Vancouver based investor acquires 3/4 acre in Harris Green

The parking lots beside View Street Towers have been acquired by Vancouver based multifamily investor, Gordon Nelson Group. Both the parcels have an OCP designation of ‘Core Residential’ which recommends an FSR of up to 5.5:1 with a height of up to 20 storeys.

In November 2016 Gordon Nelson acquired the two large surface parking lots at 930 Fort Street and 937 View Street for a combined price of $4,025,000. Gordon Nelson has since submitted two separate rezoning applications for each parcel. Gordon Nelson is an experienced multifamily investor with assets in Vancouver, Victoria, and Tofino.

More information on the two applications for multifamily apartments:
930 Fort Street 
937 View Street

Gordon Nelson later acquired a third adjacent property, 941 View Street, eight months after the initial acquisition of the surface parking lots. The Vendor of 941 View (1109614 B.C. Ltd.) who sold to Gordon Nelson (1121447 B.C. LTD.) only held the property for 2 months and made a gross profit of $275,000.

The recent acquisitions now provides the Gordon Nelson group with 33,186 square feet or 3/4 acre of prime development land in the Harris Green neighbourhood of downtown Victoria.

Gordon Nelson Land Acquisitions Downtown Victoria

PIDCivic AddressMunicipalityZone CodeZone DescriptionOCPRegistered OwnerLot SizeSales HistoryActual Land Use2016 Assessed Total Value
000-410-233937 VIEW ST VictoriaVictoriaR-48Harris Green DistrictUrban Place Designation: Urban Core Residential1092871 B.C. LTD.16,91711/30/2016 $3,371,035.00 Type: IMPRV SINGLE PROPERTY CASHPARKING (LOT ONLY, PAVED OR$2,871,500.00
004-121-325941 VIEW ST VictoriaVictoriaS-1Limited Service DistrictUrban Place Designation: Urban Core Residential1121447 B.C. LTD.7,2486/7/2017 $1,475,000.00 Type: IMPRV SINGLE PROPERTY CASH;

4/12/2017 $1,200,000.00 Type: IMPRV SINGLE PROPERTY CASH
000-416-592930 FORT ST VictoriaVictoriaCA-42Harris Green Commercial DistrictUrban Place Designation: Urban Core Residential1092874 B.C. LTD.9,02111/30/2016 $653,964.00 Type: MULTIPLE PROPERTYPARKING (LOT ONLY, PAVED OR$1,205,400.00

The Harris Green neighbourhood has seen a significant amount of investment from Vancouver based developers. The neighbourhood is centre stage for the over 2,000 dwelling units currently under construction. In the past 20 years it has had a 44% growth rate, the second highest in the City. Harris Green is a commercial centre secondary to downtown, with retail and business uses primarily along Johnson Street and Fort Street. This neighbourhood is the second most dense in the city with only five single detached homes.

56 unit multifamily proposed for north side of Hillside Mall

Abstract Developments has submitted a re-zoning application to the District of Saanich to permit a 56 unit multifamily apartment building.

Abstract’s 56 unit building sites encompasses 4 single family lots designated as 4-storey apartment in the Hillside Centre area of the Shelbourne Valley Plan.
1586, 1588, 1592 North Dairy Rd and 3200 Wordsworth Street

Civic AddressMunicipalityZone CodeZone DescriptionLocal Area PlanRegistered OwnerWidthDepthLot SizeSales HistoryYear Constructed2016 Assessed Total Value
1586 NORTH DAIRY RD SaanichSaanichRS-6Single Family Dwelling ZoneShelbourneNORTH DAIRY HOLDINGS INC.55.51407,7704/19/2016 $550,000.00 Type: MULTIPLE PROPERTY1953$574,100
1588 NORTH DAIRY RD SaanichSaanichRS-6Single Family Dwelling ZoneShelbourneNORTH DAIRY HOLDINGS INC.55.51407,7704/19/2016 $550,000.00 Type: MULTIPLE PROPERTY;

