U-Six development breaks new ground near UBC Okanagan campus

U-Six development breaks new ground near UBC Okanagan campus


BCBusiness + The Mission Group

Buyers who snapped up property near the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus at a time when million dollar homes weren’t the norm are now regarded as having experienced a once in a lifetime investment opportunity.

Accessing affordable, quality housing while attending a world-class university is thought of as mission impossible today, especially in Vancouver, where vacancies are rare, rents have skyrocketed and a 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax was introduced in the summer of 2016. The U-Six development in Kelowna, located 400 kilometres from Vancouver, in a market exempt from the tax and home to UBC’s Okanagan Campus, makes the mission possible.

Mission Group Enterprises’ U-Six development is located within walking distance of the campus, which during its first decade has more than doubled its enrolment and tripled its floor space.

U-Six is comprised of 57 contemporary, open-concept studios and two-and three-bedroom homes. Designed by Meiklejohn Architects with students in mind, they feature in-suite laundry, full kitchens, and a bathroom in each bedroom – with prices starting at $199,900.

As part of the U-District Community (whose first three buildings are already completed and fourth is currently under construction), U-Six provides parents and students with an investment opportunity in addition to an alternative to paying rent for student housing.

JoAnne Adamson, director of sales for Mission Group, says that at U-Six, which commences sales in February, students will have a secure and comfortable place to live while they are working towards a UBC degree.

The investment opportunity isn’t just available to students and parents. “Investors in general can take advantage of U-Six and rent the condos to students in order to generate an income,” Adamson says.

That was the primary intention of Vancouver resident Victor Mao when he bought two condos in the U-District last year.

“I had two motivations,” Mao says. “First was to fund my retirement, because living in Vancouver has become prohibitively expensive. Second, I wanted to help students whose chances of being able to afford university in this city are almost nil.”

Considering Kelowna has a vacancy rate of just 0.2 per cent, it is not surprising UBC Okanagan students rented Mao’s two three-bedroom condos almost immediately.

Vancouver resident Ajesh Sen bought a U-Three condo last August as soon as he learned of UBC’s presence in Kelowna. “That was the deciding factor – that and the fact that Kelowna itself is quickly expanding,” he says. Two international students are currently renting his condo.

The campus’s growth and the growth of the city of Kelowna go hand-in-hand: UBC’s Okanagan campus is already fulfilling its second master plan with campus expansion, and in Kelowna the infrastructure, from the airport to the budding tech sector and downtown core is being expanded.

With plenty of growth for both UBC Okanagan and its host city still ahead, Adamson believes U-Six will, like the other U-District homes, enjoy huge sales success. “All of the homes will be ready in time for the fall academic start of 2019,” she says. “Ground level opportunities like these don’t come around often.”

For more information, go to usixliving.com

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with The Mission Group