Archive for March, 2011

Large condos means big value at Sunset Grove

Thursday, March 31st, 2011


BIG CONDOS: Sunset Grove offers 1 bedroom + den condos that are bigger than many 2 bedroom homes – and priced much lower. See the show homes at 6520 194th Street, Surrey this weekend. For complete details, contact the Sunset Grove Sales Centre at 604-532-7711, or visit

Home buyers wanting a new condominium have discovered a ‘spacious’ surprise at popular Sunset Grove in Surrey, an award-winning new community by trusted builder, Solterra. They are finding that the 1 bedroom + den homes at Sunset Grove are as big – up to 742 sq. ft. – as many 2 bedroom condominiums in other developments. And the price is much lower. “Many of our 1 bedroom + den homeowners started off looking for 2 bedrooms and realized that our dens were so spacious, it was better value to opt for a 1 bedroom + den home” says Laura Rizzo, VP Marketing. Speaking of good value – 1 bedroom homes at Sunset Grove start at just $199,900 and 1 + dens are from just $234,900. To put this in perspective, consider that the typical price for a Metro Vancouver resale condominium is now $399,300 and typical resale condo in the Fraser Valley sells for $245,500. Of course, no resale condominium offers the quality, style and space of Solterra’s new Sunset Grove. For instance, Sunset Grove one bedroom homes have open living areas that are both wider and longer than most condos, large windows full of natural light, and a large covered deck, perfect for all-season entertaining. Designer kitchens include granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, the spacious master bedroom easily welcomes a king-size bed and the ensuite has a soaker tub, his-and-her sinks, as well as radiant heated tile floors; an option not even offered by most builders. What is particularly unique about Sunset Grove is its unparalleled green space amenities. There is a large central courtyard, community gardens, a playground and an additional play field for all homeowners to enjoy. There is also a city greenway running along the back of the community and a future park on the neighbouring property. A recent survey returned the following comments from homeowners, “The price was right, as well as the location…the second I saw the complex, I knew this would be the right place for me.” “When I was looking for places to buy, Sunset Grove stood out from the rest. It looked like a great place to live, and sure enough, it is!” “[Our realtor] brought us; [we] liked Sunset Grove from the moment we stepped out of our car.” Sunset Grove is a boutique master planned community of ‘move-in ready’ condos, townhomes and carriage-style townhomes located in Surrey’s popular East Clayton neighbourhood, close to recreation, services and shopping. See the show homes at 6520 194th Street, Surrey this weekend. For complete details, contact the Sunset Grove Sales Centre at 604-532-7711, or visit Copyright Real Estate Weekly

Polygon’s Red Maple Park – Langley

Thursday, March 24th, 2011



LANGLEY TOWNHOMES FROM JUST $299,900: Red Maple Park by Polygon offers some of Langley’s best value. Starting this Saturday, March 26th, Red Maple Park presentation centre will be open daily from noon to 6 pm, except Friday, at 7938 209th Street, Langley. For complete information, call 604-888-8699, or email [email protected]

With a central Langley location, well-designed two, three and four bedroom townhomes and a spectacular resort-style clubhouse, Polygon’s Red Maple Park is generating lots of excitement from first time home buyers looking to enter the market with low payments starting at just $999 a month. “We are really excited to be a part of those exciting first time purchases when we open tomorrow and the response so far with our special low payment offering has been amazing,” says sales manager Judy Rohatyn. “Young families are definitely showing a lot of interest, especially when they learn about our impressive resort-style clubhouse and great location.” Located just off 80th Ave. on 209th Street in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood, Red Maple Park is conveniently close to lots of restaurants, shopping, and recreation centres but is tucked away on a nice quiet residential street close to schools and parks. The area has been buzzing with growth and activity lately, and there are also plans for a new school and park just steps from Red Maple Park. Warm Arts-and-Crafts inspired architecture makes for a welcoming streetscape at Red Maple Park, with charming design elements such as custom wood bracketing, window shelves, arched doorways and low-pitched roofs with signature dormers. Inside, each home is full of comfort and convenience with cozy fireplaces in great open-plan layouts. Gourmet kitchens have everything you need with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and horizontal grain flat-panel cabinetry. The homes at Red Maple Park are centred around a residents-only clubhouse called “The Maples Club” which offers 8,400-square-feet of amenity space with resort-style pool, whirlpool, guest suites for out-of-town visitors, fitness studio, great room with fireplace, an indoor park, resident concierge, theatre room and more. Nestled just beside the clubhouse is The Maples Park – a private outdoor park and playground with a collection of exciting play structures for kids. “We are really excited to open our doors on March 26th”, adds Rohatyn, “With all the interest we’ve received we know these homes will sell quickly so I’m encouraging anyone looking to get into a new townhome in a great neighbourhood to visit us this weekend”. Red Maple Park sales centre is located at 7938 209th Street in Langley and open noon to 6pm daily except Friday. For information call 604-888-8699 or email [email protected] Copyright Real Estate Weekly