7/30/2002 $174,900.00 Type: IMPRV SINGLE PROPERTY CASH
1592 NORTH DAIRY RD SaanichSaanichRS-6Single Family Dwelling ZoneShelbourneNORTH DAIRY HOLDINGS INC.55.51407,7704/19/2016 $550,000.00 Type: VACANT SINGLE PROPERTY;

7/30/2002 $184,900.00 Type: IMPRV SINGLE PROPERTY CASH
3200 WORDSWORTH ST SaanichSaanichRS-6Single Family Dwelling ZoneShelbourneSELLARS, ELIZABETH MARDI55.51407,770Jan 2017

Project Overview

    • FSR: 1:1.66
    • 3 studio, 9 x 1 bed, 25 x 1bed + den, 9 x 2 bed, 10 x 2 bed + den = 56 units
    • contribution of $1500 per unit to the affordable housing fund.
    • Height: 4 storey
    • Parking:  39 ground level residential, 5 visitor, 1 pick-up/drop-off, 58 bike stalls
    • Acquisition Cost (4 lots): $2,236,700
    • Total Site Area:  31,080 sqft
    • Price/sqft land: $71.97
    • Price/buildable sqft: $43.35
    • Blended Price/lot: $559,175

The professional team driving the project is listed below:

Architect :- Low Hammond Rowe Architects Inc – 1590 Cedar Hill Cross Rd, Unit 300, Victoria V8Y 2P5 Ph: 250-472-8013
Developer :- Abstract Developments – 1976 Oak Bay Ave, Victoria V8R 1E2 Ph: 250-883-5579
Landscape Architect :- LADR Landscape Architects   – 495 Dupplin Rd, Unit 2B, Victoria V8Z 1B8 Ph: 250-598-0105
Structural Engineer :- Hoel Engineering – 40 Cadillac Ave, Unit 3A, Victoria V8Z 1T2 Ph: 250-475-6906
Civil Engineer :- JE Anderson and Assoc – Victoria – 4212 Glanford Ave, Victoria V8Z 4B7 Ph: 250-727-2214
Surveyor :- Powell and Associates – 2950 Douglas St, Unit 250, Victoria V8T 4N4 Ph: 250-382-8855

Cedar Hill Road – 3 Lot Subdivision

Aplomado Developments Ltd is seeking conditional approval to subdivide a ~24,655 sqft lot at 3601 Cedar Hill Road.

The irregular shaped 0.57 acre RS-6 zoned lot was purchased in November 2016 for $980,000 and subsequently sold again in May 2017 for $1,625,000 to LIKE A DREAM CONSTRUCTION LTD.

Value Metrics:
Price/sqft land: $65.91
Price/lot: $541,667

The original house will remain, and respect its historic roots as 1908 McMorran Residence. Developer submission available here. 

Headwater Projects assembles two multifamily sites in Fairfield

Headwater Projects, a Vancouver based multi-family investment group has recently acquired two neighbouring buildings in the coveted Fairfield neighbourhood.

two parcel land assembly. 575 Vancouver Street and 1009 Fairfield Road.

Civic Address Lot Size (sqft) # Units Purchase Price
1009 Fairfield Road 10,797 18 $3,075,000
575 Vancouver St 10,820 16 $3,175,000
Total 21,617  34 $6,250,000

The combined site yields approx. 121×178′ corner lot on two neighbourhood collector roads only 10 minutes from Victoria inner harbour, and a short stroll to vibrant Cook Street Village retail area. Both parcels are zoned R3-AM-1 which bases density based on the total number of storeys. For example, a 3-storey building (which currently exists on subject sites) offers a FSR of 0.9. While a 4 storey building would allow for an FSR of 1.2.

