Gramercy’s The Crossing takes a tranquil, wooded setting

April 27th, 2017


The Province

The homes will range to almost 2,000 square feet and have impressive finishes, inside and out. SUPPLIED

Situated beside the Peace Arch border crossing, but hidden from Highway 99 by dense woods and a sprawling golf course is an intimate neighbourhood of narrow winding streets and stately homes that seems to belong to a more carefree, peaceful era; but The Crossing by Gramercy is a brandnew development known for its moniker, “more space at a slower pace.”

The Crossing’s 67 townhomes boast an East Coast-inspired combination of cedar shake and Hardi-board, complemented by wood shutters and arched entries. The effect is charming, and if it evokes images of sipping lemonade at sunset while children play freely nearby, that is exactly the lifestyle Gramercy sought to provide: an escape from the hustle and bustle.

Location is key: snuggled in the woods, The Crossing is a few minutes’ walk to the famous lawn and garden of Peace Arch Provincial Park. In the immediate vicinity is the award-winning Peace Portal Golf Club, and directly north are the historic barns of Pacific Douglas, many properties of which continue the agricultural traditions of the region.

But although tranquil, The Crossing is hardly isolated. The sandy shores of White Rock are nearby, and a few minutes’ drive north brings residents to big-box retail in Grandview, the boutique stores of Morgan Crossing and a host of services.

In short, The Crossing is ideal for families who at the end of the day want to go home to a close-knit community, but have easy access to urban amenities.

And the homes they return to, ranging in size from 1,736 square feet to 1,948 square feet, are just as beautiful inside as their exterior appearance.

For starters, the open living spaces are augmented with elegant touches such as high-arc faucets and classic subway tile backsplashes in the kitchens, and deep soaker tubs in the bathrooms, along with oversized porcelain tile flooring and polished chrome fixtures.

The list of quality appointments is immense and includes custom shaker panel cabinetry with softclose doors and drawers, full-sized pantries and broom closets, ninefoot ceilings on the main levels, pot lighting throughout.

These extensive and thoughtful elements are not surprising, given that Gramercy partners Randy Klassen, Daphne LukingKlassen and Stephen Luking have decades of experience building quality homes throughout Metro Vancouver. The Crossing is the latest addition to Gramercy’s portfolio, which includes residential developments such as The Woods, Bella Vita, Beacon Hill and Gramercy Park.

The Crossing’s prices are remarkable (they start at $689,900) and the final release of homes is selling fast. For more information about these homes, contact [email protected] or call 604-542-2883.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Parc East residents will enjoy the best of urban and rural living

April 27th, 2017


The Province

If location is everything, then what could be better than being in the big city on the edge of wilderness, as is the case with Parc East by Altas Developments?

But offering the best of both worlds is only the beginning of the Parc East experience, which kicks into high gear on Saturday, April 29 with its public sales release on Wilson Avenue in Port Coquitlam.

The 57 designer condominiums of Parc East start at just $347,900 and range from one-, two- and large twobedroom-plus-den plans.

Designer features include quartz counters, stainless steel kitchen appliances and large kitchen islands. Laminate flooring is standard throughout the main living areas, and some units even have 12-foot ceilings. All ground-floor units have large private patios, which range from 150 square feet to a generous 480 square feet in size.

Parc East exudes a distinct urban vibe, and this is appropriate considering residents live amidst where all the action is: village vibe of downtown Port Coquitlam, the sleek bustle and retail mecca of Coquitlam Centre and the scenic seaside attractions of Port Moody.

Mobility is the key to success for the Tri Cities. Served by a comprehensive network of thoroughfares, mass transit and the brand-new Evergreen SkyTrain line, Parc East owners can commute just as easily to downtown Vancouver as they can to the three urban centres within their vicinity.

And just as easily, they can explore the provincial wilderness parks and other rural attractions that are making this region a destination for families and young professionals.

Nicole Castle, sales manager, Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd., says: “Parc East homeowners can enjoy city living without high city costs and also unwind in the great outdoors without ever being too far from urban amenities.

