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Profile of Westbourne Residences

It was once the Shaughnessy of New Westminster

“Eighty years ago, a lot of the top industrialists and architects who were building all the developments on the waterfront had their homes here,” said James Askew, President of rareEarth Project Marketing Ltd.

“So you see a lot of these big stately character homes in this area,”

The area is Brow of the Hill, located in the west end of the the city.

But the neighbourhood hasn’t seen much in the way of development over the last half-century, Askew says.

“Most of the activity was happening closer to the waterfront. So this is the next big area that’s happening. We see this as a renaissance of Brow of the Hill in New West.”

One of the first to see the potential, Jago Developments has broken ground in Brow of the Hill for Westbourne Residences. The project will hold five townhomes, including one two-bedroom and four three-bedroom, and 50 one-to-three bedroom condos. The one-bedrooms come in six different floorplans. And the price-point is competitive, with small (526-square-foot) one-bedrooms starting at $199,000.

“There are some smaller homes, to keep the price point down,” said Westbourne Residences Sales Manager Tara Lok.

Askew believes the area’s property values “have lagged behind other regions of Greater Vancouver,” and that “this has created a great opportunity for locals and buyers from other areas of Vancouver to take advantage of the relative great value for New West real estate.”

The success of two new residential towers by the riverfront indicates that New Westminster is no longer strictly a local secret.

Now, people in other parts of the Lower Mainland are “all of a sudden realizing that New West is a fantastic place and the value is great.

“I’d say it has maybe a 10 or 15 per cent lower value cost than in the Edmonds-Burnaby area, which is three minutes away.”

The price may be low (at least by Vancouver standards) but the developer hasn’t stinted on space or materials.

The homes are larger than standard, Askew said.

“Our typical two-bedroom two-bathroom is going to be 820 square feet or larger,” Askew said. “It’s a generous size that you can actually live in. Because of the cost here, we can afford to have a larger home for still a lower price point than you would find elsewhere.”

Space has been carefully considered so that, even in the smaller units, “you can comfortably fit a formal dining room and living space and still have room to move around,” Lok said.

Ceiling heights are nine feet. The five townhomes have huge roof top decks, and other homes have oversized decks. Many decks have gas bibs for barbecues.

Kitchen features include quartz countertops with breakfast bar, soft-close cabinets, and full-size stainless steel appliances with gas cooktop (front-loading washer and dryer are also full-size).

Most homes have pantry storage.

Bathrooms have soaker tubs and under-cabinet lighting, master bedrooms have a walk-in closet and en suites featuring glass-enclosed showers.

Flooring is wide-plank laminate, with carpet in bedrooms.

The West Coast modern exterior will feature a striking amount of brick.

“The site is visible from almost three sides,” Robert Ciccozzi, president of Robert Ciccozzi Architecture, said.

“Typically, you’re always looking for economies in these types of building. If you’re facing out in front, you put your quality materials around the front and the entry. In this case, because it does have three visible sides to it, it does have a more than normal amount of quality materials, like brick.”

The site is on a steep grade, which the builder is turning into an advantage.

“We follow the natural step of the land, which allows for lovely big outdoor spaces,” Lok said.

A huge terrace extends from the first floor on the south-facing side. It will have an outdoor kitchen, bocce court and a kids’ area, with doors that open into indoor amenities such as a sports lounge, TV lounge, and yoga studio.

“The amenities are but all about areas where people can congregate and get to know each other,” Askew said.

“That’s the part that’s missing in a lot of developments. People are going up elevators and never seeing each other.”

Other parts of the Lower Mainland are easily accessible via the SkyTrain. New West SkyTrain station is a 10-15 minute walk from Westbourne, and the 22nd Street station about 15-20 minutes. The property itself on a quiet residential street.

“Every time I’m up in this area I’m seeing neighbours out walking with dogs, or out with kids,” Lok said.

“It’s a very family-friendly neighbourhood. It’s a lovely community, and people here are excited about our building, because it’s new and unique in design.”

The waterfront is a 15-minute walk away from Westbourne. The award-winning Westminster Pier Park includes a 600-meter waterfront boardwalk, green spaces, picnic tables, volleyball courts, a basketball court, public art, and two preschool aged playgrounds.

“Where the market’s really taken off for New West is when people go down to the waterfront and say to themselves, ‘Well, I’d rather be here anyway than be in Burnaby or Richmond or other areas of Vancouver,’” Askew said.

“It really is a waterfront city with a lot of history and heritage to it. There’s so much going on here, people haven’t explored as much as they should.”

Westbourne Residences
Project Address: 1301 Cariboo St., New Westminster
Project Size: 55 1-3 bedroom condos and townhomes
Residence size: 526-1270 square feet
Price: from $199,000
Developer: Jago
Architect: Robert Ciccozzi Architecture, Inc.
Interior designer: Cynthia Florano Design Inc.
Sales centre: 501 12th Street, New Westminster
Open for previews: Will start April 16 at noon, and then open daily 12-5 p.m. except on Fridays.  Grand Opening to be late-April.
Sales phone: 604-553-4855
Completion: spring 2017
Shawn Conner
Special to The Sun