for potentially a hotel or strata office development and there is flexibility to do either/or,” he noted. “It will be interesting to find out what the buyer’s plans are, which route they decide to go.
“Personally, I think it would be a fantastic location for a hotel.”
A combination of government policy initiatives, a generally more cautious mood in the market and a pullback in international investment pulled down real estate values in Metro Vancouver last year.
However, Atwal said deals such as this one point to something of a recovery in 2020.
“It does show that the market has started to turn around. We’ve had a bit of a dry spell over the last six to 12 months . . . (but now) we are starting to see a bit more traction,” he observed, citing continued strong market fundamentals.
“There’s lots of groups out there that have projects coming to an end in terms of their development pipelines (and) those developers are looking for new projects to take on. The demand is still there for the end products.
“We anticipate a lot more activity this year.”
This full service Vancouver realtor enables clients to make strategic real estate decisions – Vancouver Is Awesome
A child’s crayon drawing, showing three happy people in front of their new home, graces the office of Andrew Lasko of Lasko and Associates. It was a gift from the eight-year-old daughter of a couple from the Philippines – a thank-you gesture for helping the immigrant family purchase a house in Canada by matching their budget with a motivated private seller.
While there have been many such satisfactory outcomes throughout his 10-plus years as a realtor, providing “full service and the right kind of experience for every client” takes effort, especially in a fast-paced and constantly evolving real estate market, says Lasko. “I keep this picture around and on tough days, I look at it and remind myself of why I’m doing what I do.”
The idea of “full service” means different things to different people, and Lasko strives to gauge the exact level for ensuring his clients are comfortable. “That’s why it’s important to start with a conversation to understand their expectations,” he says. “It’s not just about whether they are looking for two or five bedrooms or what kind of amenities they want nearby. I am interested in learning what process works best for them; for example, do they like to be hands-on? Or do they prefer to outsource as many tasks as possible?”
His background in financial planning and analysis in the real estate, urban planning, banking and auditing industries – combined with a passion for community-building – give Lasko an advantage when it comes to enabling clients to make strategic real estate decisions.
He values “a methodical approach and due diligence” for collaboratively navigating an industry, where structures are useful but market trends sometimes require a quick response. That’s where experience is a big asset, he believes.
“Over time, you get to know buying patterns; you see where things are offered and where people are looking,” says Lasko. “I can help you explore real estate as a step towards achieving your overall financial and lifestyle goals. I can also speak intelligently about a range of financial products.”
With many of his clients being busy professionals, including accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers, Lasko aims to minimize the stress that can come with selling or buying a home. “I have pretty big shoulders, so you can trust me to carry much of the load,” he says. “And I’m constantly challenging myself to go the extra mile, to uphold the ethics – and improve the reputation – of the profession.”
Lasko grew up in Toronto and lived in Sydney, Australia, and Copenhagen, Denmark, before settling in Vancouver in 2007. Moving frequently inspired an appreciation of the “emotional strain that can come with the process, even if you’re super-organized.
“The last time I moved, I had a spreadsheet. I hired a packer and a mover,” he recalls. “I was going to wake up in one place and go to sleep in another.”
Needless to say, it wasn’t quite as stress-free as anticipated, he admits, and experiences like this have reinforced his commitment to offering his clients “the right experience.
“I really focus my attention on what they need,” says Lasko, who loves to discover commonalities, for example, in demographic or socio-economic backgrounds. With his ties to the financial, Jewish and LGBTQI+ communities and his active lifestyle, there is always overlap, “like a Venn diagram,” he notes.
Lasko also hopes to help enhance his clients’ financial flexibility, perhaps by discovering unrealized value. “I love the fact that I can help people enter the market with a condo,” he says, “and move their way up to million-dollar estates.”
His efforts and results have not gone unnoticed, and Lasko has repeatedly earned professional recognition. Yet what matters most is when clients tell him he’s “the best realtor,” says Lasko. “This gives me the shivers, in a good way.”
Andrew Lasko is featured in the 2022 Excellence in Real Estate Magazine.
The Pro and Cons of Real Estate Investing: What You Need To Know – ReadWrite
The outlook for the stock market and much of the economy remains uncertain. That being the case, many investors are looking for alternative spots to grow their portfolios. One of the best choices for a number of reasons is real estate. This exciting field offers benefits both obvious and less well-known that make it an excellent option for your money. But it’s not suitable for everyone. Read on for an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing.
Pros of Investing in Real Estate
Many folks are familiar with some of the advantages of investing in real estate. But unless you’ve taken a closer look, you may miss out on some less well-known but equally valuable benefits.
Multiple Ways to Make Money
Real estate investments offer numerous ways to make money, regardless of your strategy.
For example, owning a rental property doesn’t just make you money from the cash flow you receive each month after the property’s mortgage and bills are paid. It also quietly earns money from appreciation as the property grows in value over time. At the same time, you bank additional money each month when you make the mortgage payment. This allows tenants to pay down the loan’s principal.