Acquisition Overview Stats:

Price/door: $183,824  (far below that of Victoria’s avg of $214,000)
Price/sqft land: $289

In 2016, the Vancouver based investment group made its first foray in Victoria with the acquisition of 2626 Cook Street, a 33-unit four-storey woodframe building. Nonalee Mansions transacted for $4,400,000 and subsequently underwent significant renovations. The ‘reno-victions’ of tenants generated some media attention. Furthermore, the popularity of multifamily investors who acquire, evict, and renovate has stirred up larger concerns at Victoria City Hall, leading to a 6 month moratorium on apartment building demolitions. City Councillors unanimously approved a resolution not to accept applications to demolish existing residential rental buildings containing more than four units when the rental vacancy rate is below four per cent “to the greatest extent possible within the city’s legal authority.”

Headwater Projects investment style is to buy and improve older wood-frame buildings in central neighbourhood’s. They aim to provide condo like amenities to renters.

This is a clear example of mainland investors seeking higher returns in Victoria. The lower mainland continues to have constrained inventory, compressed cap rates, and heavy competition leading investors to seriously look at Victoria, which shares many of the same market fundamentals.

1009 Fairfield Road, 3 storey wood frame building with 18 units

Update: Headwater acquires a fourth multifamily property, 1255 Grant Street.

Ask:  $3,690,000
Sold: $3,880,000

Price/door: $155,200
NOI: $130,000
Cap: 3.35%


62 unit condominium tower proposed for Harris Green parking lot

Update: Gordon Nelson has now acquired a third property, 941 View    Street. Additional information available here. 

930 Fort Street, a paved surface parking lot to the east of View Towers has been purchased  by Gordon Nelson Group, a prominent rental apartment owner in Vancouver and Victoria. The Vancouver based investor concurrently purchased 937 View Street, a larger sized parking lot on the north side of 930 Fort St.

Gordon Nelson is now pursuing to branch out into new lines of business by developing strata condominiums that will held and operated as rentals. Developers Dan Robbins and Fraser McColl have submitted a rezoning application to the city of Victoria for a 62 unit strata condominium tower with commercial retail uses at street level. The developer is seeking a CD zone from the existing CA-42 Harris Green Commercial District. 

Site Acquisition: 

Civic AddressLot Size (sqft)Zone CodeZone DescriptionOCPTransaction HistoryRegistered Owner
930 FORT ST Victoria9020CA-42Harris Green Commercial DistrictUrban Place Designation: Urban Core Residential$653,964 Nov 20161092874 B.C. LTD.
937 VIEW ST Victoria16917R-48Harris Green DistrictUrban Place Designation: Urban Core Residential$3,371,035 Nov 20161092871 B.C. LTD.

Total land acquisition: $4,024,999
Aggregate Site Size: 25,938 sqft
Price/sqft land: $155

The application being discussed in this post is solely for 930 Fort Street, and has been submitted by Sakura Project Management. Separate plans have been submitted for 937 View Street.

62 Unit Condo Tower at 930 Fort

Proposed FSR: 5.41
Buildable Sqft: 48,798
Price/buildable if granted approval: $13.40

The main level will have two commercial retail units (CRU’s) with a respective size of 671 square feet and 789 square feet. The building will also feature an LED light strip on the exterior adding some colour to the vibrant upper Fort Street.

The limited 32 parking stalls (0.5/unit) will be split among 3 levels.
P2 – 5 parking stalls, P1 – 14 parking stalls, Main – 13 parking stalls

Current zoning requires a parking ratio of 1/residential unit and 1 stall for every 400 sqft of retail space. If city council were to uphold the CA-42 parking requirements, approximately 66 parking stalls would be required for this size of development. However, the developer is asking for parking relaxations, among other relaxations, in proposed CD zone due to the central downtown location, future bikeway system along Fort Street, frequent transit service, and implementation of car-share and 88 secure bicycle parking spaces.

Suite Mix:

Unit TypeAvg. size (sqft)               # Units% of total
1 bedrooms555300.48
2 bedrooms800200.32
3 bedroom (penthouse)136620.04

The Harris Green Neighbourhood is Victoria’s smallest neighbourhood in size and population but has seen the 2nd highest growth rate at 44% as well as being the second most dense within the city. The neighbourhood is currently experiencing a building boom with projects such at The Legato, 989 Johnson, 1088 Johnson, 1075 Pandora, The Wade, Black & White, and The Jukebox.

