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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quattro Living Fire - Real Estate Bust Arson or just an Accident

The flames are starting to die down a bit at the Quattro development at 138 Ave. and 107-A Ave. in Whalley after a massive fire. The red brick apartment building under construction went up in flames around 4 o’clock this afternoon.

Dozens of firefighters are still trying to get the blaze under control. Large sections of the apartment have been reduced to glowing rubble. It's believed there's a large crane in the middle of the fire.

Around 100 customers are without phone and internet service and 4,400 customers are without power right now. The Quattro development was being built in several stages on a 10 acre site and would have included almost 400 condos, most of which had been sold out.

There's no word of any injuries.

This fire brings up some questions in my mind. First of all, we all know the real estate market in the Lower Mainland is going to burst and it just a matter of when. Combine this with the recent collapse of the Morgtage and Banking industry in the United States and one does not have to look far for motive.
Apparently this was not the first fire in this complex. Just yesterday a worker noticed a blaze start up on one of the upper floors. This blaze was also presumed arson.
Although the first two phases of Quattro sold fabulously, fact of the matter is, buyers are becoming less willing to fork out 150K for a one room loft in the Crackhead row district of Surrey. With land availability still high in the region, one has to wonder about the feasibility of building in the region. yes the first phases sold well, the problem is labour rates are continuing to rise as is the cost of material. As we know from previous experiences in Coquitlam, the end price is often substantially higher than what the units were sold for. If the cost goes much above the selling price builders are forced to increase prices or find some other way to cover the shortfall.

So I ask you now, is the builders insurance being used as the slush fund? Only the police investigation will tell.

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