“Not to mention, we’re on the north side of the Fraser River, so you don’t have the hassle of long commutes or the daily aggravation of paying bridge tolls.”

Over 2,000 potential buyers have already registered as Parc East VIPs, but April 29 is when everyone will get a chance to preview these designer condos and experience the lifestyle they provide.

This exciting release event is from noon to 3 p.m. and will include live music by local Port Coquitlam artist Layla Vaugeois. “Guests can also enjoy pulled pork from local Porky’s Food Truck and cookies, breads and sweet loafs from Port Coquitlam’s own Delish Gluten Free Bakery,” says Castle.

Considering the excitement that Parc East has already generated, Castle urges interested homebuyers to RSVP by registering online today. To register and learn more, please visit

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Different definitions apply to majority votes

April 27th, 2017

Read your bylaws, as rules for strata may vary by situation

Tony Gioventu
The Vancouver Sun

Dear Tony:

At our first council meeting since the AGM, we spent two hours arguing about how strata councils make decisions at council meetings.

We think the problem is the way the act was written, as it has two separate interpretations for majority votes. The definitions define a majority vote as a majority of those votes cast by eligible voters who are present or by proxy at the time the vote is taken and who have not abstained. The standard bylaw defines a majority vote as a majority of council members present at the meeting.  These are not the same definitions and treat abstentions differently.

Could you possibly clear this up before we have another round of council debates with nothing accomplished? 

Martin B., Courtenay

Dear Martin:

You are correct that there are two different definitions and there could be even more if your strata amended its bylaws to different definitions. 

We have to start with the Strata Property Act, which first states that at an annual or special general meeting, matters are decided by a majority vote unless a different voting threshold is required or permitted by the act or regulations.

This definition applies to general meetings, which is the definition in section 1 of the act. It ensures owners may be represented in person or by proxy, and compels those who are eligible voters at the meeting to vote in favour or oppose a resolution or motion if they wish to have their vote matter. The definition also precludes any type of absentee or advance balloting at general meetings, as it requires the vote calculation at the time the vote is taken by eligible voters present at the meeting. 

A majority vote for council is different for a variety of reasons. It requires that council members must be present, which includes electronic attendance if the council agrees. Council members are not permitted to assign proxies as they are not representing their strata lot; as individuals, they are elected to a position on council and, of course, if a council member abstains, their vote is technically a no, as the vote is based on the number of council members present.

For example, under the standard bylaw, if six council members attend, at least four will have to vote in favour of the motion for it to pass, and this applies to every decision of council. The definition also helps resolve the issue of council members who are required to leave a meeting in the event of a conflict of interest. They are no longer present at the meeting, which should be recorded in the minutes, and the majority is reduced by that number. 

This is also the reason why the president or vice-president is given a tie-breaking vote. All council members vote on a motion, and if the result is a tie, the president or vice-president has an additional vote to break the tie. That would also be recorded in the minutes.

Before strata councils make any assumptions, it is essential that you read your bylaws first.

Want to learn more about winding up your strata?  Join us for a public forum at the Vancouver Public Library on Sunday April 30 at 3 p.m. In partnership with a legal team from Clark Wilson, we will take you step by step through the winding up process. Call 1-877-353-2462 for complimentary advance registration or email Donna at [email protected]

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

1335 Howe 120 homes in a 40-storey tower at 1335 Howe Street by Onni Group

April 27th, 2017

Visitors impressed with Onni?s 1335 Howe

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

1335 Howe

Where: 1335 Howe Street, Vancouver

What: 120 homes in a 40-storey tower, with only four homes per floor (one at each corner), with retail and amenities on the lower floors

Residence sizes and prices: 1,090 — 6,055 square feet, priced from $1.7 million

Developer and builder: Onni Group

Sales centre: #1901 – 1372 Seymour St.

Hours: By appointment only

If Julia Devlin was to purchase a suite at the Onni Group’s 1335 Howe tower in downtown Vancouver, there’s no question what she would go for: a residence that would let her rise with the morning sun and watch the city waking from its slumber.

