A group of investors made $8 million in just one month off a Vancouver property valued only two years ago at a quarter of the selling price.
Two modest buildings on Nelson Street near Burrard Street were bought in 2014 by the prominent developers behind the Wall Centre: Peter and Bruno Wall.
The uncle-nephew duo bought the property for $16.8 million, and had plans to replace the aging low-rise buildings with a 60-storey skyscraper. Plans were drawn, but the pair was soon presented with an offer they couldn't refuse.
"If they receive an offer that's so compelling, of course it's hard to ignore those types of returns," Colliers International Vice President David Taylor said.
The compelling offer was from SunCom, a commercial real estate investment company that offered $60 million for the property. The Walls took the deal in January.
Taylor said the reason for the spike in value is largely due to changes in the zoning plans for the West End, which allows for "significantly taller" buildings to be built in the area.
The interest in redevelopment in the West End is how former real estate agent Julia Lau sold shares in the project.
Last year, she took to Facebook to find investors, posting: "Whoever wants to invest has to prepare the deposit with bank draft tomorrow. The shares will be sold out on Monday."
A few days later, she posted again, writing that the $60-million project sold out in two hours. Lau declined a request from CTV News for a comment on the deal.
A month after purchasing the property, SunCom flipped it for $8 million more than they'd paid.
Taylor, who represented the Walls during the negotiations, said the deal is sparking huge interest from developers and area residents.
"It seems pretty crazy that we're seeing those types of price increases but of course, we're seeing that in all segments of the market," he said.
The SunCom deal has attracted the attention of the B.C. Securities Commission, which is reviewing whether the company violated any regulations.
The deal is also sparking interest because no property transfer taxes were paid. The property is held as a bare trust, and investors avoid taxes when they sell the shares, Taylor said.
"It is a common strategy to avoid property tax," he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Mi-Jung Lee