April 18, 2012
Altitude Soars Above Simon Fraser University
Project size: Two towers, one 12-storeys with 95 units, and one 14-storeys with 115 units (one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, plus townhomes)
Residence size: 500 – 1,600 sq. ft.
Price: From $240,000s (units with one bedroom and a study space) — $700,000+ (for the three penthouses)
Developer: Hungerford Properties
Interior designer: i3 Design
Sales centre address: 8955 University High St., Burnaby
Hours: noon — 6 p.m., Sat. — Thurs.
Occupancy date: Late-2014
BY STEVEN THRENDYLE
Located on the campus of Simon Fraser University, UniverCity has changed cultural perspectives of what “on-campus housing” really means. Indeed, the award-winning neighbourhood has become a global leader in promoting environmental sustainability and creating a sense of community. The school has been ranked as the No. 1 comprehensive university in Canada for nine years in a row by Maclean’s magazine, and now the blend of housing options is elevating SFU’s status even farther.
Hungerford Properties’s aptly named Altitude is located here. Thanks to its lofty locale near the summit of Burnaby Mountain, Altitude will be the highest residential tower (combining base elevation and tower height) in the Lower Mainland when its first residents take occupancy in late-2014. The top floor of the twin-tower apartment complex tops out at almost 400 metres above sea level. Many units in the 12- and 14-storey highrise concrete buildings will offer wraparound views of Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, the North Shore mountains and the towers of downtown Vancouver.
While much of the real estate focus in Burnaby has focused on Brentwood and Metrotown, there’s little doubt that UniverCity is attracting a lot of buyer interest as well, especially from owner-occupiers who are part of the Simon Fraser family. Several residential projects are now complete and house close to 3,000 permanent residents. Boasting a brand-new elementary school and a pedestrian-friendly shopping plaza with a diverse range of stores and services, the pace of sellouts has been steady. This month, the UniverCity Childcare Centre — a state-of-the-art facility constructed to high environmental standards — opens its doors and welcomes 25 new daycare attendees.
Jason Dolker, director of sales, marketing and service for Altitude, says Hungerford Properties was attracted to “the fundamentals of supply and demand economics when it came to developing at UniverCity.” “Right now, it’s one place where demand is outpacing supply due to the growth of Simon Fraser University. Continued growth of the university will increase the demand for future housing rentals and there is a limit on the number of rental units. Quite a few of our purchasers are Asian families who value both quality of life and a quality education. They see an intrinsic link between the two that makes Altitude an attractive investment.”
At build-out, some 10,000 residents will call UniverCity home. Indeed, non-SFU affiliated residents are welcome to become a part of the Simon Fraser community. For instance, an athletic pass can be purchased at a 30-per-cent discount, giving access to SFU’s pool, athletic facilities, library and the intramural sports program. All UniverCity development is overseen by the SFU Community Corporation, and its goal is to become a compact, mixed-use and transit-oriented community founded on the four cornerstones of sustainability: environment, equity, economy and education. All of the UniverCity developments are offered on 99-year leases.
Access to the SFU bus loop — where buses leave for the SkyTrain stations every five minutes —mean that Altitude owners will enjoy a stress-free commute to many Lower Mainland destinations. And when residents get home from work, they will be able to take advantage of hiking and mountain-biking on the slopes of Burnaby Mountain Park. Altitude, branded as “the mountaintop’s ultimate offering,” will be on one of the last premium parcels of land to be developed at UniverCity, and with a terraced design that maximizes outdoor viewscapes and features smooth brick finishes with concrete casings and custom-designed railings.
Some 8,000 square feet of amenity space includes a “cardio centre” for workouts, an owners’ lounge with kitchen, outdoor covered barbecue,and fireplace lounge, and a children’s play area. A full-time caretaker will live on site and there will be gated parking and secured visitor access. Altitude’s value proposition is enhanced by adhering to UniverCity’s Green Building Strategy. A combination of construction materials and design have created a residence that’s said to be up to 45 per cent more energy efficient than traditional housing.
“There are both expensive and affordable ways of being green — you don’t need to go through LEED certification in order to build a high quality, sustainable home,” Dolker notes. “The SFU Community Trust laid down the foundational guidelines back in the mid-90s, long before green building construction became popular. From a money-saving standpoint, the District Energy System for meeting the energy needs of the entire SFU and UniverCity area provides peace of mind when it comes to planning future energy use and insulates Altitude’s owners against price increases.”
Other green features include the use of low-VOC paints, Grohe low-flow faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, Greenguard-certified Greenlam kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, a suite of Energy Star appliances from GE, Whirlpool, and Fisher Paykel, dual-flush Kohler toilets, and energy-efficient lighting. Low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plant species and a sustainable rain garden are part of the common area and almost 100 per cent of Altitude’s storm water is captured, filtered, and returned to the ground. “It’s as though there were trees growing on the property instead of buildings,” Dolker says. When it comes to environmental sustainability, if Altitude was an undergrad, it would receive an A-plus.
Special to The Sun