Selling Yaletown in Surrey

Wave Towers | BCBusiness
Will lin, the developer behind Wave Towers, built Yaletown’s first loft residences.

The guy who saw Yaletown’s sheen years ago sees more of the same potential in Surrey’s City Centre

For Will Lin, CEO of Rize Alliance Properties Ltd., being a pioneer in neighbourhoods undergoing transformation comes as naturally as breathing. He saw value in Yaletown when it was still a run-down warehouse district and defied naysayers by building Vancouver’s first contemporary loft residences there. He’s the visionary behind The Rolston, a dramatic conversion of rhythm and blues mecca The Yale Pub into modern urban apartment residences.

So it’s no small wonder that when he rediscovered Surrey in 2010, Lin saw opportunity. He admits it had been some time since he’d been to the City Centre neighbourhood, but what he saw changed his business forever. “I was amazed by the results of the City’s investment in infrastructure and amenities for the populations that live, work and visit here.”

Lin located a property at 134th Street and 103A Avenue, and a joint venture between the vendor, Rize Alliance, and Atelier Capital Partners was born. Once again, Lin was to be at the helm of a transformative new development.

The project is Wave: twin, 28-storey towers with undulating façades that make this residential development as intriguing as it is unique. There’s a geometric precision, a futuristic symmetry to the way curves and angles intersect with the fundamentally linear walls and structural elements. Balconies are spacious—most more than 150 square feet, some as large as 325—and are meticulously designed to provide areas of both sun and shade throughout the day.

When asked why he believes such an iconic design was right for the site, Lin’s response is instantaneous: “Why wouldn’t it work here? Surrey’s slogan is ‘The future lives here,’ so the architecture had to project this concept of being a modern metropolis. Can you imagine how out of place something like an Arts & Crafts design, for instance, would look?”

He’s also pragmatic about the realities of the marketing benefits. “When you spend tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, that money becomes an expense that you don’t recoup. This building stands out; it becomes its own advertising brand.”

Construction costs are estimated at $60 million per tower with the bulk of contractors, sub-trades and suppliers coming from the surrounding neighbourhood—meaning Wave is also a significant economic generator for local Surrey residents. Finished suites in the initial tower range from one-bedroom and den to three-bedroom, and average $4.20 per square foot. Wave’s first tower is anticipated to be complete in summer 2015 and sales for the second tower launch this spring.