SUN at 72: Your Home, Designed Your Way

Thursday, March 17th, 2011


LIMITED TIME PROMOTION: $299,900 for 2 bedroom townhomes that buyers can customize with a vast menu of no-charge options plus, a $10,000 decorator allowance! SUN at 72 features contemporary architecture and design-savvy interiors, plus huge savings. The SUN at 72 show homes are open noon to 5 p.m. daily, except Fridays, at 19477 72nd Avenue, Surrey. Call 604-575-8806 for complete information or visit

In today’s red-hot housing market, the chance to purchase a spacious two-bedroom townhome for $299,900 seems improbable. Make it a brand new home that buyers can customize to their taste with many upgrade options – plus a $10,000 decorator’s allowance, or cash equivalent off the price – and it appears impossible. Yet that is the reality at SUN at 72, the Kitsilano-inspired community in Surrey by award-winning builder Solterra, which has just launched its Signature Series promotion. At SUN at 72, buyers can choose spacious two-bedroom and flex townhomes with private ground-floor entrance, garage, two levels of living space and big, bright windows; or step up to a three-bedroom townhome of nearly 1,500 square feet, with two-car garages, for $391,900. (That works out to around $260 per square foot, or about one-third the cost of a new, small Vancouver condo.) The exterior architecture at SUN at 72 is pure West Coast contemporary by Rositch Hempel Architects, with dramatic roof overhangs, cedar accents and oversized windows surrounded by Hardie-plank siding, all built with rainscreen wall technology. All homes boast spacious, entertainment sized decks and private yards “For SUN at 72, we have created fresh, contemporary homes that have a distinct Kitsilano twist, both inside and out,” said Laura Rizzo, Solterra’s Vice President of Marketing. The inspired interiors already feature wide-plank flooring throughout the main level with premium, cut-pile carpeting in bedrooms. All homes have handset entry tile floors, nine-foot ceilings on the main level, fireplaces, huge windows and a choice of two colour schemes. The gourmet kitchens come with over-counter stainless steel sinks and a stainless steel GE appliance package. Bathrooms boast Kohler fixtures and handset glazed porcelain tiles. Spacious ensuites feature his-and-her sinks and a beautiful tiled backsplash. Some ensuites have walk-in showers and deep soaker bathtubs. The Signature Series promotion at SUN at 72 means options such as a main-floor powder room, second bathroom, heated floors in the main bathroom, stone kitchen counters and a kitchen eating bar are all included if you want them; pick and choose to design the home that suits your lifestyle. SUN at 72 is future-proofed with smart wiring for high-speed data, Internet and cable. Extra-quiet party walls, hard-wired smoke and CO2 detectors and heavy-duty gutters are standard. Also standard is 2-5-10 third party new home warranty, including 10 years on structural. The location – close to Smart Centre shopping, schools, recreation and extensive parklands – is to live for. SUN at 72 represents an astounding new home value. Hurry in to find out how you can save on the best home selection and options during the Signature Series promotion. The SUN at 72 show homes are open noon to 5 p.m. daily, except Fridays, at 19477 72nd Avenue, Surrey. Call 604-575-8806 for complete information or visit Copyright Real Estate Weekly

Resident concerns surround tower proposal in Vancouver neighbourhood

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Planned 268 units include 206 condos and 62 rental units

