January 4, 2020

Sense of space maximized at The Holland

As condos shrink in size, Metro Vancouver developers are challenged to find ways to give homebuyers the biggest bang for their buck in new projects. That means making sure that no square foot of space is wasted, from medicine cabinets to showers.

An analysis of Statistics Canada data by real estate blogger Better Dwelling found that the median size of a Metro Vancouver condo built between 2016 and 2017 — the latest figures available — was 769 square feet. That is down 3.5 per cent from those built between 2011 and 2015, and 16 per cent smaller than the median of condo sizes built between 1971 and 1990.

At its 25-storey concrete highrise project in Surrey, The Holland, Townline is offering 250 one- and two-bedroom homes ranging from 453 to 828 square feet. It takes pride in being able to offer well-thought-through spaces that are much more functional than some larger spaces built in the past.

“The nice thing about our homes is we don’t have wasted square footage,” says Chris Colbeck, Townline’s vice-president of sales and marketing. “You just can’t afford to waste space anymore. People are paying a lot for these homes. They don’t want to be paying a lot for things like wasted corridor space.”

Years ago, a developer might build a 750-square-foot one-bedroom suite, but it would have a lot of inefficient space that one would never use, Colbeck said. “Nowdays, you get the same utility from a 550 square-foot home because we build a lot more functionality into a smaller space. We pride ourselves on attention to detail.

“We focus first on our floor plans and their efficiency and liveability. We don’t let the architecture dictate the floor plan. What is the best floor plan for the market? It is about the homes that work for the demographic we are after.”

He said maximizing space means reviewing seemingly mundane enhancements in spaces — for instance, making efficient use of medicine cabinets in bathrooms or building a niche in the shower wall, rather than using precious space for storing toiletries in the bottom drawer of a vanity. Colbeck says Townline thrives in today’s less-harried market because it encourages buyers to use their time to ask questions about how Townline maximizes suite space, even including considerations about how the way a door swings could reduce usable space.

At the same time, all the suites in The Holland can accommodate a queen-sized bed, with some of the larger suites allowing for placement of a king, he said.

The same thoughtfulness is extended to planning of amenities available to all residents, he said. The Holland has more than 13,000 square feet of amenities inside and outside the tower. The design strives to curate social spaces where residents are encouraged to interact with other residents. Inside, there is a social lounge with TVs, foosball and a billiards table, a full chef’s kitchen and a harvest-style table. Outdoors, there is a social gathering bar with barbecue, a fireside lounge, another harvest dining table, a children’s play structure and green lawn space.

Even co-work space is considered: there are two meeting rooms with whiteboards, individual work stations, a coffee bar area and printer and copier spaces. Also included are a fitness studio with cardio and strength-training equipment and a designated yoga and stretch area.

Inside the homes, Vancouver-based BYU Design has created a choice of two colours: a warm grey and a sandy tone. Wide-plank laminate flooring is offered throughout each suite and there is air conditioning in every home. All closets have solid wood shelves and chrome rods while each home has contemporary roller blinds for control of natural light and UV protection.

On offer in the kitchen is a Samsung stainless steel appliance package, including a 24-inch refrigerator with bottom freezer, a 24-inch four burner gas cooktop, a slide-out AEG hood fan, a 24-inch wall oven, an integrated dishwasher and a Panasonic built-in microwave with trim kit. The cabinetry is contemporary two-toned upper and lower cabinets with under-cabinet LED lighting, soft close doors and drawers and a solid 1¼ inch stone countertop and full-height backsplash.

The bathroom offers the same level of detail with mirrored medicine cabinets for additional storage in the ensuite and main bathrooms, a contemporary deep soak tub and shower with a niche for toiletries. There are large-format porcelain tiles on the vanity wall, feature wall and floors. All homes come with a Samsung front-load washer and dryer in a laundry closet.

Even though The Holland could be considered a “boutique-style highrise, says Colbeck, it comes with services common to larger towers: a state-of-the-art concierge service with electronic cold and hot storage for packages opened with combination codes, a dog-wash area and a fenced dog run.

The Holland, which is expected to be ready for occupancy in the spring 2022, is less than a five-minute walk from Surrey City Centre’s 150 shops and services and SkyTrain and close to the SFU campus and Kwantlen Polytechnic.

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