VANCOUVER SUN: WATERFRONT RIVER DISTRICT IN VIBRANT 'HOOD


It’s not hard to get a sense of community in Vancouver’s River District. On a recent sunny afternoon, diners were taking a late lunch outside on a restaurant patio. Cyclists were riding on pathways next to the Fraser River, while pedestrians set a slower pace on little patches of grass. A gleeful young boy tossed a ball repeatedly for his dog. There were smiles or nods from nearly everyone on the boardwalk.

Scenes like this will become more and more common as the area develops; the master plan for the River District calls for more than 7,000 homes to be built over the next two decades. The neighbourhood is a big one – 130 acres of land stretching between Kerr and Boundary Road, enclosed by Marine Way on the north side and the river on the south.

Polygon’s New Water, completed in the fall of 2012, was the first apartment project in the master-planned community from ParkLane Homes. Since that time, more than 250 families have moved into apartments at New Water, reports Ralph Archibald, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Polygon. That’s in part why he is excited for the launch of Polygon’s latest offering in the River District, a project called Shoreline.

“You’re really getting a feel of how this is going to grow as a neighbourhood,” Archibald says. “We’re only going to see more of that with Shoreline.”

In the first phase, 62 one- and two-bedroom homes will be available. They will be true waterfront, with the homes on one side directly overlooking the Fraser River. Archibald points out that this will be the only opportunity for several years to purchase waterfront homes here.

The homes are spacious by Vancouver standards, at more than 700 square feet for one-bedroom apartments, and the largest two-bedroom units topping out at more than 1,000 square feet.

The one-bedrooms feature a walk-in closet and a luxurious ‘hotel spa’ like ensuite bathroom, with rectangular double sinks and a decadently deep soaker tub. The marble countertop in the display suite has a bold horizontal stripe running through it, varying in colour from a deep smoky grey to a creamy off white. It enhances the crisp modern look of the floating undersink storage.

The in-suite washer and dryer are conveniently tucked in nearby, opposite a large closet, with a big storage space near the entryway door.

In the kitchen, a U-shape quartz countertop is a nod to practicality, allowing for prep space, cooking space, and entertaining – a breakfast bar will be a natural gathering spot when guests are over. Traffic will flow easily into the open concept dining and living space, and then onto a generously sized deck.

Some homes offer a Lazy Susan and pantry in the kitchen, to tackle storage of pots and pans and dry goods. The Bosch microwave/hood fan, dishwasher and oven are all stainless steel, as is the Fisher and Paykel refrigerator. Polygon has chosen to go with a full 36-inch-wide appliance, with a freezer drawer on the bottom and french doors. Radiant floor heating is another pleasant added luxury.

The two-bedroom homes have flexible plans for different types of usage. Some have the bedrooms spaced apart by the central living area, with bathrooms ensuite for each, allowing for roommates or guests to have privacy. Others have the central living space on a main floor, with bedrooms side by side on an upper floor – ideal for young families.

So far, Archibald says, buyers appear to be a 50-50 split between first-time homebuyers and those downsizing from single-family homes. Many of the latter, he believes, are jumping at the opportunity to stay in the community.

“There is such great proximity to all these other areas of the Lower Mainland,” Archibald says. “It’s less than 10 minutes drive to Metrotown, a lot of people don’t realize that. There’s a direct bus to the Canada Line, or you can drive to Richmond in seven minutes. Best of all, you get a Vancouver address – I think there’s still a prestige element to that – while paying prices similar to what you would see in Richmond or Burnaby.”

In addition to residential development, there has already been significant growth in retail businesses setting up shop in the area, and development of other amenities. Those in search of recreation have to look no further than Fraserview Golf Course, any number of parks and Riverway Sports Complex in Burnaby, which has natural turf fields, softball diamonds, and a full-sized lacrosse box. Killarney Community Centre has a full fitness facility, ice rink, and swimming pool.

Shoppers and diners can take their pick between heading to Metrotown, Champlain Mall, or Market Crossing – it has restaurants from chains like Boston Pizza, White Spot, and Cactus Club, and big stores like Canadian Tire and London Drugs. Grocery shoppers have no end of choice.

David Oppenheimer is currently the nearest elementary school, but with such a boom in population expected, plans are already underway for two new schools. Daycare facilities will also be expanded in the area.

Archibald says the appeal of the River District is obvious, but for anyone who may still hesitate to take a chance on a newer area of the city, he has a reminder: the best prices are usually available before a neighbourhood becomes extremely popular.

In other words, the early birds, like those who choose to purchase at Shoreline, will get the value.


Shoreline, Artist's Rendering

Source: Vancouver Sun