February 11, 2012
A Building Affection For Main Street
Import-store owners return to familiar neighbourhood for boutique condominium project
Majestic on Main
Project Location: 222 East 30th Avenue, Vancouver
Project size: Two townhomes and 22 condominiums in a four-storey development
Sizes: Townhomes: 638 — 732 square feet; Condos: 613 — 1,033 square feet
Prices: Townhomes from $414,900; condos from $399,900
Developer: Trafalgar Enterprises
Architect: F. Adab Architects Inc.
Interior design: Leslie Teague
Sales centre: 226 – 222 E. 30th Ave (townhouse loft)
Hours: Appointment only until Feb. 18; then noon to 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs
Telephone: 604 638-9222
Occupancy: Spring 2012
BY MARY FRANCES HILL
Five years ago, when the Bagga family was presented with the chance to develop a site off Main Street, the opportunity presented more than good business sense. In many ways, it also made for a homecoming. After all, the family had settled on Main in the 1980s with their first business, a food and import store called Sweet Cherubim. So began an abiding affection for Main Street.
More than 25 years later, that devotion is as strong as ever in the family, which is now developing a boutique condominium project called Majestic on Main. The Main Street store closed in 1985 (though a busy outlet still operates on Commercial Drive) and the Bagga family has since turned its attention to real estate as Trafalgar Enterprises.
For years, they waited for a chance to return to Main Street, says Rattan Bagga, spokesman for Trafalgar Enterprises. In 2007, a site became available at the corner of Main and East 30th Avenue. The family jumped at the opportunity. “We were buying for emotional reasons,” Bagga says.
“In 2007, it was an up and coming area and this was the only piece of land on Main Street.” The family of entrepreneurs, headed by Rattan’s father and two uncles, rose above skeptics’ concerns. “When we bought it, all the real estate ‘gurus’ were saying that it was overpriced and [the cachet of] Main Street wouldn’t come up [southward] to this level.” The building’s entrance stands on East 30th Avenue; a retail space will take up nearly the entire street level on Main Street to give the one, two, and two-bedroom and den suites a buffer from street-level activity.
At 785 square feet, and under 15 foot ceilings, Majestic on Main’s townhouse loft showroom boasts wide-plank dark hardwood floors, contrasting light walls, windows covering a full wall and an open concept living space with Maytag washer-dryer off the kitchen area. Cantilevered glass stair railings keep up the airy open feel of the place. A five-piece bathroom with Kohler fixtures shares space upstairs with a small bedroom with built-in closets and a custom wood vanity or desk space.
The building’s top floor suites have nine foot ceilings with enclosed balconies on the west side. East and north side units include patios that measure up to 400 square feet. The building’s interior features are similar to those in Trafalgar Square, a Kitsilano property built by Trafalgar Properties, says Bagga. Securing the site itself was a great achievement for the family. Majestic on Main stands at the former location of a car repair shop in a stretch of Main where land has long been unavailable to developers.
Developments are few and recent. A new condominium building has recently been completed at 3333 Main, about 10 blocks north. West of Majestic on Main, Holborn Properties just unveiled its initial plan to redevelop the 15-acre Little Mountain site into a dense neighbourhood of several hundred homes, including residential towers and a canal.
Much credit for the area’s burgeoning popularity goes to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the goodies it brought to the neighbourhood — namely, Hillcrest Community Centre, which stands a few blocks west. Its swimming pools, fitness centre, skating rink and public library are magnets in the community. Queen Elizabeth Park’s entrance is across the street, and the old-world character of Nat Bailey Stadium is a magnet for the Main Street hipsters and families alike.
Though the Main Street ‘cool’ factor and family amenities may have had something to do with it, it was the mountain views from the building’s third-floor units that captured Mike Quatrano’s interest. Granted, the Burnaby resident had an early advantage over potential buyers: Quatrano is the owner of Skyreach Plumbing and Electrical, hired to complete the building’s mechanical work.
But Quatrano, who owns and rents out two suites in Greater Vancouver, says the minute he walked into a suite with one bedroom and a den, he saw it through a landlord’s eyes. He’s since marked the suite on his to-buy list, he says. “The views from some of the floors are great. I like the parks around there, and if you go lower on Main Street, you see an area that is really up and coming. It’s getting trendy.”
Special to The Sun