Archive for October, 2012

Quattro3 in the Central Surrey area by Quattro Development

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

First six-storey condo building completed


After fire levelled the first attempt at constructing a six-storey wood-frame condominium building a year ago, Quattro Development has completed the first such building in the Lower Mainland, called Quattro3.

“We are proud to lead developers with this new markerfor wood-frame construction. It helps keep Quattro3’s home pricesmore affordable for both homebuyers and investors,” said Charan Sethi, president and CEO of the Tien Sher Group of Companies.

The building, in the Central Surrey area, marks a change in B.C.’s building code, which now allows wood-frame buildings as high as six storeys, from four floors previously.

Peter Simpson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, says six-storey wood-frame buildings are aviable option for residential buildings in MetroVancouver. “This type of wood-frame construction is not a new idea,” he said. “It has been going on in Europe with great success in recent years.”

“Six-storey wood-frame construction is as safe as any other form ofconstruction because [the] fire code is even more stringent,” said Anne McMullin, president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute.“Clearly it represents a future trend in B.C. construction.”

In May 2011, fire destroyed the first attempt at building a six-storey wood-frame condominium building in Richmond. The five-hour fire that ripped through the Remy was so intense that firefighters were unable to put it out before 251 unfinished condo units collapsed into a smouldering pile. The Oris Developments Ltd. project is being rebuilt. The first phase of the Remy, all wood frame, is expected to complete later this month (November).

Western Investor November 2012

Commercial real estate is driving Metro Vancouver’s economy

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Economy runs on real estate


Commercial real estate is driving Metro Vancouver’s economy, according to a new report by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). The report, titled The Economic Impact of NAIOP Members, determined that NAIOP members:

• contributed a total of $310 million in property taxes to local governments;

• generated nearly $9.7 billion in economic activity associated with NAIOP member firms and $4.5 billion in GDP in Metro Vancouver;

• generated more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs;

• owned or managed a total of 82.2 million square feet of commercial and mixed-use properties in Metro Vancouver, equating to $19.9 billion in estimated property value; and

• accounted for an average of 3.95 million square feet of new construction in Metro Vancouver over the last five years, estimated at $878 million in value.

“One of the key findings of the study shows the growing importance to our members through the significant amount of property taxes we contribute,” said Darlene Hyde, executive director of the Vancouver chapter of NAIOP.

Western Investor

Red Maple Park – Langely Willoughby neighbourhood

Thursday, October 25th, 2012


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Six of 10 buyers put less thatn 20 percent down

Thursday, October 25th, 2012


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Solo – South of Lougheed – by Appia Developments, corner of Lougheed and Willingdon

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

SOLO: North Burnaby on the High Rise


The southwest corner of Lougheed and Willingdon, formerly the site of a Canadian Tire and industrial landscape, is being transofrmed into a modern mutli-tower community: SOLO, short for South of Lougheed

With plans to make Lougheed Highway more pedestrian friendly, and the long-term vision of the Brentwood Mall redevelopment, there is lots to suggest this pocket of North Burnaby has a bright and growing future.

Great transit links, a dedicated bike lane and myriad amenities nearby make this a very liveable area and help to give this development a pretty high Walk Score. spoke with Appia Developments’ sales manager Lisa Murrell about the  SOLO community. Whole Foods, retail, business and relaxation all help form the legacy of this development.

If the SOLO project was harbouring a dream of the perfect anchor tenant, then it has likely come true. The US organic food chain has a reputation second to none – in fact it even has its own catchphrase: “the Whole Foods Effect.” “Whole Foods is coming? Time to buy,” declared earlier this year.

And while Lisa remained tight-lipped over other businesses, retailers and restaurants lined up to move in, she’s excited by their calibre.

The demographic in North Burnaby is perfect for Whole Foods and other top-notch retail, says Lisa: “North Burnaby loves North Burnaby.” It is the mixed demographic – of students, first-time buyers, young professionals all the way through to older couples looking to downsize – that appeals to Appia’s president Jim Bosa and SOLO’s anchor tenant. The location also ticks a number of other boxes: nearby there is also plenty of employment. Lisa highlights large employers like Bridge Studios; it’s within the student catchment area for Simon Fraser University and BCIT, and then there’s downtown Vancouver, only a 15-20-minute commute on Skytrain.

As well as appealing to the local market, Appia wants to attract people to North Burnaby. Part of the city’s mandate is to increase the density around the transit hubs. “It’s about getting people out of their cars,” says Lisa. “You don’t have to drive to the grocery store, you just go downstairs.” And just a short walk on the other side of Lougheed is Brentwood Mall, home to more shops and restaurants, and set for redevlopment itself.

A mix of sizes caters to the diverse market, but what sets this development apart from most others in Burnaby is that it comes fully air-conditioned, with nine-foot ceilings and an efficient geothermal heating system.

This last point has two major benefits: it’s green and it will reduce energy bills.

And let’s face it, when you live in a beautiful area, views are important. Bosatown, as SOLO and its nearby high-rises are dubbed, is what Lisa describes as a “co-operative build as opposed to a competitive build.” The Bosa clan – Nat, Jim and Ryan – have worked to ensure view corridors are intact. “We looked at the three projects all in a row and made sure that not only was the architecture going to be complementary, but that there was a co-operative plan to redevelop this little North Burnaby pocket. As you move down, you pay attention to what you’ve done.”

Each residence will also get a prepaid 12-month car-share membership with Modo. It’s another move designed to help people reduce their reliance on their own cars.

