VANCOUVER SUN: NORTH VAN'S CANYON SPRINGS CLOSE TO NATURE


You’ll never catch a seasoned marketer saying that something is selling itself — but you could almost be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to Polygon’s Canyon Springs project in North Vancouver.

Half of the homes have already been snapped up, based on the developer’s savvy decision to pick a location in Lynn Valley. Presales opened for a brief period before construction began in the summer of 2013, were shut down to allow the work to proceed, and resumed in mid-April of this year.

“The people buying here have grown up in North Vancouver — maybe they’re renting in downtown Vancouver, but they want to return because they have strong connections to family in the area,” explains Monique Janower, senior vice-president of marketing for Polygon.

She says the attractions of the area are obvious to anyone with an active lifestyle.

They include easy access to mountain biking on Mount Fromme, fishing off Rice Lake Bridge, jumping into the 30 Foot Pool swimming hole for a refreshing dip, swaying on the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge 50 metres above the rushing waters below, and hiking along the Baden Powell trail or in the Seymour Demonstration Forest.

There are plenty of dog-friendly parks and the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre to explore as well, and many a quiet afternoon to be spent contemplating Norfan Falls at Lynn Headwaters.

Recreational activities are available year-round for those with the right gear to explore the beautiful backcountry.

Janower acknowledges the neighbourhood is not as developed as Central or Lower Lonsdale. However, she says that is changing.

More urban amenities like restaurants and retail outlets are on the way.

Lynn Valley Centre already exists to meet the need for grocery shopping, banking, and doctor, dental, and beauty services. It’s only five minutes away from Canyon Springs.

The End of the Line General Store, a neighbourhood fixture for the past century, sells local products, artisan crafts, gifts, and snacks. The name stems from when it was the last stop on a streetcar line, which stopped running in 1947.

Being in a slightly less developed area of North Vancouver also has the benefit of setting the prices for the home at a more accessible level, points out Janower.

“The opportunity to live in North Vancouver starting at $329,900 is something we’re seeing a great response to. With the price of single-family homes being what they are in North Vancouver, many people figured there would be no chance of them ever buying something here.

“There is pent-up demand for multi-family housing in this area — the last new project was probably built five or six years ago.”

Janower reports many of the one-bedroom homes have been bought by first-time purchasers, who had been renting or living at home with their parents, in order to save money for down payments.

There has been some interest in the larger homes from those downsizing from single-family houses in the neighbourhood, and very limited activity from the investor segment of the market — she believes the vast majority of buyers will be end users.

At Canyon Springs, developers have chosen to divide the homes between two buildings; one is four storeys high, while the other is five storeys. They are interconnected by a central courtyard for all residents to enjoy. Other little touches acknowledge the reality of catering to outdoorsy North Vancouver buyers; bike lockers will keep expensive trail bikes safe, while a dog wash area is handy to get all of the mud off Fido’s paws before heading into an individual apartment.

When it came to the architecture of the project, Janower says the developers wanted to acknowledge the West Coast esthetic, without the property feeling rustic.

That means large timber accents on the exterior of the buildings, rather than framing it out entirely in timber. Large roof overhangs provide shade and shelter from the rain. A modern neutral palette of grey-brown is employed, instead of conscious mimicry of the forest colours surrounding the project.

A soaring double-height lobby creates a grand entryway to the complex, while shallowly sloped pitched roof accents create visual interest. Some of the ground-level homes will have individual backyards, and every home has some sort of outdoor space. A water feature at the front of the building is crowned by a sculpture from Vancouver-based artist Marie Khouri; inspired by the idea of a forest canopy being seen through the haze of a rain shower, a hollow sphere is made of woven cedar branches encased in bronze. Over time, the verdigris on the bronze will allow it to meld against the forest backdrop.

The homes contain the small upscale touches that many consumers now demand, including a separate shower stall and bathtub in the ensuite bathroom, a double sink vanity, and a stone countertop. There are more stone countertops in the kitchen, glass tile backsplashes, and stainless steel appliances. The package includes a wall oven and a Fisher & Paykel refrigerator.

The range of floor plans available shows sensitivity toward the needs of different types of consumers. In some, the bedrooms are side by side, acknowledging that some buyers are planning ahead for children. Other homes have the bedrooms separated by central living areas, allowing for either a roommate scenario or the privacy of a guest suite.

One-bedroom homes have den areas, allowing room for one half of a professional couple to potentially work from home while the other partner does other tasks around the apartment. The living and dining areas in some suites are more open, making for easy entertaining.

Janower says Polygon does not feel as though any momentum was lost by having a break in the sales period; instead, she believes this has allowed Canyon Springs to appeal to both consumers who are comfortable buying based mainly on floor plans, and those who prefer to see something more concrete.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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