Dan Robbins and Fraser McColl’s application is currently being reviewed by city staff who will provide feedback. It likely major revisions will be made to satisfy the impacts of this proposed 12 storey building before going to Committee of the Whole.

Three New Duplexes, residential infill site in Jubilee neighbourhood

Foster Properties has submitted a rezoning application for a CD comprehensive development to the City of Victoria for a residential infill project in the Jubilee / Oak Bay Ave neighbourhood.

1530, 1536/38, 1540 Bank Street Assembly

PIDCivic AddressZone CodeOCPRegistered OwnerWidthDepthLot SizeSales HistoryYear ConstructedActual Land Use2016 Assessed Total Value
001-754-5641530 BANK ST VictoriaR1-BUrban Place Designation: Traditional ResidentialFOSTER, WAYNE601358,1004/10/2015 $625,000.00 1911TRIPLEX$948,000.00
009-189-9981536 BANK ST VictoriaR1-BUrban Place Designation: Traditional ResidentialFOSTER, WAYNE601358,1004/10/2015 $575,000.00 1908DUPLEX, NON-STRATA UP / DOWN$875,000.00
004-786-9631540 BANK ST VictoriaR1-BUrban Place Designation: Traditional ResidentialPELOQUIN, MARC ELPHEGE401355,4003/31/2016 $875,000.00 1912RESIDENTIAL DWELLING WITH SUITE$861,000.00

Development Site Overview:

Width: 160′
Depth: 135′
Size: 21,600 square feet

Metrics of Value:

Acquisition / Land Cost: $2,075,000
Land cost / square foot: $96

Proposed FSR: 0.46
Cost / buildable sqft: $209
Proposed Lot Coverage: 33.2%

The OCP supports revitalization opportunities for residential intensification.

The two existing residential structures (the triplex at 1530 and single family at 1540) are to remain intact, but will be fully renovated. The middle lot (1536/1538) will be demolished. Foster intends to build a new construction duplex on the site, with a shared driveway accessing the rear of the property where two new duplex  structures (4 dwelling units) will be constructed, made possible by the depth of these lots.

The new duplex structures will be largely unseen from the street, respecting the single family neighbourhood feel. The proposed layout offers sufficient parking and the design is well executed. Victoria City Council should recognize this as a welcomed refresh to the housing stock. The neighbourhood has strong demand drivers due to proximity to Royal Jubilee Hospital, retail district on Oak Bay Avenue, and variety of transportation options to downtown, Camosun college, and University of Victoria.

Input has been given from various departments, and will be reviewed in its entirety by the Committee of the Whole (CotW) in Spring 2017.

For more information on this project, or if you’re looking to acquire similar development sites contact Dustin Miller at Colliers Victoria.

Designer :- Ryan Hoyt Designs Inc – 3542 Blanshard St, Unit 203, Victoria V8X1W3 Ph: 250-999-9893
Developer :- Norm Foster Properties –
General Contractor :- Philco Construction  – 2506 Beacon Ave, Unit 111, Sidney V8L 1Y2 Ph: 250-589-0286
Surveyor :- Powell and Associates – 2950 Douglas St, Unit 250, Victoria V8T 4N4 Ph: 250-382-8855


Greater Victoria Multifamily Update 2017

With so much activity ($127M) in the multi-family sector in 2016, it is no doubt that investors will continue to flock to this asset class in 2017. Colliers Multifamily Apartment team has secured the largest market share in YTD dollar volume with over $29M in sales.

So often, we hear the term ‘fundamentals‘. We are constantly being told that strong fundamentals support the price levels, and that there is no foreseeable decline in demand. Let’s take a look and see exactly why Victoria continues to paint a positive story for investors.

0.5% Vacancy 

Sustained demand for rental housing compressed Greater Victoria’s vacancy rate to 0.5% in 2016. Vancouver experienced a vacancy rate of 0.7% earning Victoria the title of most competitive rental market in Canada.

