Latest Bertram News
Sep 12, 2020
Rooftop pool, views of Okanagan Lake on offer at Kelowna's Bertram at Bernard Block Back to video Friesen, who founded his firm Mission Group in the early 2000s and now serves as its executive chairman, has marshalled hundreds of millions of dollars in reshaping Kelowna over the last two decades. He says he has come full circle, having grown up in a small fishing city on Japan’s west coast. He was educated in Tokyo and Los Angeles and spent his early years in Vancouver, learning the development trade during the city’s bustling 1990s. But it was when he returned to Vancouver from a business trip, and his son couldn’t distinguish him from another man arriving that he realized something was being lost in the hectic life he was leading, one that included Formula One race cars and motor-cross sport. “It’s gotten progressively smaller and simpler — from a city of 30 million to a city of 150,000.” He has also traded race cars for cycling, up to 100 kilometres a day through Okanagan orchards and vineyards. Advertisement Article content continued Just a few blocks away from the breakfast spot is Mission Group’s Bernard Block, the culmination of almost 20 years of developing everything from townhouses and condo units in Kelowna to master planning the city’s downtown core with both residential and commercial offerings. Its latest offering, Bertram, is a 34-storey concrete highrise of 257 homes that go on sale today. With jaw-dropping views of the 135-kilometre Lake Okanagan and the surrounding mountains, a one-bedroom unit at Bertram is pegged in the low $300’s, one-bedroom and den go for the low $400s, two bedrooms in the low $500s and sub-penthomes start in the low $600s. “We anticipate that customers from Vancouver will represent the majority of our buyers at Bertram,” said Friesen. “This has been a trend that has been growing in our market for a couple of years, and we anticipate Vancouver buyers will continue to be a strong presence here for many years into the future.” A one-bedroom unit at Bertram is pegged in the low $300’s, one-bedroom and den go for the low $400s, two bedrooms in the low $500s and sub-penthomes start in the low $600s. jpg Getting to this point was not an easy road for Mission Group. Friesen said that while Metro Vancouver was booming, Kelowna underwent a “real estate depression” from 2008. The company would wait until 2014 for the market to turn around. “During that time, we formed a number of partnerships, which gave us the ability to hit the ground running as soon as we saw things starting to turn around,” he said. Since then, the company has built hundreds of condos throughout the city. They include its U-series of investor-owned rental condos, just steps from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. Each of those pre-sale phases sold out within days of being put on the market. Its progressively more complex projects with mixes of commercial and residential include Central Green. Ella, Mission Group’s 20-storey, 116-unit concrete development a few blocks away from Bertram, represented the company’s transition from wood frame to concrete. Brooklyn is on the verge of selling out, due in no small part to the company securing a rare agreement with the city to permit short-term rentals, including Airbnb. Advertisement Article content continued While Bertram permits only longer-term rentals, it is expected that investor demand will be amply fuelled by UBC’s commitment to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in its ambitious plan to build a downtown core of educational services. Rob Einarson, UBC associate vice-president, finance and operations, says the university is currently working on developing 80,000 to 100,000 square feet in the city centre, complementing its Okanagan campus, about 15 minutes to the north of downtown Kelowna. Most of UBC’s work to date has been to develop partnerships with a range of parties, including high-tech and health communities and a variety of co-op programs with for-profit and non-profit agencies, said Einarson, adding that it is now supporting that with bricks and mortar. “We foresee the new space filling up pretty quickly, enriching the business and cultural life of the city,” he said. In the kitchen, flat-panel cabinetry is set off with a polished quartz countertop. jpg Mission Group’s Bertram is different from earlier projects in several ways, including how Mission Group approached amenities. Rather than dedicate the top floor to pricey penthouses, the company has set aside the 34th floor for use by all Bertram residents. It will feature a rooftop “sky pool” and hot tub as well as a lounge with kitchen and dining area with sweeping views of Lake Okanagan. The floor also hosts a co-working space with ample room and natural light, with additional co-working space on the ground floor. There are more amenities on the sixth floor with a fitness room, a community garden with fresh herbs and vegetables, and another lounge area with barbecues, surrounded by water features. One floor down, the building offers a dog run, and an onsite dog-wash station. At street level, selected shops and services on the main floor contribute to Bertram’s walk score of 97 and bike score of 98, reflecting its central downtown location. Advertisement Article content continued Within the homes, there is a choice of a warm or cool palette designed by i3 Interior Design. Flooring is premium wide-plank vinyl in soft-wood tones throughout the living areas with carpeting in the bedrooms. There is an individually controlled heat pump for personalized air conditioning and heating and an energy recovery ventilation system to maximize energy efficiency. Hot water will be supplied by a central system included in the strata fee. Each home comes with a washer and dryer. In the kitchen, flat-panel cabinetry is set off with a polished quartz countertop. Stainless steel appliance packages feature a counter-depth fridge, built-in wall oven, and integrated cooktop and dishwasher. In some units, there are wine fridges provided. Also featured are recessed kitchen niches with upper and lower cabinets. Bathrooms are equipped with woodgrain, flat-panel cabinetry and glazed ceramic tile flooring. jpg Bathrooms are equipped with woodgrain, flat-panel cabinetry and hexagon mosaic tile wall in master showers with glazed ceramic tile flooring. In specific homes, there are deep soaker tubs in white acrylic. Friesen says the pre-registration shows there has been a broad spectrum of potential buyers, including professional couples and first-time buyers. The company is even seeing (downsizing) buyers looking to divest themselves of large single-family homes in favour of downtown towers where the neighbourhood is walkable, and all amenities are at street level. Friesen says the city’s prescient investment a few years ago of $15 million in Bernard Avenue enhancements, UBC’s robust plans for the downtown core and market timing have set the stage for Kelowna’s future. “I think this street is going to be very different 30 years from now. We would like to be part of that.” Advertisement
Bertram Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Bertram founded?
Bertram was founded in 1961.
Where is Bertram's headquarters?
Bertram's headquarters is located at 3663 NW 21 Street, Miami.
What is Bertram's latest funding round?
Bertram's latest funding round is Acq - Fin.
Who are the investors of Bertram?
Investors of Bertram include Ferretti Group.