Cheryl Rossi
Van. Courier

Rize Alliance Properties Ltd. with Acton Ostry Architects wants the city to rezone the block between East Broadway and 10th Avenue, Kingsway and Watson Street to allow for a commercial and residential development. Photograph by: submitted, artist rendering

So many people have signed up for a workshop on a proposed 26-storey tower at Broadway and Kingsway, the site of a Christmas 2009 blaze, that the city’s moved the meeting to a bigger place. Rize Alliance Properties Ltd. with Acton Ostry Architects wants the city to rezone the block between East Broadway and 10th Avenue, Kingsway and Watson Street to allow for a commercial and residential development. A community workshop on the project March 20 has been moved from the Native Education College to The Salt Building in The Village on False Creek. The 26-storey tower is proposed for the corner of 10th Avenue and Kingsway. Rize and Acton Ostry propose retail at grade on Broadway, Watson and Kingsway with residential units in five and six storeys above. Of 268 units, 206 would be condos and 62 would be rentals. The proposal includes a 9,200-square-foot artist production space on the corner of 10th and Watson, wider sidewalks, 362 bicycle-parking stalls and three levels of underground parking for 319 vehicles. Parking and loading access would be off Watson. Mount Pleasant resident Lee Chapelle believes the rezoning proposal violates the community plan for the neighbourhood that the city approved in November 2010. Chapelle said he and his wife Grace MacKenzie participated in planning as part of the city’s community liaison group, though he became doubtful of the process and dropped out for a while. Chapelle said they were “stunned” and “horrified” when at the group’s final meeting in September 2009, the city and Acton Ostry presented a plan for the tall project. “Unless the community rises up in revolt soon it seems a virtual lock to go ahead,” Chapelle said. He noted posters urging passersby to save Mount Pleasant and to attend upcoming meetings were recently plastered around his neighbourhood. Chapelle doesn’t want the tower to block the view of the North Shore mountains from Kingsway. He doesn’t believe the proposed development respects the area’s look and feel. He says he wouldn’t oppose 10- or 12-storey buildings, similar to those being erected on Kingsway, on the disputed site. Chapelle, a retired city employee and computer consultant, says the artist production space would benefit only a few. He was also unexcited about the proposed widened sidewalks. “Yeah, whoopee. So the people that get off the bus can walk eight abreast instead of six abreast,” he said. He noted the city’s urban design guidelines for central Broadway say nothing should overshadow the iconic eight-storey Lee Building on the northwest corner of Main and Broadway. “It’s all being just ignored by this group. The developer has got this group of city planners in their pockets and they’re plowing ahead with this massive building on the top of a hill,” Chapelle said. Brent Toderian, the city’s director of planning, says the Mount Pleasant plan identified three sites—the IGA property on Main at 14th, Kingsgate Mall and Broadway and Kingsway—that could take buildings taller than the 13 storeys allowed under the current commercial zoning. He said they must be examples of good urban design and offer public benefits. Peter Burch, the city’s lead planner on the community plan, said a landmark building was discussed for Broadway and Kingsway. But the community plan notes that height was “a very sensitive issue” during the development of the document “where there was the least convergence of community opinion.” Burch noted participants differentiated between various areas of “UpTown,” between Ontario and Prince Edward, Seventh and 16th. He said members of the community wanted to retain the character of Main Street, the Lee Building and the triangle of properties where Main and Kingsway converge, but they saw extra height in specific areas could be worth considering to achieve public benefits. Chris Vollan, vice president of development for Rize, said his company’s proposal is facing “push back” from the community because of the proposed building height. He said most of the opponents don’t realize it fits “one hundred per cent” with the community plan that calls for more mostly low- to mid-rise buildings, infills and high-rises only on select sites. “We happen to be dumb enough [to be] asking for rezoning on one of the big sites right after the plan came out,” he said. Toderian said the proposed height and public benefits will be discussed with the public in an “enhanced community engagement process” that includes the five-hour workshop March 20. A follow-up open house where the public can view the response made by the project design team to the March 20 workshop is planned for April 12 at Heritage Hall. Rize previously considered placing stacking containers where artists could produce and exhibit their work on the site. Toderian and Burch weren’t sure why that project didn’t go ahead. © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Spam Emails, FISA New Privacy Regulations regarding contacting clients – Major Fines if not careful

Monday, March 14th, 2011


Download Document

Paragon Vancouver casino proposal: a timeline

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Mega casino plan rooted in city approval seven years ago

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

Paragon Gaming Inc. wants to build a casino adjacent to BC Place Stadium with 1,500 slot machines and 150 games tables. submitted artist rendering.

