25 January 2006


The ridiculous housing market in Victoria just hit a big wall -- or rather a hole.


About a year ago, after many public hearings and several re-designs, a parking lot in Old Town Victoria between Pandora and Fisgard street was closed off and torn up to begin work on the uber-hip live-work condominium development Bambu.

The project seemed to be in a permanent stall and was even set back by a suspicious fire in one building that was to be integrated into the facade. In September 2005, it was announced that Anthem Properties (who own and manage nearby Market Square) would be taking over the project.

The website touts that 90% of the high-tech units have been sold but oddly, buyers are now being offered a refund of their deposits with interest, plus "coupons" for $5,000 off if they chose to purchase under the new plan. In fact, Anthem is taking the project back to the drawing board -- literally -- and will be presenting a new plan to Victoria City Council in the coming weeks.

Oddly, it is only now that realtors are re-thinking the way they promote certain developments. The one realtor who went on camera last night (on A-Channel News) said he would no longer be recommending buyers purchase any unit they can't see and feel.

Good advice... a bit late though, if you ask me.

Tags: , , ,


Tim said...

The nature of that whole area is in total freefall, and my impression is that Anthem put on a backpack instead of a parachute. Look for more ridiculousness before the episode ends.

Note: There has been an option for a hotel at the Market Square site for some time now. Also, a number of retail leases at MS have not been renewed, and will end in the next two months (not Annabelle's). Anthem could try something really stupid there...

Cheryl said...

I knew about the leases (check out the CBC article I liked to the text "Market Square" -- they seem like they're banking on a "revitalization" that just ain't happening. Idiots.

Tim said...

Whoops. Missed that. But it's true -- they think they can just evoke a revitalized Old Town through development alone. I'm sure it looks wonderful as a 3-d mockup on the architect's computers. However, one thing that people often miss about architectural drawings is that the people are generally absent from them. You have to have some other plans for putting them in the picture. From what I've seen of Anthem's antics so far, there is no such plan.