Most of us have wondered what it’s like to live in a vast, multimillion-dollar, hyper-luxury condo in downtown Vancouver. Perhaps you’re even a luxury real estate buyer with a few million burning a hole in your pocket, wondering which fabulous downtown pad to call your home.
Either way, the Private Residences at Hotel Georgia will have no doubt caught your eye, towering 48 floors above the downtown core. So, to sate all our curiosity, REW.ca jumped at the offer of a private tour of the penthouse and the five sub-penthouses that are currently listed for sale.
The Building and Community
Approaching the towering, angular building, it is clear that the Private Residences are both connected to and distinct from the Hotel Georgia itself. There is a fourth-level connecting floor between the old and new buildings, which houses the Reflections bar and its roof terrace, the gym, spa and pool. In fact the geometric shapes above the porte-cochere offer a blurry upwards glimpse through frosted glass into the pool itself, which is directly above.
The tour begins in the glamorous lobby with a $250,000 crystal chandelier, where REW is greeted by Bruce Langereis, the president of developer Delta Land Group who lives in the building and is its ambassador, and managing broker Yvonne Drinovz. In the plush elevator it is apparent that Langereis is a popular face around the building – he is greeted as an old friend by a resident, with whom he jokes about a dish of hers that he has clearly enjoyed. Despite the building’s luxury, there is an immediate sense of community.
Langereis says that this is something that he and the staff have worked hard to nurture. He explains that a lot of families live in the building and that it has a very different feel than other hotel residences. “I hand-picked all the staff myself, and probably spent upwards of $10,000 a year on tips,” he adds.
Residents naturally have access to all the amenities and services that the Hotel Georgia offers, some of which are free to residents, such as the pool and gym. Others, like the spa, and services such as housekeeping are “pay as you play,” says Langereis. He points out there is no minimum monthly spend with the hotel, unlike many other hotel condos.
On the 45th floor we enter one of five listed sub-penthouses – the smartly staged south-facing 4501, boasting 270-degree views and one of the iconic triangular balconies jutting out high above Howe Street. It has four bedrooms, a den and a media room in 3,784 square feet, along with a sizable but not huge living room, a generous dining space and an open-plan kitchen with top-notch finishings and appliances.
The master bedroom has incredible English Bay, Stanley Park and Lion’s Gate Bridge views – how many people living downtown could watch fireworks from their bed? There’s a beautiful dressing room and a white marble master bathroom with classy touches like a cast-iron tub and in-floor heating. The second bedroom has a bathroom and walk-in closet, plus its own entrance from the hallway – a fire regulation requirement that happily turns the space into an ideal nanny, granny or guest suite.
The result of having so many rooms in the unit is a sense of intimacy and livability rather than excess luxury. Despite the huge floorplan, no individual room is particularly large – making this a functional home designed for a family and visiting friends rather than wealthy individuals who might prefer larger entertaining spaces.
The six sub-penthouses, on floors 45-47, each take up half of a floor – with one, the south-facing 47th-floor unit, already sold for over $8 million. The five remaining listed units are on the market for between $7.7 million and $8.1 million, and range from 3,483 to 3,784 square feet. That’s around $2,100 to $2,270 per square foot, for anyone who’s counting.
What about strata fees? They come in at around 52 cents per square foot for these units – so that would be around $1,800-$1,950 a month. It sounds like a lot but that’s not as much as they could be, as the hotel assumes operating responsibility and costs for the stunning pool and state-of-the-art gym that residents have access to.
Upstairs, in the 48th-floor penthouse, it is a different story again. It is a rare true penthouse, taking up the entire top floor and entirely encircling the elevator core. And, aside from one lavishly staged corner, the penthouse is currently a vast, empty, concrete shell, waiting for whoever takes it on to do with it what they will. “They could put a bowling alley in this section,” quips Langereis.
Of course, it also has incredible 360-degree views and several large balconies, including a west-facing covered terrace currently home to an outdoor kitchen and bar. Fireworks party, anyone?
So how much is the penthouse going for? A cool $18 million. “It’s not a hard-and-fast price,” says Langereis. “There’s some negotiating room for the right buyer. We have built a community in the building, so it’s partly about getting the right residents in the penthouse that will reflect the community that we have become.”
The Residences have not seen an easy few years, largely because of the 2008 recession and the 2010 introduction of HST, both which damaged sales significantly. Now the developer is in the final stretch of sales – but it is a slow process, with nervous prospective buyers often viewing units 10 or 15 times before making a decision, says Yvonne Drinovz. It’s a big move to spend that much money on a condo – but those who take the leap have told Langereis how happy they have been with their decision.
That’s something that makes him very proud. It’s clear that the building is more than just a job for Langereis – it’s a passion. “I’ve lived and breathed this building for seven or eight years now,” he says.
“And would you rather live in a building by a developer that has multiple projects all over town, or a building that the developer is truly passionate about?”
He adds, “Plus you get me as a neighbour!”
Click here for more information on the Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia.