A group of pre-sale condo owners in Richmond has lost its bid to stop a developer from distributing profits from a new 15-storey, city centre tower.
A total of 37 former pre-sale owners from the 111-unit Alfa development on Buswell Street and Anderson Road are suing Anderson Square Holdings after it terminated their contracts in 2019.
The buyers – many of whom paid deposits of around $40,000 - claimed they’ve lost out on other investment opportunities and want the developer to recompence them the difference in value between the contract price and “fair market value of the development.”
One of them told the Richmond News in 2019 that her deposit in 2015 was for an 800-square-foot condo, which was set to cost around $500,000 at the time.
They all had their deposits returned, plus interest, but in their lawsuit, they allege the developer deliberately stalled on the project to get out of the pre-sale contracts.
The buyers further claimed the termination then allowed the developer to later re-market the units at a new, highly-inflated rate.
Injunction sought to prevent profits being distributed
They sought an injunction preventing the developer – one of whom is failed Richmond city council candidate Sunny Ho - from distributing any profits when the tower is finally completed.
In a BC Supreme Court decision published last Friday, Judge Nigel Kent dismissed the buyers’ application citing, amongst other things, a lack of supporting evidence.
The judge, in essence, criticized the submissions from both sides, noting that the affidavits submitted by a husband of one of the buyers and from one of the developers, Sunny Ho, were “impersonal” and full of “lawyer-speak,” mainly sewn together with “cuts and pastes.”
He also highlighted the fact that there were no actual submissions from any of the 37 buyers for the purpose of the injunction.
Court "knows nothing" about any of the buyers
“…the Court knows nothing about them, although plaintiffs’ counsel has advised some of them are non-residents in Canada. The Court knows nothing of their intentions or expectations regarding the pre-sale contracts they negotiated,” wrote the judge.
He went on to state that none of the plaintiffs “have offered any damages undertaking of a sort” as is usually the case with such an injunction request.
Anderson Square Holding had previously claimed it terminated the original pre-sale contracts because it was being sued by its contractor, Scott Construction, for $4.6 million causing an “uncertain business environment.”
Anderson also cited, as a reason for ending the contract, the fact the project couldn’t be completed by September 30, 2019, a date agreed in the pre-sale.