“If I was to design my dream home, I would want a southeast-corner home, as I am a morning person and love my morning latte while the sun is coming up,” says the designer, a member of the Onni team that organized the interiors and finishes at 1335 Howe. “The opportunity to sit on my oversized patio, enjoying my coffee and watching the sun come up would certainly be a determining decision in my home selection.”

While buyers are attracted to the option to customize their spaces at 1335 Howe — a 40-storey highrise with 120 residences — Devlin and the Onni team have also seen visitors admiring the project’s finishes, quality of materials and appliances.

The bathrooms convey a calm and masculine mood, in a perfect dialogue between light and dark, and soft and strong, says Devlin. “We were aiming for mood and contrast with the strong statement of the dark stone and vanity cabinet, contrasted with the soft warmth of the wall and floor tile,” she says. “This space is the ultimate spa experience.”

The kitchen, meantime, features Devlin’s own favourite feature: a generously sized island with the natural stone countertops and open wood shelving at one end that allows the homeowner to show off personal items or cookbooks. She says that when the Onni Group designed the kitchen, “we were thinking of a buyer who loves to entertain or host large family events. This homeowner appreciates the entertainers’ kitchen with a long island, integrated sub-zero fridge and under-counter wine fridge, the Wolf gas cooktop and wall oven.”

Devlin, a designer experienced in envisioning spaces for empty nesters, knows that downsizing isn’t always easy: it can be difficult to move from a larger house with decor homeowners have appreciated for years. She advises that they pare down their belongings and organize much-loved items into groups.
“Simplify. Use larger pieces, and fewer of them,” she says. “Create groupings; for example: group accessories on a coffee table, group furniture arrangements in your living room on an area rug to pull them together, group art and photos on walls, rather than spacing everything out.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

The Main 37881 Cleveland Avenue Squamish 110 condos in a 5-storey mid-rise by Gravitas Partners

April 22nd, 2017

With The Main, Gravitas introduces community-focused housing in Squamish

The Vancouver Sun

The Main

Project location: 37881 Cleveland Ave, Squamish

Project size: 110 units, one and two bedrooms, 428 to 1,158 square feet, priced between $219,900 and $597,900

Developer: Gravitas

Architect: a|k|a architecture + design

Interior designer: LOT30 DESIGN INC

Sales centre: 1416 Winnipeg St., Squamish

Hours: noon— 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Telephone: 604.567-5433


Occupancy: Fall 2018

Finding affordable, quality housing within striking distance of Vancouver is not easy these days. But in Squamish, a mountain community less than an hour from the downtown core, Gravitas Partners has been developing multi-family housing with a focus on affordability and a strong local community.

Gravitas is a small development company spearheaded by Mario Gomes and Michael Henson. Their most notable project to date was Parkhouse, a building of 65 condos just outside Squamish’s downtown, which sold out within 90 minutes. Their latest effort is The Main, a multi-family residential building in the heart of town.

Henson explained how the company’s approach to Parkhouse helped ensure it would be affordable for local residents.

“The average household in Squamish is making between $80,000 to $100,000 per year and the biggest issue with housing affordability for that demographic is the down payment,” he said. “We didn’t want investors, we wanted to build community, so we created deposit programs that would make it affordable to local buyers. The idea was: you build your deposit while we build your home. The amount people were paying to build their deposit was effectively the same amount they would pay for their mortgage.”

About 65 per cent of the buyers at Parkhouse were local to the Sea to Sky area and more than half of those were from Squamish. Henson explained that the market has picked up somewhat since then and apartments at The Main are slightly more expensive as a result. Even so, 45 per cent of buyers so far have been local to the Sea to Sky area.

The Main will stand at the corner of Main Street and Cleveland Avenue, the town’s main drag. It will consist of 110 condos on top of about 10,000 square foot of commercial space.

 “We’re very keen to control who goes into that commercial space initially, again because we’re really trying to create that sense of community,” Henson said. “We’ve done quite a bit of work to ensure that there’s interactivity between the street and the building. There will be multi-use seating areas, the sidewalks are much bigger than normal and the commercial spaces have those garage-style doors so that diners can sit outside in the summer, for example.”

The building is designed by a|k|a architecture + design, a local firm that is heavily invested in the community. It features a private garden retreat for all residents, a pet and bike wash zone, secure bike storage and a green roof that will increase the life of the waterproofing membrane, decrease storm water flow and increase energy efficiency and biodiversity.

Kitchens have wood-grain laminate for lower cabinets and high-gloss finish for upper cabinets with soft-close hardware. There are engineered quartz countertops with modern textured tile backsplashes and stainless steel under-mounted sinks with faucets and pull-out sprayers. The energy-efficient, stainless steel kitchen appliance packages include over-the-range microwave/ hood fan combinations, super capacity dishwashers, top-mount fridges, and self-clean ranges with built-in ovens.

Bathrooms feature engineered quartz countertops with ceramic tiling and slim-profile dual-flush toilets. Four-piece ensuites in select homes have under-mounted sinks, soaker tubs and walk-in showers.

 “We’re really targeting that young, adventurous, entrepreneurial, community-oriented demographic of buyers,” said Henson. “We have fibre optic cables going to every condo because we recognize that the way people work is changing and we wanted to cater for people who run tech businesses from home. At The Main, they’ll have faster Internet speeds than you would get even in downtown Vancouver.”

This last feature was a pleasant surprise for Steve Davis, the father of a young family who has bought a two-bedroom apartment at The Main.

“That is a huge thing for us digital nomad folks,” he said. “I’m in the technology sector myself and it makes a big difference when you are going to the city one or two days per week and then doing a lot of work from home.”

“We’re living in Kitsilano, but we’re a growing family and we were looking at Squamish because it offers a very nice community feel,” Davis added. “Everybody seems to know their neighbour. For people that want to have access to the best of what the city has to offer, but also be able to really detach in the evenings and on weekends, it’s a fantastic option. I grew up in North Vancouver, I do downhill mountain biking and I’ve been skiing up at Whistler since I was four years old so it’s an ideal spot for me.”

The Davis family and the other buyers at The Main are scheduled to take possession of their new homes in the fall of 2018. They range in size from 428 to 1,158 square feet and are priced between $219,900 and $597,900.

“When I was growing up in the 1980s and 90s, Squamish just wasn’t on my radar,” Davis said. “It was just a place that you would stop in on the way to Whistler. But it’s just come together so much in the last little while – you’re seeing better restaurants opening up, more education options, all kinds of amenities and a real sense of community. It feels great to be riding that wave.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Ontario to place 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers to cool GTA housing market

April 20th, 2017


The Canadian Press has learned that the Ontario government will place a 15-per-cent tax on non-resident foreign buyers as part of a much-anticipated package of housing measures to be unveiled today.

The measures are aimed at cooling down a red-hot real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa have said the measures will target speculators, expedite more housing supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices.

Sousa says investing in real estate is not a bad thing, but he wants speculators to pay their fair share.

He says the measures will also look at how to expedite housing supply, and he has appeared receptive to Toronto Mayor John Tory’s call for a tax on vacant homes.

Sousa has also raised the issue of bidding wars, and has suggested realtor practices will be dealt with in the housing package.

The Liberals have also said that the government is developing a “substantive” rent control reform that could see rent increase caps applied to all residential buildings or units. Currently, they only apply to buildings constructed before November 1991.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

Consult an experienced lawyer when pondering a strata sale

April 20th, 2017

List property publicly to get best price, but be ready for a court fight

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata is considering the option of selling. We have been approached by a developer who has offered us all 20 per cent above our current assessed values. 

Because our strata is only 32 units, it has been suggested that we each negotiate directly with the developer, but what happens if only 10 owners sell? How does an 80-per-cent vote apply if one owner controls more than 20 per cent of the votes and tries to block the sale unless we agree to the conditions they set out in the sale? 

