You don’t need to be a billionaire to live here, but it helps.
Alberni Street has long been a playground for the wealthy. The Hotel Vancouver set up shop here in the 1930s and set the stage for some of the most exclusive real estate in the city. A couple of blocks away and some eighty years later, the Shangri-La was built, ushering in a new era of luxury residential towers above high-end retail stores and restaurants.
Billionaire’s Row was born - Khavari calls it Vancouver’s Rodeo Drive. These days, developers continue to purchase sites along the Alberni corridor, from Burrard Street all the way to Stanley Park. The intention is to double-down on the idea of luxury living, creating exclusive turn-key properties for eye-watering price tags.
"That's where the second phase of Coal Harbour is coming in,” says Khavari. “We're seeing ultra-luxury developments. Over the next 10 years, we're going to have some very unique buildings with some very unique amenities. And of course they have access to all the current amenities that are along the street here."
If you’ve ever visited Vancouver as a tourist, you’ve probably been to Coal Harbour’s Waterfront district. Home to the Olympic Cauldron, the Digital Orca sculpture, Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place, the Waterfront is a hotspot for visitors and residents alike.
"This was built for the Olympics,” explains Khavari. “This was our presentation to the world. To this day, when tourists land off the cruise ships or are sightseeing, the first place they go is Canada Place. It's sort of our 'Welcome to Vancouver, this is who we are.’"
Just a stone’s throw from Vancouver’s financial district, Coal Harbour’s Waterfront is a top choice for city workers who want to avoid the daily commute. Condos are king, especially in mixed-use buildings sharing space with hotels and offices. That’s attracted a demographic of young professionals, resulting in restaurants and bars with louder vibes and later closing times.
Head down the seawall from Canada Place towards Stanley Park and you’ll find a surprisingly quiet residential area with epic mountain views.
"When I have clients who say 'I want to live in the city but I don't want to feel like I'm living in the city', I introduce them to Bayshore Drive," says Khavari, describing the collection of condo towers clustered close to the park.
This is the part of Coal Harbour that’s arguably changing the most. A new elementary school for about 350 students is under construction and is due to open in the next year or so.
Khavari says this is part of a plan to attract a different sort of homeseeker. “They're trying to attract more of a family demographic to this already built up phase one of Coal Harbour."
RE/MAX Masters Realty
Milad Khavari is one of those Vancouverites you rarely meet - he has only ever lived downtown. His family moved to the city from Iran when he was nine years old and his mother knew immediately she wanted to live in the heart of the city. That gave Khavari a unique childhood as he grew up a block off of the iconic Robson Street.
"It was very nice living downtown,” he remembers. “I went to high school on Denman Street. I went to elementary school in the West End. Stanley Park was my backyard.”
His urban childhood has set him up well - who else would you choose to find you the best place to live downtown other than someone who has explored its streets his whole life?
That whole first phase of Coal Harbour, I basically witnessed that as a young kid. I got a sense of these buildings being built - I was an eyewitness to them.
RE/MAX Masters Realty
Agent’s Pick: The epitome of luxury on Billionaire’s Row
1818 Alberni Street
For a taste of ultra-luxury living, we stop at the presentation centre for the in-development 1818 Alberni Street, by Landa Global Properties.
Residents here will have all the usual perks of Coal Harbour living - stunning views, access to top-end amenities and modern finishings. But there’s more…much more.
"[Residents will] have a Rolls Royce city car with a driver, access to yacht rentals and a true concierge service,” says Khavari. “So they're going above and beyond."
I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. If I was actually able to afford anywhere in Canada right now, it would be in downtown Vancouver. Sure, I prefer the West End for location but definitely Coal Harbour for nicer condos. I’m a city boy through and through, despite having grown up in a small town…or maybe that's why.
What’s important is that up until now I had given up hope that I would be able to afford even a one bedroom condo in Vancouver. The Canadian government doesn’t let me buy a house until I get my immigration status approved and interest rates are only going one way. By the time I can actually cobble together enough for a down payment, the prices, no doubt, will have shot up again.
Milad, though, if even for a sliver of a second, made me believe that a life in the city is possible. He was able to take my salary and desired neighbourhoods and draft up a plan for home ownership in the space of 18 months or so.
Would it be the cheapest thing in the world? Nah, not even close, but far more doable than I ever expected. In short, what I’m trying to say is I love Vancouver and with Milad’s help, I might just be able to stay here for a while longer!