To approve or reject a proposal for the biggest casino in Western Canada? That is a decision city council will make either this month or next, depending on the outcome of public hearings, which begin March 7. Paragon Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas wants to build a casino adjacent to B.C. Place Stadium, featuring 1,500 slot machines and 150 games tables. Two hotels and restaurants are planned for the $500 million complex. So how did this come about? Here’s a timeline: – In January 2004, city council approves slot machines for the Edgewater Casino at the Plaza of Nations, making it the first gaming facility in the city to have the machines. Then-mayor Larry Campbell and councillors Jim Green, Raymond Louie, Tim Stevenson and David Cadman vote for slots. Councillors Peter Ladner, Tim Louis, Anne Roberts and Fred Bass vote against. Sam Sullivan (conflict) and Ellen Woodsworth (absent) don’t vote. – Edgewater opens in February 2005. Then-owners Gary Jackson and Len Libin predict revenue to be $125 million for the first year of operation. Total revenue for 2005/2006 fiscal year is $73 million. – In May 2006, Jackson and Libin file for protection from creditors under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act. No liquor licence for the gaming floor, lack of signs advertising the casino, parking limits and competition from suburban casinos contributed to the loss in revenues, Jackson tells the Courier. – In September 2006, Jackson and Libin reach a deal with Paragon Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas to buy the casino for $43 million. Edgewater becomes the first foreign-owned casino in B.C. – In October 2008, city council approves amendments to the False Creek North official development plan, which includes a reference to “a major casino that will also serve the city and region.” – In November 2008, Gregor Robertson and seven of his Vision Vancouver councillors are elected in the civic election. Edgewater slot supporters Louie, Stevenson and Cadman are re-elected. – In April 2009, the B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), which is the provincial Crown agency that manages B.C. Place Stadium, issues a request for proposals for development of lands west of stadium. – In June 2009, PavCo notifies Paragon it won the bid. – In February 2010, Paragon signs 70-year lease with PavCo to build casino/hotel project adjacent to the stadium. The lease is subject to council approval and a series of factors outlined in PavCo’s agreement, including securing $350 million in financing. – In March 2010, Premier Gordon Campbell announces Paragon’s plans for a casino, saying, “During the Olympic Winter Games, the streets of Vancouver were alive with the Olympic spirit and we hope this entertainment complex will help recapture some of that excitement.” – In June 2010, PavCo, Paragon and city staff hold two open houses on the project. – In July 2010, the urban design panel–a city advisory committee–approves the project’s design. – In February 2011, the city hosts an open house on gaming that attracts more than 100 Edgewater employees concerned about their jobs. Paragon’s lease at the Plaza of Nations expires in 2013. – The next evening in Chinatown, more than 100 people attend a meeting organized by Vancouver, not Vegas!, a coalition opposed to Paragon’s proposal. Renowned architect Bing Thom calls for a referendum on gaming expansion. – This month, more than 120 people register to speak at a public hearing scheduled for March 7. More hearing dates are expected, with some possibly rolling into April. Monday night’s hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Cancel Protected & Privacy Protected Explanation

