The Bosa Waterfront Centre, one of the more high-profile commercial real estate projects of the past half-decade or so in Vancouver, is now complete.
Bosa Waterfront, also known as 320 Granville, has been in the works since at least 2017, with its completion date pushed back several times since then, from 2021 all the way to Q1 2023, likely at least in-part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The developer of the building, Bosa Development, did not respond to an inquiry made by STOREYS, but the building’s completion was confirmed by Strand Development, another local developer, whose new office will be in the building. A Strand representative told STOREYS that the company will be moving in at the end of month.
When Bosa Development launched sales on the first 15 storeys of 320 Granville in Fall 2017 (later extended to the first 18 storeys), not only did all of the strata units sell out within a week, prices surpassed $2,000 per sq. ft, an astronomical figure that remains unbeaten all these years later.
“$2,000 is still the high-water mark, even now,” Vancouver-based Senior Vice President at Colliers Dan Jordan told STOREYS in an interview in February. “There hasn’t really been any other project that got close, and the next highest has been north of $1,600 in Mount Pleasant.”
Asked how that high-water mark was achieved, Jordan pointed to a variety of factors that seemingly came together at the perfect time for Bosa Development.
A big factor is the location of the building. Located on 320 Granville Street at the intersection with West Cordova Street, the building is directly across the street from Waterfront Station, the main transit terminus station in Vancouver — where two of Metro Vancouver’s three SkyTrain lines, the West Coast Express, buses, and the SeaBus all meet — while also being in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, and in extreme proximity to the city’s central business district, the Vancouver Convention Centre, and historic Gastown.
The fact that the building is “stunning,” Jordan says, also helped. The 30-storey, Class AAA office building with an average floorplate size of 13,500 sq. ft was designed by New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates — who have designed buildings on multiple continents — and has a unique horizontal wave exterior rather than a traditional straight and square design.
The building is also LEED Gold Certified, and will include amenities such as a cafe on the ground floor; a fully-equipped health and wellness centre on the second floor; a social lounge with a dining space, garden, and fire pit on the rooftop level; and a building app that integrates amenities and services.
Another factor was that the demand for office space was quite high at the time when supply was fairly low, with an overall vacancy rate below 3%. The economy was also humming at the time, Jordan says, and interest rates were, accordingly, low.
The Bank of Canada’s overnight rate at the time was just 1%. It is now 4.5% after the latest announcement this month, and while the overall office vacancy rate is also significantly higher now, at 6.5%, Vancouver’s vacancy (along with Victoria) remains the lowest in Canada.
Commercial listings for strata office units within the Bosa Waterfront Centre have not been hard to find over the last few months, all of which are for resale, Jordan says, as working from home has become the norm for many and companies that want to maintain a physical presence are often right-sizing their operations.
However, while those aspects — along with the “flight to quality” — continue to remain key factors that those in the commercial real estate sector are monitoring, one thing that has not changed, even with the Bosa Waterfront Centre, is the price. The current price for a unit listed in the building? $2,100 sq. ft.
Howard is a Staff Writer at STOREYS. He is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has also written about media for One Zero and international politics for WhoWhatWhy. Before STOREYS, he was also the Deputy Editor of 604 Now.