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Waterfront property in this city belongs to the One Percent — and that’s not a reference to the budget real-estate agency. In May, the cheapest seaside plot on the West Side was listed at $5.57 million — off the table for most Vancouverites, who have, according to Statistics Canada, among the lowest per capita incomes in North America.
But for those who dream of waves lapping their property lines, there’s still hope. Head east, where Wall Street has become the last bastion of affordable waterfront, with homes starting at a mere $1 million. These aren’t the lavish estates of Point Grey Road, and some views include a port busy with tankers and trains shunting by. But this once-rough-and-tumble area now offers an offbeat vibe that’s urban enough to appeal to artists and designer types like Omer Arbel, whose 1942 Wall Street cottage was featured last year in Dwell.
Sotheby’s Gregg Close grew up on Point Grey Road and has spent most of his career selling properties on that upscale stretch. He’s a recent Wall Street convert, drawn by relatively low prices and a new market of buyers who would look westward but want something more interesting. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and this stretch is great alternative value,” says Close, who works with his son Mackenzie, as a team. “It’s for someone who doesn’t want a cookie-cutter 33-foot lot and a view that can be taken away from you.” One of his previous Wall Street sales was for just under $1.2 million. “What do you get on the West Side for that?” he asks. “This was 50 feet of waterfront . . . Out here, it hasn’t been discovered yet. It’s seven minutes from downtown. No bridges, no tunnels, no viaducts — nothing. It’s crazy.”
Wall Street’s hot spot coronation came in two parts: the first was when local West Side architectural darling Battersby Howat put its magic touch and millionaire-row-style finishes to a lot at 2523 Wall St. The second? Last fall, when the owners put said paean to modernity on the market for $1,795,000