Mount Pleasant Commercial Building Launches with Own Playlist

This article originally appeared on the Vancouver Sun website.

 Mount Pleasant commercial building project launches with own playlist

It's very Vancouver, and why shouldn't a real estate property come to market with its own playlist of eclectic tunes?

Joanne Lee-Young
Publishing date:Mar 14, 2021

One developer of a Mount Pleasant commercial building is taking a different tack to attract tenants.

Instead of just another glossy brochure with stock images, Brian Roche, president of Rendition Developments, worked with Rob Edmonds to produce a vinyl music album and Spotify list of nine songs by local artists.

It’s very Vancouver, and why shouldn’t a real estate property come to market with its own playlist of eclectic tunes? Listeners can shuffle-play Fifth + Columbia’s A New Kind of You to get a sense of the planned four-storey building and its location.

“Mushroom Studios was down the street. It was the big one, but there’s a few other smaller (music) studios around,” said Roche. “There’s a lot of artists that rent space for practising so there’s a big kind of art scene in this general area.”

Edmonds is a founding partner at design firm Evoke. He also sings and plays bass for The Wivez, which has the album and playlist’s title track, Off and On.

“I wanted to have bands that had recorded in this neighbourhood,” said Edmonds.

They were able to “walk that tightrope” with the artists, offering exposure for their work and the chance to be on vinyl to balance that line of promoting a “commercial venture-like development.”

“It wasn’t like we were commissioning (the songs),” said Edmonds.

Developers are “absolutely” doing more to get the attention of brokers and tenants, said Vancouver-based Ross Moore, senior vice-president at Cresa, who advises companies on leasing.

“No trips to Hawaii,” he said jokingly of the pandemic brouhaha over executives and politicians travelling to sunny places against public health advice. “But (there are) bonus commissions, Visa (gift) cards and the like.”

The incentives vary depending on location and type of building, he said.

Some developers may more creatively court potential tenants because they need to make leasing targets to qualify for construction financing.

In the case of Fifth + Columbia, however, Roche said, because of the project’s smaller size, he’s able to build first and then get tenants as it’s completed in two years.

The combined vacancy rate for office and industrial, for lease and for sale, for the Mount Pleasant area is currently quite high at 12.4 per cent, “but it’s not in the stratosphere,” said Moore.

There’s not a lot of sublease space on offer, meaning tenants aren’t wanting to get out of their agreements, which has been seen in some areas. However, there is construction of new office space that is adding inventory, said Moore.