Community Spotlight: Viewpoint at Vancouvercenter

Before I start on Viewpoint, a little news: Activity is picking up with a small batch of both new listings and closings last week. The inventory pressure remains about the same this week with sellers enjoying a slight advantage. The CCRA reviewed some minor modifications to the Waterfront Gateway district last Thursday. The updated plans show more details about public space in the development as well as some design modifications to the large building south of City Hall and the other southern structures as well. Nothing major in terms of changes. This development will fill the city owned vacant lots between City Hall and the BNSF railway and serve as a ‘gateway’ to the Waterfront.

OK Viewpoint at Vancouvercenter, what is it? This is a condominium project that offers four floors of condos on top of a seven story office tower. This was the third and tallest tower in the four tower Vancouvercenter development. The building was completed in 2004. The condos are located on floors eight through eleven and offered the best urban condominium views in the city at the time. Viewpoint still arguably offers the best views as the tower is slightly taller than Kirkland Tower at the waterfront and sits 20 feet higher in elevation as well. Those eleventh floor views still tower over all but two downtown buildings. The condos were offered as top tier luxury units in 2004. The project is now nearly 20 years old, but these units still hold up as excellent luxury options although no longer state of art.

Viewpoint (top right) soars over the rest of Vancouvercenter

Viewpoint has become a bit of a value proposition much as the neighboring Parkview that was in the spotlight last week. These units are running just a little more than half the price per square foot as the new ‘King of Condos’ Kirkland Tower. The HOA fees are also running at about half price as well. This by no means makes these ‘affordable’ as prices on a 2-2 with 1500 SF will still tickle a million dollars, but it does mean that a buyer can decide on a little less opulence and service in exchange for more space or a lower price when compared to the gold standard of local luxury at Kirkland.

Viewpoint units do have deeded spaces in the secure underground garage at level P3. The amenities in the tower, like Parkview are a bit limited but the location is hard to beat, just a half block off Esther Short Park in the heart of Downtown. It is an easy stroll to the Park, the Waterfront, and literally hundreds of restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, and retail stores. Like other mixed use office/residential projects Downtown, Viewpoint shares a lobby with the office tower. Although the building has excellent security the lobby is not technically as secure as an all residential tower during normal business hours.

With a name like Viewpoint, views are a big part of the appeal. It is here that this development delivers on the promise. Even the lower level condos on floor eight still offer views above all the neighboring structures. Parkview is seven floors, Coen & Columbia apartment towers are six and seven floors, and the new Block Ten project has a seven story apartment tower and a six story office. All of these are shorter than the eighth floor of this tower and all of these are modern structures unlikely to be replaced for decades. To the east there are no nearby tall structures, affording these east facing units an unobstructed view. City zoning protects the Main Street corridor from high-rise development so that view is also likely protected for decades to come. Compared to the Kirkland Tower which has forever protected views to the south of the Columbia River, Viewpoint has well protected views at 360º regardless of the floor or direction. Kirkland’s top two floors are almost certainly protected views in all directions but the lower floor units facing away from the river, have or will certainly have blocked views due to other tall structures rising up over the next few years. Where Viewpoint may lose some view appeal is the river; as tall structures rise up along the Waterfront, some units may see the water view disappear or become restricted to a peek-a-boo. These tall structures are far enough away to avoid being a blocked view, they may just hide some of the water views. East facing units will likely have protected river views as they look out across a portion of the river that is unlikely to see high-rise development in the future. east facing units also have some spectacular views of the Cascades and some notable tall volcanoes, such as Mount Hood, Mount St, Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Rainier.

Pro’s and Con’s to Viewpoint:

Top tier city viewsSome river views partially obstructed
Well protected viewslower units on floors 8-9 are close to the rooftops of nearby towers
Excellent locationBusy neighborhood tends to be a tad noisy
Type I construction, quiet and fire resistantno cons
Pricing is reasonable considering size and viewUnits are still fairly expensive overall
Patios/balconies Most units offer exterior patios, some are very largeSome patios are not covered
Deeded parking spacesSome spaces are non-designated
Large public garage underneath towerGuest and extra vehicle parking is expensive
Private elevator access separate from officesLobby is shared with office tower

Viewpoint remains one of my favorite condominium options in Vancouver’s city center. There are only 33 units so the community is small and tight. Leave a comment if you want a specific development ‘spotlighted’ next.

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