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Quick sell-out of condos was to local people, not investors

ParkHouse developer planning another building for Squamish
Mario Gomes (left) and Michael Henson, developers of a downtown Squamish condo development that sold out in 90 minutes last weekend.

It went so well, they’ll likely do it again.

Mario Gomes, the developer behind the ParkHouse Residential development that sold out last Saturday in a record 90 minutes, says there may be more to come.

“It is definitely not a one-off,” said Gomes. “We should be able to announce something, I would say within the next three to nine months.”

The 90-minute sell-out of the 65-unit condo ParkHouse development was a surprise to Gomes and fellow developer Michael Henson, they told The Squamish Chief.

“We knew we were going to have a good day. I think the expectation was that half of the units had a potential to sell out and we would have the other half to sell out over the next few months,” Gomes said at the ParkHouse presentation centre Thursday.

“We didn’t expect at all to be sold out on the first day and especially it never even crossed our minds it would be 90 minutes.”

Dozens of people lined up before 11 a.m. Saturday at the presentation centre in downtown Squamish, waiting for the office to open at noon. The development includes one, two and three-bedroom condos that were priced between $167,000 and $449,900.

Both Henson and Gomes said the only disappointment of the quick sale was knowing people who had appointments later in the day didn’t get a chance to buy.

“We absolutely expected the people who were lined up… would have plenty of inventory to look at,” said Henson. “Our expectations were wrong and that led to some disappointment for those people who were waiting.”

The vast majority of purchasers, between 65 to 75 per cent, were local residents, according to Henson.

Buyers were locals from the Lower Mainland, and some were from the Surrey area, Henson said.

Gomes said they deliberately didn’t advertise much outside of the corridor to keep the project available for Squamish and corridor residents. He made a commitment to council about a year ago, he said, to offer affordable housing to the local people looking to buy, so that was the focus of the entire project.

According to their unofficial records, about three families bought more than one unit, and the most sold to a single buyer was three units, Gomes said.

“That was very fulfilling to us,” Gomes said. “We would not like to have sold bulk sales of 10 or 20 units.”

About half the purchasers took the offer to buy in with five per cent down, paid in monthly installments over the year, Gomes said.

“We had a couple of local school teachers, we had a lady… that works at the cash registers in one of the local grocery stores, we had local hairdressers. It was exactly the type of people that we [wanted] to be able to serve,” he said, adding it was very satisfying to see who was able to purchase the units.

“There is the art of achieving, but there is also the art of fulfilling. And you can achieve a lot and still don’t feel fulfilled by it, and this project is something that I think for both Mike and I we are feeling a lot of personal reward, besides just the business side.”

Gomes has lived in Squamish for five years and watched the housing market in the region for a decade before that, he said. The excitement for the district is overdue, he said.

“Everybody that has been here for long has seen this day coming… of Squamish turning the corner,” he said. “If anything, it took a lot longer than it should have because we really are in a very unique location.”

ParkHouse is scheduled to be move-in ready in about 12 months.

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