Our owners are trying to look at the best option to consider, and we still have eight owners who are very much opposed to a sale, so the chances of winding up are unlikely. Several owners are suspicious because the developer is dealing directly with one council member and the remaining owners have not been a part of the discussions. 

Our real question relates to the best method of a sale. How do we get the best deal that is fair and treats everyone fairly?


Dear JTR:

The concept you are looking for is transparency. Your strata corporation is a collective of owners considering whether to wind up your strata corporation and sell it to a buyer. Other than the number of units and technical requirements of the legislation, think of this as a routine real estate sale. How do you get the best price? You list your home with an agent, go to market, review offers, counter offer and negotiate the terms and conditions of the deal. The best results come from the same process for a large-scale windup. 

The strata corporation retains a commercial broker, acting in their sole interest who markets the property on a worldwide scale, and depending on your location and development potential in the next three to 10 years, will bring you a number of offers.

Your strata council act as your representative and may counter offer to the highest bidders and ultimately negotiate an offer it can bring to the owners to consider. 

I would strongly recommend you retain a lawyer who has experience with the winding-up process to review your brokerage agreement and terms and conditions of a sale before you sign. The technical and legal requirements of the Strata Property Act, and the requirements for resolutions and accurate governance at the meeting where you vote by 80 per cent are daunting and mistakes are easily made. If you pass an 80-per-cent vote, but less than 100 per cent of the owners are in favour, a court application is required to approve the sale of the strata and winding up of the strata corporation.  

If one person is trying to convince your owners to negotiate with only one developer, the only logical conclusion for resisting open competition for your property is that they likely have a side deal that no one else is aware of.

The change in the vote to 80 per cent is less than a year old and a number of conflicts around undisclosed settlements with individual owners have already arisen. Avoid conflicts and undisclosed settlements, list your property and go public. 

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Yukon Residences at 450 West 59th Avenue 32 one, two, three and four bedroom flats and townhouses by Alabaster Homes

April 20th, 2017

Alabaster Homes? development offers ?homey? touch to owners looking to downsize

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

Yukon Residences

Where: 450 West 59th Ave., Vancouver

What: 32 one-, two- and three-bedroom (garden flats); and three- and four-bedroom (townhomes)

Residence sizes and prices: One, two and three- bedroom garden flats: (511 to 1,626 square feet) and townhomes (1,410 to 1,640 square feet), from $600,000 (garden flats) and from $1.7 million (townhomes)

Developer and builder: Alabaster Homes

Sales centre: 301 — 1788 W. Broadway

Sales centre hours: Call for appointment at 604-558-5850

To find inspiration for her work on the design of the spaces at Yukon Residences, Brenda Chiu looked to the features of the building and the community that surrounds it.

“It is important for the interiors to feel home-y, beautiful and timeless. [In this case], it really reflects the building’s architecture and the neighbourhood,” says Chiu of the Alabaster Homes’ development at West 59th in Vancouver. “The interior esthetics were inspired from the exterior architectural style.”

Considering that the building was crafted in a manner reminiscent of Victorian architecture, Chiu and the designers at Area3 Design thought it was befitting to decorate indoors in a “transitional” style. Transitional design brings in some elements of the contemporary, but in an understated way, blending it with a decidedly traditional look. This style appeals to many of the home buyers attracted to Yukon Residences, who are downsizing from larger houses.

Chiu describes the method behind creating a traditional vibe, with a touch of contemporary upgrade: she and Area3 Design designers started by setting the tone and colour scheme with the hardwood flooring and cabinetry colour. One scheme, comprising white cabinetry with warm taupe oak-stained engineered hardwood, “is classic and timeless,” she says. Chiu chose the second theme, which includes grey cabinetry with coordinating grey stained oak engineered hardwood flooring, for its “modern transitional” characteristics, she adds.

