There was so much interest in the first tower at Brentwood mall that its marketers stopped advertising it two weeks before units went on sale Saturday.
"We felt there was enough demand, why throw gasoline on the fire at this point?" said Tracie McTavish, president of Rennie Marketing Systems.
It appears it was the right call. The first person in line showed up Wednesday afternoon. Eventually, those who camped out for days in tents led off the queue that ran along the outside and around the back of the sales centre at the northwest corner of the mall site.
While sales were supposed to start at noon on Saturday, Rennie staff opened the doors at 11 a.m. and by about 3:30 p.m., all 288 available units were sold, said McTavish.
The only remaining units, three penthouse suites, were not for sale because their designs have not been finalized yet. Those are expected to go on the market sometime in the fall.
Units snapped up Saturday ranged from $299,000 to $949,000, the latter for a three-bedroom suite.
"This is one of the few times in the recent past where there was a lot of end-users," McTavish said. He estimated 50 to 60 per cent of the buyers plan to live in the units.
The rest are "passive investors," such as people "tired of having money sitting in the bank earning nothing," see it as an alternative to an RRSP, or who bought for a son or daughter to move into.
A small portion of the investors would likely rent out their units, he said.
Many buyers were downsizing from homes in the area or have lived in North Burnaby before. All the buyers had addresses from across the Lower Mainland.
There was also a broad age range of buyers, from 20s to 70s, which "makes for a more vibrant community, not all young, not all old, it's a real mixed bag."
The first tower in Shape Properties' redevelopment of the 28-acre Brentwood mall site will be located at the southwest corner of the property, by the SkyTrain station. At 53 storeys on top of a three-storey commercial podium, the 300 units on the bottom half of the building will be dedicated rental units.
That wasn't an issue at all for the buyers, said McTavish, noting the rental suites will have a separate lobby and elevator and are expected to be high-end rental.
"Whether it sits and exists underneath you … it could be a building sitting across the parking lot from you," he said, noting the units for condo buyers all start on the 30th floor, giving them the best views.
The existing shopping centre is being retrofitted and new retail space will be built in the podium. All those services will be place before the first tower is ready for people to move in, he said.
As for those who didn't manage to buy in the first tower, about 100 people were issued special VIP cards that will give them first dibs on units in the proposed second tower. That project is currently going through the rezoning process at Burnaby city hall. If approved, sales are expected to happen in the fall.
"There was almost a hundred people who just took those and there's only 291 suites in the next tower."