April 8, 2013
Location key for Pacific Point refurbishment (with video)
Project location: 1323 Homer St., Vancouver
Project size: 214 homes (studios; 1-bed + den; junior 2-bed and den; 2-bed and den; penthouse)
Residence size: 450 – 1,680 sq. ft.
Price: $375,000 – $1.9 million+
Developer: Bosa Development Corporation
Interior design: Cristina Oberti Design
Sales centre: 1323 Homer St.
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday to Thursday
Special to The Sun
Having built tens of thousands of new homes in Canada and the U.S., renovating an existing highrise seems an unlikely project for Bosa Development. And yet Bosa’s refurbishment of Pacific Point, a 21-year-old, 29-storey mixed-use tower at 1323 Homer Street in Yaletown, is the company’s second such undertaking. “I did one maybe 12, 15 years ago in Ottawa; that building was a lot more challenging than this one because it was not as well built,” says company president Nat Bosa.
He had no hesitation about taking on Pacific Point. “When you have a great location, hesitation disappears quite quickly because you can replace the building, but you cannot replace the location,” he says. “The greatest asset of this building is its location, in my opinion.” Located at the south end of Homer Street, Pacific Point overlooks False Creek and David Lam Park.
In addition, it had been so well-built and well-maintained that there was no need to replace it. Within an hour of inspecting the building, Bosa made a no-subject offer. Pacific Point is one of two towers originally constructed for the condo market. The first was completed in 1989 and sold off, but rather than risk selling at a loss during the 1990-91 recession, the second one was retained as a rental property with commercial space on the ground floor.
Bosa purchased it in the fall of 2012 and is converting the 214 rental suites to market condos. Updates have been extensive in the homes, which Bosa first offered for purchase to previous tenants at a private showing. “We basically gutted it,” says Bosa, “so we have basically a new building.” Much of the window glass, water pipes and electrical have been replaced. The interiors have been renovated and reconfigured — many suites were large enough to divide into additional rooms.
Two of the three nicely decorated show suites were converted from one bedroom to two, in both cases by carving an additional bedroom out of the living room. Living rooms and bedrooms are spacious, and kitchens, some with windows, tend to be large enough to accommodate two cooks. All suites have generous in-suite storage, often including walk-in closets or flex rooms. Because of the building’s pentagon shape with numerous indentations, there are views in all directions through floor-to-ceiling windows; almost every suite has a solarium.
The interiors, with lots of nooks and quirky angles, are anything but cookie-cutter. Some have skylights and turrets. Even the two penthouses, two storeys with double-height areas and extensive outdoor space, are not identical. Renovating an existing building instead of starting from scratch meant working within existing confines and custom ordering everything. The flat-front kitchen cabinets, a mix of wood and lacquer, were imported from Italy. Kitchens were opened up to living areas where possible while still maximizing the cupboard space.
They were also updated with quartz countertops and backsplashes, a concealed Broan hood fan and new appliances. Each suite now has a front-load Bosch washer and dryer. The building originally had a laundry room in the basement, where the common amenities are located. Other old-school amenities will be retained: the enormous indoor swimming pool, hot tub and sauna. Meticulously maintained with tiled floors and walls, they receive natural lighting through glass blocks, a skylight and large windows. There will also be a gym, yoga/stretching area, his and hers changing rooms and a residents’ lounge with a kitchen and a pool table.
The building’s hallways and lobby are also being upgraded. Suites have new solid wood front doors. The soaring overheight lobby has marble-tiled walls, a slate tile floor and a glamorous banquette bench around the central pillar. “I think people are going to be very pleased when they walk in to see what that building looks like now, especially people that used to rent there that are on the list,” Nat Bosa says. “When they come back and see what they had left and what they’re going to see now, I think they’re going to be blown away.”