5.5% Rent Growth

James Bay saw the strongest rent growth of 7.4%, while the West Shore increased the least due to the delivery of over 200 new units. Overall, rent growth was 5.5% across the region in 2016.

*Data was not available for other areas of Greater Victoria.

1,800 Under Construction: Langford lead the region in multiple dwelling starts in Q1 2017. Currently over 500 purpose-built rental units are under construction in downtown Victoria. Absorption of these new rental units is rapid, with many buildings achieving full lease out within the first few weeks.

24,000 Rental Unit Stock: The stock of rental apartments remained relatively unchanged from the previous year as aging units were removed out of the overall stock for renovation. Victoria’s apartment stock is tired and aging, with over 80% of the units being pre-1970’s.  A significant amount of renovations and new product is being prepared for lease at higher rates.

3.8% Unemployment:

Victoria leads the country in employment growth with strong job creation in technology, services, and government. Strong migration of the 16-24 age group is a key driver to rental demand. Acceleration in single family home prices keeps many would-be first time homebuyer in the rental market.

3.0 – 5.5% CAP rate

Cap rates range significantly on apartment transactions. Downtown, Oak Bay, James Bay, and Fairfield enjoy the lowest cap rates in the region at under 4%. Lower quality and smaller buildings in the suburban areas require higher cap rates as cap-ex, tenant quality, and location are compromised. It is important to note a myriad of variables are to be considered on each transaction: suite mix, rent/sf, rent leaseable area, buildings’ age and condition, location, frame or highrise, strata vs non-strata, land value (development site), special financing.

2.3% GDP

Real GDP is expected to be in excess of $16B in 2017, a growth of 2.3%. The previous year, 2016, yielded an impressive growth of 2.6% placing Victoria in the top 10 Canadian cities. Recent surpluses posted by the B.C. government are now leading to increased public spending, prompting output gains in the previously sluggish public administration and noncommercial services sectors. Victoria Shipyards is showing growth with a contract to upgrade 5 frigates for the Royal Canadian Navy, and refit of diesel submarines. The Federal government granted the facility $36M to upgrade weapon systems on 5 patrol frigates beginning in 2018.

0.5% Overnight Rate BOC

The central bank eased off expectations of an interest rate hike, leaving the overnight unchanged at 0.5% in the May 24, 2017 announcement. This low interest rate environment has compelled investors to refinance existing properties, rather than sell outright, in order to unlock built up equity in their portfolio (one reason why supply / inventory of apartment buildings is low). Today financial institutions and lenders are charging only 100 – 200 basis points above the 5 year bond rate (risk free rate). Investors are starting to perceive this as ‘free’ money. Supply of capital > supply of investment grade real estate.
Mortgage loans are primarily influenced by the yield on Canadian government bonds (bond yields) of corresponding maturity. This is because bond rates represent the benchmark for financial institutions’ cost of funds. The difference between the two rates (mortgage rates and bond yields) represents the yield that financial institutions require to lend the funds out on the mortgage market.

68 Unit Apartment Building Proposed in Gordon Head

Kang & Gill Construction Ltd is undergoing a Development Permit and Rezoning Application for the below listed properties. The proposed rezone to RA-1 (Apartment Zone) would allow for a 68 unit apartment building with underground parking.

Kang Gill Land Acquisiton Shelbourne

PIDCivic AddressZone CodeLot Size (sf)Sales HistoryYear BuiltActual Land Use2016 Assessed Total Value
017-561-3614024 SHELBOURNE STRS-6 10,057 4/17/2015 $475,000.00 1949 SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING $506,200.00
017-561-3534028 SHELBOURNE STRS-611,2787/31/2015 $700,000.001995TRIPLEX$871,000.00
018-508-5114030 SHELBOURNE STRD-17,08010/30/2015 $500,000.001993DUPLEX, STRATA SIDE BY SIDE$618,000.00
018-508-5294032 SHELBOURNE STRD-14,24610/30/2015 $350,000.001954DUPLEX, STRATA SIDE BY SIDE$396,200.00
010-906-5924036 SHELBOURNE STRS-611,88410/30/2015 $660,000.001988SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING$581,000.00
TOTAL44,545$2,685,000 $2,466,200

Kang & Gill Construction assembled the site over 7 months in 2015, for a total acquisition cost of $2,685,000 for a 44,545 square foot (1.02 acre) parcel. After dedication the site size will be reduced to roughly 38,782 square feet.

