April 23, 2014 8:09 pm

Edmonton’s tallest condo targets high-end market

EDMONTON – The city’s tallest condominium – currently under construction – stretches 35 stories high, sitting at Jasper Avenue and 119 Street and overlooks the River Valley.

The curtain wall glass building has been under construction for the last four years, but was built entirely on spec.

“I think the business model for Regency in particular has never been the pre-sales route,” says Raj Dhunna, COO of Regency Developments.

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“We’re strong believers that the market in Edmonton is that ‘we need to touch, feel, and then we’ll buy’ type thing.  It has to be a real project that’s under construction.”

This particular project targets a very specific demographic of potential buyers. So far, Dhunna says, they have been people over 55 years old, and may split their time between Edmonton and a vacation home.

“The average price point is $1 million so far,” says Dhunna.

“We have some units that have sold over $3 million.”

“We’ve been fortunate – with the most expensive condo project in the city – to have the buyers that have reacted well to this project, so far.”

However, years ago, the developer felt the pressure of committing to a project of this scale.

“You start to worry how Edmonton will react to such an expensive project and how will they react to the price points,” admits Dhunna.

But, he says it became clear that the demand for a luxury condo was there.

The Pearl is more than 60 per cent sold.

Originally, the site was zoned for two 12-storey buildings, but the application was made for a much taller, single building.

Still, the process was not without controversy. There was opposition from the community – some arguing the Pearl would be too tall and would cause too much traffic congestion.  But, Dhunna says the company worked with the community, heard its concerns, and even incorporated some of their ideas.

“It’s come a long way, the psyche of the city,” he says.

The goal, he adds, was to offer something unique in Edmonton.

“We said, ‘you know what?  We want to set the new standard of architecture. We want to be the leaders of what the future condo development is,’” says Dhunna.

“I think it was just a personal vision, as Edmontonians, what we wanted to see for the future of the city.”

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The average suite is 1,600 square feet, but there are others that are 3,000 and even four two-storey units that are 4,000 square feet, but digs that exclusive don’t come cheap.

“We’re looking at a $4 million price tag – probably one of the most expensive condo units in Edmonton right now,” he says.  “There haven’t been any two-storey units built in Edmonton, condo wise, in a long time.”

So, what makes it worth it? Dhunna says it’s the view.

“Whether it’s winter and you see the fog rolling in, or a rainy day like this and you see the low-hanging clouds, or it’s a sunny day and everything is green, that’s sort of what stood out to us the most.”

“This is a beautiful city. We’re in Edmonton and Edmonton has something to say.”

It’s expected people will start moving in this fall.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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