Vancouver is often referred to as the “City of Glass”. When arriving downtown, heading north over the Burrard Street Bridge, it’s an easy connection to make. A wall of glass buildings immediately greets you as you enter the city center. These buildings are head to toe glass for a reason; capturing every angle of the waterfront view. Vancouver is all about the water and mountain views so it makes sense if you’re choosing to have one of these homes in the sky, that you want to avoid things like window frames and small outdoor spaces. The view only get better as you get higher, so why not go straight to the top! The stunning sights the city center has to offer from every direction make it easy to see why those searching for luxury living in Vancouver gravitate to the modern Penthouse.
As clear as it is that this city is the perfect candidate for buildings topped by penthouses, they have been an architectural feature since the 1920s in New York City when the desire and demand to live in urban spaces increased. Penthouses didn’t start to gain notoriety in Vancouver until the 1990s, when the city experienced wealthy immigration from Hong Kong and Taiwan. The developers began catering to this clientele, building larger condos and featuring Penthouses as the best of the best in the city. Many of these immigrants came from urban areas in their respective cities and wanted to continue to reside in the city, however, they desired a certain level of luxury that included the multi level Penthouse condo as a staple aspect of their new life on the west coast.
Besides the view, what makes Penthouses so desirable? Why not go for a mansion in Shaunessy or an acre and a stunning view of the water off South West Marine drive? Those looking to call a Penthouse home are looking for the proximity features of city living, but with a little more amenity. You are able to live close to all of your favorite spots to grab a quick takeout, pop into the grocery store, access to the seawall and local urban parks and beaches, while at the same time, you’re on the top floor so you’re elevated from the noise pollution that commonly comes with living in the heart of the city. There’s access to an abundance of amenities in your building so you can easily cut down on travel time to the gym etcetera with a quick elevator ride. Penthouses are not only novel because of being situated on the top floor, they also tend to be a significant in size, and often take over at least one entire floor on top of a building. This being the case, there is plenty of opportunity to create a sprawling outdoor patio space. A key feature of a penthouse unit is that there is a portion of the unit that is set back from the rest of the building. This not only creates more privacy from your neighbors, but it also allows more square footage for that comfy outdoor living space where you can sit back and take in the stunning mountain and water views this city is known for.
The features a penthouse has to offer that are specific to the unit are not only being in a building with a gym and a view, the unit will often have its own private elevator, and they often include two or more levels. As well as, extensive building services including a concierge at your beck and call to run any errand your heart desires at day or night; from picking up that takeout or dropping off your dry cleaning, they’re a very nice addition to the Penthouse lifestyle. There is prestige that comes with owning a Penthouse and it’s not all to do with the location in the building.
How have Penthouses in Vancouver changed over the years? Back in the old days, prior to the 1990s boom, there were few Penthouses in the city A true Penthouse is the only suite on the top floor, so there were buildings that qualified for the title however they were often no more than 6 stories and merely qualified because fo their location in the building. The quality of finishing was basic compared to now, there were no spa like bathrooms, no high end European appliances, or 3-5 parking spots available to the unit, floor to ceiling windows are now a must, entertainment size patios with heated outdoor kitchens, private swimming pool and or Jacuzzi with a view of course, as well as, biometric security, integrated lighting, music and air conditioning systems available throughout the home. It has only been in the last 10 years that Vancouver’s Downtown peninsula has been rezoned to accommodate 50-65 story buildings, therefore, the views have been upgraded from just glimpses of the surroundings to remarkable.
Since the penthouse lifestyle took off in the 1990’s in Vancouver there have been a couple of buildings that have managed to exemplify the perks of this type of unit quite well. In 2016 the 4900 square foot penthouse at 1717 Bayshore, now 16 years old, sold for $12.9 million. Two penthouses in the Harbour Green’s building, located in the very desirable Coal Harbor community, sold for $16.6 million for 6000 square feet. Well over $2000 per square foot. Currently there are 12 penthouses in Vancouver’s West Side listed over $3 million. Penthouse living is most definitely a significant investment and is unquestionably designed to appeal to those wanting a very special version of urban living in Vancouver.
The most expensive condo Penthouse to sell in Vancouver is the suit crowning the top floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim also in Coal Harbor. An overseas condo buyer was looking for a recreation residence in the city and felt the $55 million dollars in cash that he paid was well worth this incredible rooftop home. Another renowned building for luxury and Penthouse living is The Private Residences at the Georgia Hotel. This penthouse unit awaits your finishing touches and flare and is ready to be sold for $18 million for the 6800 square feet, this includes a wraparound patio with a bbq area, mountain, city and waterfront views in one of Vancouver’s top three luxury .
Buying or selling a Vancouver Penthouse? Put my decades of experience to work for you! Call Maggie 604-328-0077