Not only will you be able to deduct actual expenses required to operate and maintain the property, but you can also take a write-off for depreciation.
This on-paper expense costs you nothing out of pocket but can reduce your tax bill. When you sell the property in the future, you may also be able to take advantage of lower tax rates on capital gains. Alternatively, you might defer taxes entirely by buying a similar property in what’s known as a 1031 exchange.
Protects Against Inflation
Inflation has been a major topic of discussion over the past months as prices continue to grow across the economy. These conditions are ideal for holding a tangible asset like an investment property.
As prices go up, the value of your property tends to increase as well, helping you avoid much of the pain of inflation. At the same time, you’ll be paying back your loan in “cheaper” dollars, generally at a long-term fixed rate. As rents and other income grow over time, your mortgage payments will typically remain the same, improving your returns.
Diversifies Your Portfolio
All too often, people have their whole nest egg invested in the stock market, bonds, or similar financial instruments. This means that they’ve tied their long-term wealth entirely to these financial markets.
Real estate investments offer critical diversification, a key to any balanced portfolio. Few people can truly avoid economic downturns, but having diversified investments means you can lessen the blow and come out the other side as strong as ever.
You Don’t Need a Lot of Money to Get Started
Many people may ignore real estate, thinking they don’t have the cash to find a deal.
This isn’t necessarily the case. Aside from common strategies like rental property investing or house flipping, real estate investors can also get started in low- or no-money-down systems like wholesale real estate.
Those who sell wholesale real estate do the legwork of finding great deals. They usually do this by aggressive and creative marketing to owners who may not even initially consider selling their home. Once they’ve found a willing seller, they connect them with a previously identified buyer who has the cash for an investment property but not the time to search for great deals.
For their work, the wholesaler typically receives a fee. They profit by selling the contract on the property to the end investor at a slightly higher price.
As you can see, this requires little initial investment from those interested in wholesale real estate, other than marketing costs and time spent networking with potential buyers and sellers. It can be an ideal way for would-be real estate investors to generate some capital. They can do so while growing their connections in the local market.
Real estate investors who are just getting started can also use more passive means like REITs, which are essentially mutual funds that hold real estate investments. These are basically hands-off investments but usually generate the lowest returns with the fewest incidental advantages.
Cons of Investing in Real Estate
Like any investment, real estate isn’t perfect and isn’t right for everyone. Before rushing into the real estate investment world, consider the following to avoid a potentially unpleasant surprise down the road.
Many Strategies Require Lots of Cash
We mentioned wholesale real estate above as an example of a low- or no-money-down strategy. However, wholesale isn’t for everyone and every situation, and many other strategies do require a significant amount of money.
Depending on the property type and location, this could be anywhere from the low five figures to six figures or more. For some, this isn’t an unreasonable amount of money. But for others just getting started, it might prevent them from taking advantage of good deals when they arise.
Investments Usually Aren’t Easily ‘Liquidable’
Most real estate investments are long term. If you put down ten or twenty grand on a mortgage, you’re generally unable to access that money without selling the property, ending the investment.
In some cases, you may be able to take out loans or lines of credit to access the equity in properties without selling. However, these come with various fees and restrictions and take time to process. Therefore, real estate investments aren’t the best choice for those who may need to access their money quickly and easily down the road.
Time (or Extra Money) Required
While many investments may be able to grow on their own with little management or involvement, real estate is not among them. You’ll need to deal with finding tenants, conducting maintenance, and other day-to-day requirements of owning a property. Some may find their enthusiasm for real estate investing flagging after the third call in a week for a clogged toilet or locked-out tenant.
Of course, property management companies exist for precisely this reason, allowing professionals to take care of these things so you don’t have to. But you’ll need to give up some of your returns to pay any property managers, who usually take a cut of the rent they collect for you each month.
A Great Deal Lies Outside Your Control
You may do everything right when it comes to finding the right property, picking the right tenant, and managing correctly. Still, real estate investors face lots of factors outside their control.
The city your property is located in may change rental rules or zoning. Similarly, a huge new housing development could open up nearby. Your property’s ideal neighbors may sell their home. They might be replaced by party animals who leave their lawn covered in trash. These are just a few downsides you’re exposed to that you’ll often have little notice of or way to avoid.
Real Estate Investing: A Top Way to Grow Your Money…But Not For Everyone
Those looking to grow their portfolio will find few better ways than real estate investing. From long-term buy-and-holds to wholesale real estate, there are so many strategies for investors to tailor to their financial needs and resources.
Still, it’s crucial to remember that real estate may not be right for all investors. You should assess your situation and any potential deals carefully before jumping in. Who knows? You may be on the verge of an investment that changes your financial situation forever!
Image Credit: RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thanks!
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