The proposed development would have a FSR of 1.7 and a lot coverage of 39%. This density gives a metric of $35 per buildable square foot.

The proposed development, ‘Affinity’, is immediately north of the recently completed 56 unit Boulevard development. Affinity would be similar to the Boulevard Building at 4000 Shelbourne. The development will likely be stratified condo units for sale. However, this building cannot restrict rentals as per a covenant with the District of Saanich. Many units will ultimately be rented, whether it is condo or a pure-play rental building, as the area has strong demand drivers for rental product.

Variances are requested for: building setback, building height, parking, and fence height.

Height: The applicant is targeting a 5 storey development with a proposed height of 14.8 metres.

Parking: 68 for residents, and 14 visitor = 82 parking stalls. This is below what the RA-1 zoning requires, which would be 102 spaces.

Community Contributions of $310,000.

The proposal has gained support from the Director of Planning and will be submitted to other departments and council for further discussion. For more information on the status of this site contact Dustin Miller.

Architect :- Misra Architect Ltd – 2335 Arbutus Rd, Victoria V8N 1V6 Ph: 250-477-2934
Developer :- Kang and Gill Construction – 937 Dunford Ave, Unit 105, Victoria V9B 2S4 Ph: 250-590-3140
Landscape Architect :- LADR Landscape Architects   – 495 Dupplin Rd, Unit 2B, Victoria V8Z 1B8 Ph: 250-598-0105
Civil Engineer :- McElhanney Consulting Services – Victoria – 3960 Quadra St, Unit 500, Victoria V8X 4A3 Ph: 250-370-9221

7 New Single Family Homes coming to North Quadra

A two lot land assembly has been granted conditional approval for a seven lot single family subdivision from the District of Saanich in the North Quadra neighbourhood.

The two lot site was acquired by Gurdeep Binning of Saanich in 2016. New single family infill development is rare in Saanich, and this will be a welcomed addition to an already established neighbourhood.

Civic Address Lot Size (sqft) Zoning Purchase Price
4040 Saanich Road 30,021 RS-6 Single Family $1,250,000
971 Lakeview 18,665 RS-6 Single Family $730,000
Total 48,686 $1,980,000

This land assembly achieved a 7 lot subdivision with the District of Saanich. The existing zoning is generous enough to allow the subdivision of 3 fee-simple lots and 4 bare-land strata lots.

Metrics of Value:

Price/lot = $282,857
Price/sqft land = $40.67

The site has many environmental sensitivities. Additional density will require road widening, rock blasting, and servicing upgrades. As a result, 29% of the site will be an environmental covenant. A total of 67 trees are included in the tree plan. 13 trees will be removed during the site servicing phase, and 17 during the building permit phase. Many will be replaced after full build out.

The site was marketed and sold by Dustin Miller.


20 unit apartment building transacts in James Bay

AGB Properties, a privately owned apartment operator recently sold one of its three James Bay assets.

The Vancouver based buyer incorporated under 40 BOYD HOLDINGS LTD.

The apartment building offers 20 units, hard wood floors, recently updated roof, and renovated foyer.

Civic AddressZone CodeLot SizeAcquisiton Cost & DateYear ConstructedActual Land Use2016 Assessed Value
40 BOYD STR3-216,050$4,300,000 Feb 201719643 Storey Walkup$3,249,000

Price/Unit $215,000 /Sqft Land $268

Situated footsteps from Dallas Road waterfront, Menzies, and Beacon Hill Park this property is attractively situated. This was an off-market transaction.