VANCOUVER'S 'empty nesters' and the local appetite for luxury property along the downtown waterfront is ensuring a healthy luxury condominium market, according to Hiroaki Okamoto, secretary of the Bayshore Gardens Development. The development company, a subsidiary of the Japanese contractor Aoki Corp, is building an 11-tower luxury condo development in Coal Harbour called Bayshore. The development is situated on 22 acres of land behind the landmark Westin Bayshore Hotel and a stone's throw from Stanley Park. When completed in 1997, the 11 towers will include 980 units of which 230 will be kept for rental purposes, according to the developer. Last weekend Bayshore representatives and International Hung Hsing Property Agency held a pre-sale in Hong Kong of 157 units in the first two towers on offer - 1710 and 1790 Bayshore Drive. More than 50 per cent of the units, which were on sale simultaneously in Hong Kong and Vancouver, sold in less than a week, according to Mr Okamoto. He said Vancouver's so-called 'empty nesters' - people whose kids have grown up and left home - have decided they don't want to spend the money or the time on keeping up their family homes in the suburbs and are looking for a more relaxed living environment in a downtown condo close to shopping and entertainment. 'A lot of these people have a lot of assets and since their children have gone they don't want to maintain their house,' he said. 'So they are looking for a good quality two to three-bedroom condo.' The Bayshore is just one of three such projects now under development along the Vancouver waterfront which are offering similar luxury and convenience, said Mr Okamoto. Two of the projects are located close to the city's Stanley Park. They all offer views of the surrounding mountains, and shopping and restaurants are all within a short driving distance. Besides Bayshore, the other two projects are Li Ka-shing's False Creek Development, Concord Pacific, and the Kwok family's development also located in Coal Harbour. All of the projects have received international recognition for their environmental improvements on downtown Vancouver. According to Mr Okamoto, Vancouverites have lost interest in smaller units. Just a few years ago, Vancouver developers were building condos as small as 500 to 600 square feet because 'they were very affordable'. 'But all that has changed,' said Mr Okamoto. 'Vancouverites are now asking for livable sites of 1,300 sq ft.' The price of the Bayshore units is averaging C$314 (about HK$1,808) per sq ft. Prices, which average about HK$2.3 million, can be paid through a 10 per cent down payment, a further 10 per cent at the end of six months and the balance when the building is completed in 1997. Mortgages are being arranged by local Canadian banks.