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Kim Spencer

Download Document

Paying off mortgage best bang for the buck

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011


Paying off your mortgage faster provides the best bang for the investment dollar, according to financial analysts – and the shorter the amortization the better, “In a nutshell, on a risk-adjusted after-tax basis, paying down your mortgage is one of the best uses of money in general,” said Rob McLister, a mortgage broker and editor of the CanadianMortgage. Trends website. However, exceptions exist. Paying off high-cost debt is still the best first option, McLister said. But with the historically low mortgage rates in Canada, prepaying a mortgage can provide a greater return than many other available investments. For example, McLister said, a Canadian in a 40 per cent tax bracket would get a 6.15 per cent after-tax return from prepaying a mortgage with a competitive 3.69 per cent rate. That is far better than what is offered by most non-registered investments. Moreover, McLister noted, paying down the mortgage is virtually risk free, while most other investments aren’t. Because interest is compounded, the earlier in the term the lump-sum payment is made, the better, However, few Canadians actually make mortgage prepayments. The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals fall 2010 survey showed that 12 per cent of mortgage holders (or about 650,000 Canadians) made lump-sum payments on their mortgage last year. Another 16 per cent (or 925,000 people) increased the amount of their monthly payments, and only 7 per cent (or 375,000 people) did both. About 5.65 million Canadians have mortgages. The average lump-sum payment was only 1 per cent of the outstanding mortgage amount. But even small payments have a multiplier effect. A homeowner with a $300,000 mortgage and a 35-year amortization, for example, could save $71,000 over the life of the mortgage if he or she moved to an accelerated weekly payment from a monthly payment. Taking a 25-year term rather than a 35-year term can save up to $90,000. Cutting the term to 25 years from 30 years cuts $53,000 in interest and costs only $84 a month extra. It also helps to put the biggest downpayment possible on any mortgage. A homeowner who puts only 5 per cent down on a $300,000 house and pays a fixed rate of 5 per cent over a 35-year amortization term will pay C$325,000 in interest–effectively doubling the cost of the home. That compares to $265,000 in interest for those who make a 20 per cent downpayment.

Copyright Real Estate Weekly

New BC Place roof will ‘be fine’ in high wind, says PavCo chair

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

B.C. Place’s new retractable fabric roof cost $240 million. Photograph by: Dan Toulgoet, Courier

VANCOUVER – The old roof on BC Place Stadium was no match for powerful winds three years ago when the air-supported dome ripped open and forced workers to deflate it for repairs.

High winds were on David Podmore’s mind Wednesday when he led media, politicians and high school students on a tour of the stadium, which is getting a new $240 million retractable fabric roof.

The obvious question: Will the new roof be able to withstand a powerful windstorm such as the one today that cancelled ferry sailings, knocked out power to Lower Mainland residents and shut down Grouse Mountain?

“It’ll be fine,” said Podmore, the chairperson for BC Pavilion Corp., the provincial Crown corporation that owns the stadium. “The building is designed for Vancouver weather conditions and it’s designed for the more extreme conditions.”

The winds forced workers at the stadium to shut down the operation of cranes in the inner bowl, preventing any heavy lifts. Podmore said safety legislation prevents such work when winds gust beyond 24 kilometres per hour.

The stadium will be home to the B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps. A decision will be made prior to a game whether the roof will be opened or closed. Podmore said it was unlikely the roof will be opened or closed during a game if there was a change in the weather.

“If you think about a convertible car, it wouldn’t be very bright to drive down the highway at a 100 kilometres an hour and open the convertible roof on your car,” he said, referring to a windstorm. “It’s not a sensible thing to be doing.”

Though Vancouver doesn’t get a lot of snow, the new roof is designed to withstand heavy snowloads. Podmore said the roof cannot be left open year-round and allow snow to fall on the field because the stadium regularly hosts trade shows, concerts and other events.

The stadium was used an average of 210 days a year before construction began and the expectation is to add 40 more days of events. Renovations, including cost of the roof, total $563 million.

The new cable-supported retractable roof will be the largest of its kind in the world. But it will not fully retract to the outer rim of the stadium, meaning spectators will always be covered from rain and snow.

The roof will retract enough so the playing surface will be exposed to the elements and, on a sunny day, reveal more than 7,500 square metres of blue sky. The roof will take approximately 20 minutes to open or close.

From inside the stadium, Podmore pointed out where louvers will be installed at the upper edges of the building to allow for ventilation and natural light. All of the 36 masts, which arrived at the stadium in three pieces, are now in place high above the stadium.

A cable network resembling a series of suspension bridges runs from the 240-tonne masts to a centre node on top of a temporary seven-storey steel structure at midfield. This is where crews fasten the cables and where a large scoreboard will hang.

The field, which was a muddy mess, will be covered in FIFA-approved artificial turf. Podmore said turf was chosen instead of grass because grass is difficult to maintain, particularly when it has to be covered to accommodate trade shows and concerts.

The B.C. Lions will open the stadium Sept. 30.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier