February 26, 2013

It’s all about location at Carrera in Richmond

Shops on one side, parkland on the other, cultural facilities and a SkyTrain station nearby

Carrera

Project size: 128 homes (first tower)
Residence size: 1 bedroom plus den and 2-bedroom homes; 802 — 1,036 sq. ft; 2-bedroom “cityhomes” 1,115 — 1,200+ sq. ft.
Sales Centre: 6291 Minoru Blvd., Richmond
Price: Two-bedroom homes from $399,900
Hours: noon to 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs (Sales centre opens today)
Telephone: 604-244-. 7721
Email: carrera@polyhomes.com
Architect: GBL Architects Inc.
Interior Design: Polygon Interior Design
Website: www.polyhomes.com
Occupancy: Summer 2015

FELICITY STONE
Special to The Sun

“The old adage of real estate is location, location, location, but in my experience, whether it’s being built by us or someone else, I can’t recall in my 20 years at this where that is a more true statement.” Ralph Archibald, senior vice-president sales and marketing at Polygon Realty, is referring to Carrera, a new Polygon Homes project in the urban heart of Richmond. Its sales centre opens today. The Carrera site on Minoru Boulevard south of Westminster Highway may be the most central location in Richmond.

The Richmond Centre mall, with its 240 shops and services, is literally across the street on the east side of Minoru Boulevard. The Brighouse SkyTrain station is just the other side of the mall. And to the west, Carrera backs onto Minoru Park, 65 acres of manicured gardens with a tranquil lake and facilities that include an aquatic centre, sports arenas, bowling greens, tennis courts, a cricket pitch, a public library, the Gateway Theatre, arts and cultural facilities and a Victorian heritage chapel.

“This will be our residents’ backyard,” Archibald says. Two new towers being built next to Minoru Boulevard by Kiwanis will shield Carrera from the street. Carrera, meantime, will consist of three towers plus an 5,800-square-foot amenity centre arranged around landscaped grounds that take their cue from the neighbouring park. The largest tower, with 128 homes, is going up first. Parking is underground with one stall per home, plus optional additional stalls.

The homes are a mix of two-level townhomes on the ground floor — Polygon is calling them “cityhomes” — with single-level apartments above. All have large windows and decks or patios. Most master bedrooms include a spacious walk-in or walk-through closet with built-in shelving. The kitchens feature underlit contemporary natural wood cabinets in white lacquer or charcoal-stained rift-cut white oak with marble backsplashes and quartz countertops. The 30-inch Liebherr counter-depth refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher are integrated into the cabinetry.

Kitchens also include a Bosch natural gas cooktop, a Bosch electric oven either in a cabinet tower with a built-in Panasonic microwave and a Broan Elite Slimline hood fan or in the base cabinet below the cooktop with a Bosch microwave/hood fan combination. Every kitchen will have a dual rollout bin recycling station. Master bathrooms feature floating solid wood vanities, a floating mirror, marble countertop and flooring, and a spacious walk-in shower or a soaker tub and shower with a rainshower head and hand-held wand.

Carrera will include numerous security features: a full-time live-in manager; digital recording security cameras in common areas; elevator lock-off restricting floor access to residents only; locked stairwells except for code-required crossover levels; and underground parking with digital security cameras and emergency buttons. As well as the requisite fitness studio, the residents-only Carrera Club amenity centre will include temperature-controlled wine lockers (for sale), a social lounge and tasting pavilion overlooking an infinity-edged water feature, and an outdoor whirlpool spa and patio area with a barbecue for year-round entertaining.

Because the two-bedroom homes are relatively large, Archibald expects to see a large component of downsizers plus some “move-up” buyers, but admits that “it’s a little bit of a hard one demographically because it’s just so much about location. It’s going to appeal to everybody.” There has been a lot of interest from both local Richmond residents and Vancouverites. “First of all, your buying dollar goes a lot farther in Richmond than it does in Vancouver, and then you have all these conveniences,” says Archibald. “This is the most convenient location that we’ve ever built anything in.”

Richmond’s official community plan projects the population of the City Centre area — bounded roughly by the Fraser River, No. 4 Road, Blundell Road and Gilbert Road — to double to 100,000 in 2041. Over the same period, the number of City Centre apartments is expected to increase from around 18,000 to 35,000. “When you stand here at Carrera, there’s no doubt about it that Richmond is a city,” Archibald observes. “The city has done a very commendable job of urban planning in terms of central Richmond. They put density where it belongs in around services and in around transit hubs.”

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