Condo owners cash out with
$51 million project sale
By Frank O'Brien
21 February 2017
Aging Seymour Estates in North Vancouver: 114-unit, 6.5-acre property
was sold for $51 million, 50% above its assessed value | CBRE
Owners of a 114-unit condominium project in North Vancouver have become
among the first in B.C. to secure court approval to sell their entire
complex to a developer.
The BC Supreme Court approved Anthem Properties’ $51 million bid for
the 6.5-acre Seymour Estates project on Lytton Street in North
Vancouver district in December. The transaction closed in late January.
Justice Lisa Warren noted the sale price is 50% higher than the
property’s assessed value of $32 million, according to court documents.
This pencils out to an average of $447,368 for each of the 44-year-old
Seymour Estates is not a strata complex. It was created as a
“common-law condominium corporation” – an ownership model popular in
the 1970s that the province has since banned.
Unlike a strata complex, in which each owner individually owns his or
her unit in a common-law strata, each Seymour Estates owner has a
“fractional interest” in the whole complex.
“The process was the same as selling a strata complex under Bill 40,”
said Lance Coulson, senior vice-president of CBRE in Vancouver.
Coulson brokered the sale with Jim Szabo, CBRE vice-chairman of capital markets.
However, there are some key distinctions for what is an unusual
ownership arrangement. The judge’s decision in the Seymour Estates case
was based on the Partition of Property Act, an arcane piece of B.C.
legislation that decides on the sale of all or part of real estate
jointly owned by several parties.
However, the sale of the Seymour Estates complex mirrors the potential
effect of Bill 40 for many strata corporations facing similar
Bill 40, which became law in July 2016, relates only to strata corporations.
It lowers the required threshold to 80% from 100% for strata
corporation members to vote to dissolve their entity and sell their
buildings. The Seymour Estates vote was close to 90%, but still
required a court judgment to proceed.
According to Coulson, the Seymour Estates land would be allowed a
density range increase from the current 0.75 FSR (floor space ratio) to
1.2 to 1.7 under the District of North Vancouver official community
plan for the area.
CBRE is recognized as a leading agency in Bill 40 transactions and is often approached by strata corporations.
However, Szabo said, condominium owners must be realistic in the increased value they expect to achieve.
“If the land lift is less than 25%, it may not be worth it,” Szabo said.
He advised condo owners to consult the official community plan for
their neighbourhood to see what level of density is allowed and to
consider access to transit, the amount of land and other factors in
deciding whether a project would be attractive to a developer.
Seymour Estates owners received more than a premium price for their
units, and a chance to escape ongoing repair bills on the aging
complex. Under the terms of Anthem’s offer, owners have the right to
buy back into the building at a discount and can rent their units back
from the developer at discounted rates for 18 months after the deal
According to CBRE, the deal achieved one of the highest prices ever
paid for residential land in the district of North Vancouver.