Here is the headline from a recent Columbian article regarding the Rediviva Apartment Building at the waterfront: “Waterfront Vancouver’s Rediviva lowers rent, hires new management team.” At first glance this headline might conjure up some negative connotations. Is the Waterfront losing steam? Is there trouble in paradise? But as has been the case for quite some years in the click bait modern media, one must read the entire article to get the “real story.”
The article goes on to state that Rediviva is 88% rented, and with the new competitor next store, Riverwest they want to get the building fully leased by the end of the year. Rediviva has 63 units and Riverwest has 207. Rediviva opened late last year and Riverwest just opened late spring this year. Riverwest has leased to 56% in just a few short months according to direct sources cited in the article.
My two cents is simply this, Rediviva was first to the playground so they rode the carousel first. They had the ONLY riverfront apartments for more than 6 months and they leased them at top dollar, especially those fronting the river. Now they have just a handful of units left, clearly the least desirable of the building and they are discounting to get to full occupancy. In fact they have 55 of 63 units rented they need only rent 4 more units to be at 95% which is considered to be a great occupancy rate. There is no fire, no need to head for exits.
The fact that Riverwest was able to get to more than half full in just 90 days is a spectacular endorsement to the success of the Waterfront. My friends, these are not affordable units, these are luxury units. I have toured multiple apartments in both buildings and they are very nice units that command top of the market pricing. The staff at both Rediviva and Riverwest were friendly, informative, and cheerful. Both of these apartment projects are a tremendous success, if anyone expected better results they are being unreasonable. When Riverwest reaches 75-80% occupancy, I would not be surprised to see a similar move as well to rent the remaining units that are for various reasons less desirable. Urban apartments and condos are in buildings that will have certain units in an unfavorable position, looking into another building’s windows or an obstructed view, etc. This is typical, and experienced urban developers plan for it, it should not be problematic.
Vancouver’s rental market was among the tightest in the nation and they have nowhere to go but down. The fact that 160 high end units were rented in less than a year bodes well for the project as a whole. The more development that gets going the better. I have been preaching to get these projects started while the economy is hot, and the money is flowing.
The waterfront still has most of the blocks empty and that will only be acceptable for a short period, Jackson Square Properties and Summit Development Group ought to get crackin’ on the Block 20 project and the Timberhouse on Block 3 respectively. As the neighborhood develops, it will only garner more demand as long as the economy continues to produce high paying jobs and investment money. Right now it is an incomplete project and some people will hold out until all the services are in place. A downtown grocer would also help, the city has been all over that, I imagine, they will put together a package of incentives to help land a grocer.
The Waterfront is a smashing success and it is imperative to keep the project moving forward with fresh construction underway at all times until it is built out. stagnation is the only thing that will derail the waterfront.
In closing, don’t be a headline chaser, read the article in full to get the ‘real story’.