Area3 Design then created interest through layering contrasting finishes and materials, such as the chevron marble backsplash and contrasting colour quartz countertop. The transitional appeal can be found in the details.

“Transitional details can be seen on the shaker cabinetry, crown mouldings, interior door panelling, and the wide-set lavatory faucet with cross handles,” says Chiu. “Every design detail has been selected carefully to enhance the transitional characteristics and to give the home owners an exceptional quality-built home.”
Chiu and her colleagues are experienced in designing for homes that appeal to older buyers looking to sell their larger homes for smaller suites that are easier to maintain. She says these buyers would do well to arm themselves with a plan to purge, and, importantly, to gauge the layout of the new space.

“I think the worst thing is moving all the your furniture and finding out that it won’t fit and you just live with it,” she advises.
“This makes the rooms not functional and creates stress. So, it’s a good idea to come up with a furniture plan before moving into a new home.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Vancouver correction may be short-lived says real estate chief

April 19th, 2017

Steve Randall

Housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver are heading in opposite directions but a prominent real estate executive believes that the downward turn for Vancouver may not last.

Royal Le Page president and CEO Phil Soper has given his assessment of the market as his brokerage releases its latest House price Survey. The figures show a 12.6 per cent year-over-year gain for house prices nationwide in the first quarter of 2017 to $574,575.

The two hottest housing markets are in focus, particularly for their differing trajectories.

“For the first time in several years, real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto are headed in opposite directions,” said Soper. “The Vancouver market stalled, as confused consumers took to the sidelines after a series of uncoordinated moves by all three levels of government. With the housing shortage becoming more acute, Toronto easily stepped forward to assume the title of Canada’s most overheated real estate market.”

But while sales have dropped in Vancouver, and RLP’s data shows a 40 per cent decline in activity in the Lower Mainland, Soper says that those who chose not to sell their homes when the foreign buyer tax was introduced, may now go ahead.

“There is now reason to believe that the market correction underway in Vancouver may be short-lived,” said Soper. “The reality is that as much as 90 per cent of the housing activity that disappeared overnight in the Lower Mainland after the tax was introduced was from Canadian residents, not foreign investors. Homebuyers are waking up to this reality and may be ready to rush back into the market.”

For Toronto, Soper says the co-operation between federal and provincial governments is a good thing and that hasty regulations could cause a sharp correction in the market.

Elsewhere, he says the market is balancing with Alberta looking brighter and Quebec emerging as one of the healthiest housing markets in Canada.

Despite risks to the economy, including global factors, Soper says that the Canadian housing market is healthier than it has been for years but concluded: “Our concerns with the state of Canadian real estate begin and end with Toronto and Vancouver.”

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

CREA releases latest stats, warns against further housing policy

April 18th, 2017

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

It was a record-breaking month for Canadian real estate in March.

The association says home sales over its Multiple Listings Service system increased by 1.1 per cent in March to top the previous monthly record set in April 2016.

Sales were up on a month-over-month basis in more than half of the local markets measured, led by Greater Vancouver and the nearby Fraser Valley region in B.C. as well as London, Ont., St. Thomas, Ont. and Montreal.

Compared with a year ago, sales were up 6.6 per cent as gains in the Greater Toronto Area led the way.

“The current strength in national home sales mainly speaks to what’s going on in and around Toronto,” said CREA President Andrew Peck. “Elsewhere, sales either remain slow or well below previous heights. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future.”

The actual national average price for homes sold in March this year was $548,517, up 8.2 per cent from a year ago.

Excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, the average price was $389,726.

With Toronto’s red hot housing market overshadowing the rest of the country, CREA took the opportunity to warn the government about the impact federal regulations – aimed at cooling Toronto’s market – could have on markets across the country.

“The latest Canadian housing market statistics suggest that the drum-tight housing market balance in Toronto and nearby cities stands in contrast to housing market trends elsewhere in Ontario and other provinces,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Because housing market balance varies by location, federal or provincial policy measures aimed at cooling demand in Toronto risk destabilizing housing markets elsewhere.”

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd