Last week the helicopters, this week the paid-for line-up. The crazy swirling circus music is reaching fever pitch. -vreaa
A condo development is going on sale in Burnaby this coming weekend (19 Feb 2011). A line-up commenced Wednesday 16 Feb. Online ads had appeared in the days before, offering to pay individuals to stand/sit/sleep in this line-up. Global TV covered this line-up as news. ‘Alex’ published an open letter to Global TV accusing them of knowingly airing commercial promotional material as ‘news’.
In more depth:
The “Sovereign” by Bosa Properties, corner of Kingsway & Willingdon, in Burnaby.
45 stories, 202 units, starting at $260K.
Construction scheduled to be complete by 2014.
A craigslist ad appeared on 13 Feb 2011 [hat-tip greaterfool.ca] –
“PEOPLE NEEDED TO LINE UP FOR NEW CONDO PROJECT
Date: 2011-02-13, 4:06PM PST
Just as the title says, we need people to hold spots and line up for a new condo project located in Burnaby (Kingsway/Willingdon Ave). Line up may start as early as weds/thurs night. Grand opening is Saturday February 19, 2011.
Warm beverages and washrooms will be provided by the developer.
Shifts are determined on how long you would like to stay. (preferably 8hours+)
Get paid cash quickly for sitting in a line up!
E-mail me your phone number + e-mail for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org”
’29’ at VREAA told us of other online ads offering to pay people to line up:
“need help to line up, tonight, urgent, contact
Shirley 7788633870” [link]
“urgently required, night shift persons, 7, 8pm – 6am
contact 6047159389” [link]
“Builders Assoc CNY Meetup, Feb 19, Bonsor Community Centre, 6550 Bonsor Ave, 27:30-22:00 hours, 6048888888” [link]
[It remains unclear to us whether the parties advertising for people to line-up were prospective buyers, realtors, or parties directly or indirectly interested in creating a media buzz. -ed.]
29, offered further info, in a series of comments at VREAA 16 Feb 2011 – “One can earn $100 lining up during the day and $120 night. 1 guy said he made $1000 to line up 3 days for a friend. Naturally hiring ad for this role is in Chinese. A few genuine buyers. Most are flippers.
Latest. Prospective buyers must produce IDs and register in person; they will then get a number like in a doctor’s waiting room. Further more they cannot transfer their option to purchase to a 3rd party. If that is true, kudos to the sales organizer to bring in some sanity to this fracas.”
[Photos sourced here.]
Global TV covered the line-up as news, 16 Feb 2011
“Remember when people were actually lining up to buy apartments in buildings that hadn’t even been built yet? Well, it’s happening again today despite what is supposed to be a slower condo market in the lower mainland. People camping out for a shot at a pre-sale in Burnaby for a new tower that won’t be completed for years.”
“Metrotown is a very strong area in terms of transportation routes, it’s got a lot of infrastructure in place, as well as it’s at a critical mass in retail as well as housing, so I can see that as being attractive for buyers.” – Cameron Muir, BCREA [Introduced just as an ‘economist’ by the voice over. -ed.]
Announcer: “…and as an investment.”
Interviewer: “Are you going to live in this building?”
Guy in line-up: “Uhm…I have no idea right now..because that depends how the economy goes.. because it’s completed three years later… who knows, hey?”
Jen, somebody who works nearby, as quoted by Garth Turner, at greaterfool.ca 16 Feb 2011 –“When I went to work Tuesday morning I noticed a bunch of people at the empty lot and wondered what was up. Through the morning, the crowd/lineup grew. At noon, I noticed the porta-potty in a parking lot behind an adjacent building. An hour later it was gone (I kinda wonder if we should call the employment standards people – after all, I think it was in the job offer). The line grew by 50% from what was there at 9:30, so at 2:45 when I left, the lineup stretched beyond the length of the adjacent building. By 4, they were erecting tents (like very nice party tents – fully enclosed) for the people in the lineup exposed to the rain. When I went back to work at 8 there were flood lights for the people now in the tents. And alas, when I left at 10, the floodlights were extinguished, but several police cruisers were in attendance.” “A co-worker went out and spoke to the people in the lineup at lunch. When asked what they were in the lineup for, the first two people in line didn’t know. A little further down the line, someone said they were waiting to buy a condo. When asked if one of them were going to buy a condo, the guy said no, but his friend beside him was going to buy one. Asked if they were getting paid to stand in line….answer…no! Upon leaving the project with a loud comment from my co-worker “hope you guys are getting paid well for this”, the answer from one “not bad, not bad”.
Alex, at greaterfool.ca 16 Feb 2011 11:22pm, posted a letter that he has sent to Global BC TV –
“Regarding your item on the evening news tonite where you gushed over the line-up for that condo development in Burnaby: Are you aware there was an advertisement on craigslist this week offering to PAY people to stand in that line? That’s right – either the developer or the marketing company created a FAKE lineup. And here you are covering it as “news.” How reprehensible is that? Only as reprehensible as your coverage last week of that trumped-up helicopter tour over White Rock, where you wrongly intimated that mainland Chinese were flocking to the area when in fact it was simply a desperate marketing measure of a failing condo tower.
Now, I am aware that the local real estate mob (and I use that word knowingly) pays what must be a handsome fee to advertise on your station. In fact, most of your segments tonite were “sponsored” either by Re/Max or a mortgage broker. Coincidence? Hardly.
So tell me: In this climate, where Canadian families have maxed their credit, where real estate prices are some of the highest in the world, where the income to household debt-servicing ratio is in excess of TEN (an all-time record, by a long shot), where even the governor of the Bank of Canada has begged Canadians to STOP SPENDING, and where mortgage restrictions are continuously being initiated to stop the obvious insanity created in part by mainstream media lies, are you knowingly committing fraud? Because this spot tonight, along with the White Rock piece last week, most definitely weren’t “news.”
If you have even an ounce of shame, you’ll at least admit to me in a reply that you were either: A) Duped beyond all reason, or B) Lying and committing fraud. So, Global, which is it?”
Brian at greaterfool.ca 17 Feb 2011 3:48am – “I heard from someone that knows someone that works for the developer that they have no knowledge of anyone being paid to stand in the lineup….I find that very hard to believe.”
Peter Pan at greaterfool.ca 17 Feb 2011 3:56am – “A journalist from the Vancouver Sun asked me to provide him with the Craigslist ad… I told him it was pulled soon after appearing on this website…”
Burnaby Boy at greaterfool.ca 17 Feb 2011 4:31am– “As of midnight the line ups of people at the Burnaby condo development have all gone as have the tents and security guards. I guess getting on the six o’clock news did the trick.”
Supersogs, at vancouvercondo.info 16 Feb 2011 11:47 am, reprinted a note from Bosa regarding the line-up.. they have changed to a system of “a sequential list of interested parties”: “While we knew that the interest in Sovereign was very healthy, we were surprised to find last night that over 125 clients had elected to begin lining up for our sales event this Saturday. While we anticipated that there would likely be a line-up, we could not have anticipated that it would begin forming so soon, and as a result have elected to modify our plans for the coming days.” [Where did the tents come from? -ed.]
1. Bosa announces, on the day of the sales, 19 Feb 2011, that the project is “100% Sold out”:
“We’re thrilled to announce that
Sovereign by Bosa Properties is 100% sold out!
On behalf of Bosa Properties, we would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to all of our new homeowners and everyone who came out to see us at the Sales Centre throughout the past weeks.”
2. Flip attempts appear within hours on craigslist:
“Date: 2011-02-19, 8:06PM PST
Reply to: hous-ue4zb-2224133573_at_craigslist.org
Any body [sic -ed.] who is interested in an assignment please contact me.
I have 3 units ready for signing
2 one bedrooms
Adding $25k assignment to original pre open day price. (first 80 units)
If you are interested – you need to be quick cause these will be signed over on monday or tuesday (no assignment fees if done in the next few days)
SOLD OUT BUILDING ( in one day)
Email with phone number and cash needs to be ready.
3. Follow up breathless infomercial from Global. Archived by Greenhorn at youtube: Condo Boom in Vancouver
Including great quotes:
“We are still remembering the two years ago, the economic crisis.. you know.. people don’t have a lot of confidence.. those monetary products… but, as a real estate, you’re buying something” – Sunny Lee, Royal Pacific Realty
“And a quick footnote to the story, if you were interested in buying a condo at The Sovereign… it is now Sold Out.” – Announcer (with, arguably, ‘told-you-so’ delivery)