January 16, 2012

Sail Just Launched by Adera Near UBC

Endowment Lands project gives families a different take on life

Sail kitchens will be fitted with granite counters, Kohler double undermount stainless sinks and GE Monogram induction cooktops. The high-gloss ‘touch-door’ cabinets have no handles.

Project size: 172 homes in two six-storey buildings (35 one-bed + one-bed + den; 85 two-bed + two-bed + den; 52 three-bed)
Residence size: 607 sq. ft — 1,223 sq. ft
Prices: $399,900 — $900,000s
Developer: Adera Development Corporation
Architect: Rositch Hemphill Architects
Interior design: Portico Design Group
Sales centre: 108-3479 Wesbrook Mall, UBC
Hours: noon — 5 p.m., daily
Website: www.adera.com
Telephone: 604-221-8878
Email: sail@adera.com
Occupancy: July 2013

BY MARY FRANCES HILL

A move from one end of Greater Vancouver to the other made a world of difference in the life of Lily Li and her family. Two years ago, she, her husband and son — the latter a student at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business — relocated from Surrey to the University Endowment Lands. The move from a single-family home to a condo in Adera Developments’ Pacific building was a risky one for Li, who enjoyed her community, house and longtime friendships in the Fraser Valley. The gamble has paid off, and then some.

“In Surrey, I was so busy with work and other activities, I didn’t have much time for anything else,” she says of her previous lifestyle. Today, she’s living in a different world. She volunteers regularly at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, tools around in her rooftop garden, and strolls with her husband through Pacific Spirit Park and local greenways. She says she rarely uses her car now, with access to transit choices that can take her downtown and as far away as Metrotown in Burnaby.

By mere coincidence, her dramatic lifestyle change is a typical selling point for Adera Developments, which has just opened its presentation centre for Sail, its newest community on South Wesbrook Mall in the UBC Endowment Lands.  And in the long run, it makes the job much easier for Eric Andreasen, Adera’s vice-president of marketing and sales.

By 2013, the community will welcome neighbours in 172 new homes, with the two buildings of Sail, Adera’s wood-framed six-storey development. As a company, Adera prides itself on building green, says Andreasen, so environmental standards set by UBC Properties Trust are all part of Sail’s design, inside and out. Healthy density is part of the package. For Sail, the developer departed from its usual four-storey buildings with two six-storey buildings to reflect a focus on eco-friendly community planning.

A mere two years ago, Lily Li would never have imagined she’d settle into a life so drastically different than the one to which she’d become accustomed. But her wish to become more active and outdoorsy — while staying close to her only child as he furthers his education — surpassed all other needs.

To the first-time visitor, the physical community of South Wesbrook Mall is a sharp departure from the area a few blocks north. Just past playing fields and Pacific Spirit Park, Sail’s neighbourhood seems to spring up in a sudden blast of density. That density is all part of the plan to create a sustainable community, through REAP (Residential Environmental Assessment Program). REAP requires developers who build in the UBC area to meet standards in energy conservation, water efficiency and design.

Bedrooms will be spacious, as demonstrated by the Sail show home, which is imagined for a family that includes small children — one of whom is fond of superheroes. All the closets in the homes will include built-in organizers.

Indoors, engineered hardwood, windows that stretch nearly floor-to-ceiling, a choice of GE energy-saving appliances and dual-flush toilets come standard. On the transport front, Vancouver’s Modo car co-op will supply one car per 100 residents (with each owner granted a one-year membership). In the end, though, community planning matters little without the voices in the community. In Sail’s planning stages, Adera contacted people like Li to gain more insight on what the community needed in future developments. It organized focus groups with homebuyers to suss out wants and needs.

“They said they wanted more space and bigger homes,” Andreasen says. With those requests, and guidelines energy and water efficiency, architects Rositch Hemphill got to work. They designed their patios larger than previous developments, with a bonus: each of the 172 units comes with a rooftop lanai — a space large and private enough to be used as a private outdoor living space. Sail’s lanais range from 200 up to nearly 500 square feet, he says.

To satisfy the need for larger spaces, the company also introduced three-bedroom corner units — a first for Adera in the endowment lands region. From a patio or lanai, the views of UBC, the water, and even local greenery, will be spectacular, Andreasen insists. Sail will be surrounded by linear parks — greenways for pedestrians and cyclists — and what Andreasen calls an “eyeball park”, an oval-shaped green space.

Andreasen sees Pacific Spirit Park as a green buffer between urban Vancouver and the village-like setting of UBC’s residential area. “As soon as you drive through the gates it becomes more casual, and a more cerebral [community].” A mere two years ago, Lily Li would never have imagined she’d settle into a life so drastically different than the one to which she’d become accustomed. But her wish to become more active and outdoorsy — while staying close to her only child as he furthers his education — surpassed all other needs. Andreasen sees those motivations as typical among those attracted to the community.

Larger homes suit the population of Asian-Canadian buyers interested in sending their children to nearby University Hill elementary and secondary schools — both highly respected among parents and educators — and at UBC, Andreasen notes. “In other places in the world, you might get a great university but not a great elementary,” he says. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of Chinese coming here. The sophisticated Asian population sees purchasing a home [near good schools] as an amortized investment towards education.”

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