Sunday, June 3, 2007

Can a hillside peak? Or is it just the Market?

Welcome to Soaring Peaks... "where your most pressing decision is what time to flip." I should state that the ad pictures a rather youngish-looking lady sunning herself poolside; so that reference isn't to suggest that those ad-marketing geniuses up at Bear Mountain still believe it possible to flip condos for income anymore...

We usually buy the Post or the Glibe & Frail on Saturday's to read Sunday... we're that way. We've been entertained by the RE marketing madness lately and today it's no different. After having seen the ads for Tuscany Village with their now infamous weekly updates, we figured we go get sold in person. Let's just say the sharks were hungry, but we fishies were swimming too fast to get caught in the jaws.

We pulled in to an empty parking lot wondering if the show suite was still open. In we walk, lights were off (they must be doing their part for the environment), but when turned on, the suite showed rather nice, as long as you didn't open anything.

I'm in love with kitchens. I love to cook. It's my favourite room. That's the first place I go when we look at a suite/home and it's the room I always end my impression with after the tour. I always open cupboards and drawers. Anyone--well I should say in the days of flipping--everyone has really nice faces on their kitchens; especially when they are selling them as luxury. But like most beauty, it's whats inside that counts. Tuscany lacks. Their kitchen, granite counter tops, real-tile back splashes and all, are cheap. Beyond cheap.

Where Home Depot uses melamine, whoever built Tuscany's kitchens used plastic. Plastic drawers. Plastic rollers. At least the door hinges were metal. But no fancy slow-rolling real ball bearing , self-closing glides that I would expect in a $490,000 1000 SF luxury condo in a real nice neighbourhood.

This development is just over 50% sold. They have 91 units total and over 40 remaining. I'd go on record to say they're in trouble. They don't have a restaurant tenant yet. If it wasn't for Thrifty's, Starbucks, Blockbuster and Pharmasave, I'm doubting that this place would still be under construction.

We didn't ask about prices, but were told point blank: "we're open to offers." The whole sales pitch revolves around the village lifestyle. In this I can't fault them. When we lived in Cook Street Village, we loved it. We loved the little shops, the coffee places, the grocery stores etc. We loved to walk the streets and dream about one of the houses we would live in 20 years from now. But Tuscany is trying to sell us a condo, for the same price as we could have bought a Fairfield home back then (3 years ago), and give us shops that are pretty much everywhere, rather than unique, one-offs like down in the "village" we all know and love.

How does Tuscany create some motivation for buyers beyond the "village" pitch. We had a great guffaw at the framed letter to the editor that was found on the minimal kitchen counter space. It was a letter about the downtown lifestyle being less than appealing for those of "us" Victorians that don't like our books and coffees with a side of crack cocaine. We were shocked and awed at the blatant fear tactic that is usually reserved for insurance sales pitches.

When they get hungry, they really get hungry at Tuscany... where currently you can get wine and food, but no one to cook it for you but yourself. But at least we'll still have Subway downstairs, or Quizno's across the way. Ah, that luxury village lifestyle indeed.

h/t to PB at Victoria's Truth for the graphic.


vg said...

That is too much, thanks for the review HHV, suprised about the cheap kitchen points,something that is pet peeve of mine too since I have done a couple of renos in the past. My girlfriend and sister were both caught up in the advertising ambience spiel like I am sure so many were with the whole Tuscany/Italian thing, looks like it's coming back to bite them. Open to offers eh ?

Anonymous said...

In today's Vancouver Sun. A not so great housing story...finally.