November 17, 2016

Station Square Sells 700 homes in 30 Days

Master-planned community from Anthem Properties and Beedie Living a walkable, amenity-rich neighbourhood

Ever since its creation in the 1980s in conjunction with the launch of SkyTrain, Burnaby’s Metrotown has been a bustling destination for shoppers. But major redevelopment in recent years has now made it one of the most desirable places to live.

Of the new projects enhancing Burnaby’s skyline, the 12-acre master-planned Station Square community from Anthem Properties and Beedie Living, is the most prominent, and by far, the most successful. This past October, Anthem and Beedie signed 700 contracts for the final two towers in only 30 days, breaking Western Canada’s all-time sales record.

Michael Ferreira, managing principal of Urban Analytics, says: “This is the most number of homes sold in the shortest period of time. Pre-sale demand for quality projects at `centre ice’ locations like Station Square in Metrotown remains incredibly strong.”

For Eric Carlson, CEO of Anthem Properties, the bracing mix of retail and residential “captures the essence of how people want to live today. There’s something magical about the cool design, quality buildings, great restaurants and creative energy.”

Elva Kim, Anthem’s VP of sales and marketing, explains: “Station Square is one of B.C.’s first and largest transit-oriented developments. We are building homes where people can literally leave their front door and hop on transit, go shopping, have dinner or walk their dog. Our fifth and final tower is also the first mixed-use tower designed by New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates [KPF] in Western Canada.” It is also the first internationally designed tower outside of downtown Vancouver.

Kim is referring to the architectural firm that has created some of the world’s most iconic buildings — London’s Heron Tower and the Shanghai World Finance Center being just two examples. KPF’s involvement is entirely in keeping with a project that has been generating excitement since its inception, when it was first revealed that Station Square would consist of five towers ranging from 35 to 57 storeys (1,800 new homes in total with high-level features), with a game-changing ground-level retail component that would replicate the vibrancy and ambience of a connected streetscape.

The first tower of 35 storeys and more than 270 condo units was completed in 2015 and sold out in 30 days. The 650 condos in towers two and three were sold in just 60 days. They will be ready for residents to move in in early spring 2019. The first four towers were designed by Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc.

Kim says: “Purchasers are coming from all around the Lower Mainland, with the majority coming from Burnaby. The clear majority of buyers are locals who have indicated they will be end users.” That’s significant, considering upwards of 19,000 people registered to buy homes in Station Square.

Ever since rezoning was granted back in 2012, Anthem and Beedie knew Station Square would be a major contribution to Metrotown, which over the past few years has seen everything from an extensive $1-billion retail and commercial redevelopment of Metropolis at Metrotown ( just several hundred metres away from Station Square), to a $37-million upgrade of the Metrotown SkyTrain station (which included a new on-street bus exchange below the facility), and a variety of new residential buildings.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan credits Anthem and Beedie for making Station Square “a tremendous asset to the city and the region. In five years, Burnaby saw the sharpest increase in new business licenses this side of the Fraser River, with most businesses settling around transit hubs like Station Square.”

The developers also knew Station Square would be a game-changer on several counts, not the least of which is a sprawling retail strip base of over 500,000 square feet, designed with wide pavements and public plazas, public art and cantilevered lights over the main arterial thoroughfare of Silver Drive, which is anchored by Cactus Club and Earls. “We intended the retail component to be pedestrian versus automobile-focused, with stores, coffee shops and boutiques spilling out on to the pavement and lots of people threading their way through the area,” says Kim.

Walkability throughout the retail zone is encouraged by connecting homes to retail and transit through elevated public spaces. A generous human scale-to-block ratio enhances connectivity, openness and safety.

These mixed-use components took shape concurrent to the construction of the first tower, which, in addition to its condos, includes 60,000 square feet of retail, with PriceSmart Foods and TD Bank being among the first tenants. The two towers currently under construction will add 22,000 square feet to the retail component, as well as provide offices, following the guidelines of walkability in a cosy urban environment inspired by famous European streets.

The final two towers (it’s worth mentioning that the appearance of the final towers was inspired by New York-style art deco skyscrapers) of 41 and 52 residential storeys totalling 758 new units will be completed in 2021.

This final phase of Station Square will continue the high standards of construction (the entire mixed-use community is built around LEED standards for environmental sustainability), use of quality materials, and attention to detail that has already been established by the first tower.

The fifth tower, in particular, is widely referred to as the “grand finale” for the bold vision that KPF typically brings to its projects. In this case, the architect’s concept for the building that will occupy 6000 McKay Street has been called “an urban sculpture” because of its striking stepped profile that ascends 52 storeys into the sky, with a greater prominence than the surrounding skyline.

A vertical series of framed glass elements will delineate the form of the building, and a playful composition of stepped balconies, which appear to float on the facade, will contribute an appearance of lightness, anchored by a limestone-clad podium topped by a lushly landscaped rooftop sanctuary.

A grand three-storey lobby, accompanied by a 24-hour concierge, will provide a prestigious welcome home to residents, and a second-floor outdoor courtyard will feature a reflecting pond and direct access to a beautifully appointed private dining, kitchen and lounge area.

The condos’ interiors were designed by the office of McFarlane Biggar Architects + Designers. They will exhibit an incredible diversity of features, beginning with nine-foot ceilings and wideplank engineered real hardwood floors that sweep throughout the living and dining areas, kitchens and bedrooms.

The final tower’s imported Italian kitchens, by Armory Cucine, will feature an integrated collection of Miele appliances. Armory Cucine will also contribute to the bathrooms’ spa-like ambience with cabinets and stone countertops, plus tub/shower surrounds.

As work progresses on Station Square, Anthem and Beedie continue to be inundated by inquiries from interested buyers from across Metro Vancouver – but this comes as no surprise to Beedie Living president Ryan Beedie, who points out that “Burnaby is centrally located and dedicated to the kind of development that supports the urban lifestyle so many people seek.”

Kim believes that Station Square will ultimately serve as a model for the smart development of vacant or undeveloped land in the future. “Connectivity is what makes this project work on all levels,” she says. “Projects like this one are extremely rare. We hope this development is used as an example of how to do it right.”