There are many aspects to a community, but an integral ingredient is people. Manda and Cory Sayers are one of the couples who will be taking occupancy. There were a number of factors that appealed to them but one stood out. Any ideas what it might be? “Whole Foods moving in was a big draw,” says Manda. “We currently live in the area and noticed the towers going up. We found the location really convenient, and easy to get downtown, to Coquitlam and elsewhere.”

Another couple are Sandra and Peter Luongo, for whom nostalgia has played a key role in their decision to move to North Burnaby. 

Peter says, “To be really blunt with you it was coming home; I grew up right in that area. We’ve spent the last 30 years in Surrey and Langley and we’ve loved it here, but this is going home.”

He recalls how the area has evolved since his parents arrived from Italy. “We’ve watched home change,” he says. Modernization and gentrification are not always seen as positive steps, but Peter is happy to see what the area is becoming. “It was the place to go because you could afford it. Now it’s a place to go if you can afford it.”

“When I was 12 I used to catch the express bus with my brother on Hastings, which was a 15-minute ride to downtown. And now with Skytrain it’s a 15-minute journey downtown. When we were kids we shopped at Brentwood Mall and that’s just across the road. Our daughter lives in Burnaby, so does my brother, and we have friends there, too, including our realtor, Tony Merola.”

For Sandra, too, it holds childhood memories. “I didn’t grow up there but the Brentwood area was where we shopped.” She said that before visiting the sales office they didn’t know much about the plans for SOLO and its surrounding community. “We didn’t know what to expect when we went in there [the SOLO sales office] and we liked what we heard. Then later on News Hour we heard about the big plans for the whole area.”

As well as being excited by the expansion and redevelopment of North Burnaby, the couple love that that they will be able to see the North Shore mountains and downtown from their condo. They’re looking forward to being close to the centre of Vancouver – but without having to live there. “It doesn’t feel like we’re living in the booming metropolis, but we can go there whenever we want.”

“If it’s the kind of living you want [condo tower] it’s number one: it surpasses downtown, Lougheed Mall and Metrotown as it gives you access to it all. You can’t beat what SOLO offers”. 

North Burnaby is an area on the high rise. SOLO provides considerable savings on energy bills, a walkable community, a car-share scheme and great transit links. With the wider area also benefitting from redevelopment, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Oh, and Whole Foods is coming… Is it time to buy?

At a Glance: SOLO

Types of units

Junior/studio – 3-bed penthouse and ‘Skyvilla

Size range

479-489 sq. ft. –  1785 sq. ft.


Private balconies; communal rooftop bbq and wet bar, dog park, green space and gardens

Price range

Low $249,900 – $1,328,900

Standard features

Geothermal heat exchange system, central air conditioning, 9 foot ceilings or higher, imported Italian Armony Cucine cabinetry in kitchen and bathrooms, stainless steel appliance packages featuring Blomberg, Bosch, Fisher & Paykel

Building amenities

Detached rooftop fitness studio featuring his/hers change rooms and sauna rooms, double-height party room with full kitchen, poker, ping pong and pool table, covered rooftop terrace bbq area, landscaped rooftop green space and gardens, fully fenced rooftop dog park


© 2012 Real Estate Weekly

Aviara residential tower by Ledingham McAllister in Burnaby’s Brentwood Community

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Ascending with views and value


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Niche 3039 156th Street in South Surrey – Townhouses by Woodbridge Homes

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


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Surrey to consider ‘Micro suites’

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Tom Zytaruk

Surrey will be home to Canada’s smallest condominium if city council gives the OK to a new housing project by property developer Tien Sher.

The 290-square-foot “micro suite” will be the smallest of 56 tiny condos inside Balance, a four-storey wood frame building yet to be built at the corner of Whalley Boulevard and Grosvenor Road in the city centre. Thirty-three of the suites will be 305 square feet or smaller and the largest will be a 653 square foot single bedroom condo priced under $180,000.

Tien Sher expects to begin selling the micro condominiums in January if council gives the green light this fall.

“It’s all in the hands of the city,” said Charan Sethi, president of Tien Sher. “It’s a very niche market.”

The price of these “functional homes” will start at $109,900 but “may come down,” he added.

“If you can afford the $6,000 down payment, and you make a salary of $17 per hour, we have a home for you.”

Sethi said the homes are aimed at people who earn annual salaries of $22,000 to $55,000 and haven’t been able to break into the real estate market. Young professionals, retail employees and single parents are the anticipated buyers.

Sethi said the name Balance reflects the concept that people in their 20s generally “don’t like to be bogged down” with doing a lot of work around the house. “They like to have all the facilities at their fingertips.”

Each suite will contain five stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and a balcony. They won’t come with a parking stall, Sethi said, “but they are available for purchase.

“A 2012 parking study we commissioned showed most purchasers will forego car ownership and its associated costs, in favour of an affordable home purchase,” he said. There will also be a “car-share” vehicle on site, he noted.

Sethi said this project follows in the footsteps of similar ones in New York, Tokyo and Paris.

Peter Simpson, president of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, said he expects to see more micro condos built in this area. “With mortgage amortization periods capped at 25 years, coupled with the high cost of developable land in the Lower Mainland, micro suites are a sensible and cost-effective option for single people looking to purchase their first home,” Simpson said.

© Copyright (c) Surrey Now

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Thursday, October 11th, 2012


Census shows detached house still top choice

Thursday, October 11th, 2012


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