June 6, 2012

Sweet Location at New Mosaic Project in Kits

MOSAIC project to rise at an iconic location in Kitsilano

BY CLAUDIA KWAN

Having an iconic location is both a great responsibility and great opportunity, if you look at it from MOSAIC’s perspective. The developer’s Kitsilano site at the corner of Bayswater and West Broadway was for a long time the home of high-end men’s clothing retailer Mark James, as well as the store’s associated restaurant. The latter eventually changed over to the Tomato Fresh Food Café, which closed down just over a year ago.

“We feel a big responsibility in seeing this location to the next phase of its life,” says MOSAIC’s Geoff Duyker. “It has been such a big part of the vibrancy of this neighbourhood for such a long time, and we want to continue that tradition.” The company also has a strong connection to the Kitsilano area; its offices are not far from the Bayswater location. Many employees will drive by the site daily on their way to work, or already live in the area.

While the company is well known for an exacting level of attention to detail, having Bayswater essentially in its backyard is providing a gentle added impetus to make sure everything here is just so. Bayswater is following in the footsteps of a previous MOSAIC project, Iron and Whyte. That apartment development in West Point Grey combines a traditional Georgian look with contrasting black and white elements on the exterior of the building, in keeping with the developer’s propensity to revive classic architectural styles.

With Bayswater, it has continued the crisp black and white colour motif, but in a more contemporary way. The exterior is clad in the same gleaming white brick, but black framed windows, Juliet balconies and wrought-iron accents are simpler. Cornices on the building have cleaner, less ornate lines. Concrete cladding panels in dark grey are affixed to the back of the building — an acknowledgment that in the pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood, not everyone will approach the structure from the front on West Broadway.

It’s fairly rare to have a new development in an area as already built out as Kitsilano, which may explain the high level of interest in Bayswater. More than 1,000 people have already requested more information on the project’s 31 homes, with many expected to stream through the sales office once it formally opens up.

Duyker says the people making repeat phone calls to the sales team tend to fall in two categories. There are mature potential buyers who are looking for a way to downsize, while staying in the neighbourhood they have called home for decades – they don’t want to be forced to move downtown just to get into a condominium. It is for them that MOSAIC decided to make some of the suites more generously sized, with bedrooms separated by an open central living space. That allows for some capacity to age in place.

The other group considering buying in Bayswater is comprised of young professionals who value the urban lifestyle. Some have grown up in the area. For now, purchasing a single-family home in Kitsilano is an unattainable dream for many; the homes in Bayswater are much more affordable, relatively speaking. Eighty per cent of those who have registered their interest in the development are from Kitsilano or the west side of Vancouver.

“This location is about as good as it gets,” Duyker says enthusiastically. “It (Bayswater) isn’t a through street, so you don’t get tons of traffic streaming through. However, you still have easy access to UBC, downtown, parks, the beach, all sorts of grocery stores and bakeries and amenities. People don’t really need to be sold on this spot – they know how good it is already!” When it came to the look and feel of the apartments, interior designer Jen Eden of Occupy Design says the concept revolved around luxury condo living.

“We wanted to celebrate urban design and good living. We put value into the finishes and creating a spacious feel in the homes. We literally spent hours discussing the details.” A classic Carrera marble backsplash is laid in a linear mosaic pattern in the kitchen, to combine both the traditional and the contemporary. The refrigerator is concealed behind millwork for the clean appearance so critical for open-concept floor plans. Homes are available in two colour schemes. The first contrasts low gloss white cabinets with the aforementioned Carrera marble backsplash, and a white quartz countertop.

The other option leans more heavily to tone on tone colouring. The earthy palette of neutrals of several years ago has now expanded to include shades of grey. A glass backsplash and quartz countertop are delivered in taupe grey, against white cabinets. The hardwood floor is repeated in both colour schemes in a lightly whitewashed oak. In the bathroom, Eden has opted for dark grey porcelain floor tiles, a long linear mirror and two wall sconces. A floating vanity contains lots of storage. Above it is a custom made floating shelf made out of the flooring material. The vanity also has a Kohler sink, which is a particular favourite.

“It’s the first sink I’ve seen in a long time which is usable but not too chunky,” Eden points out. Throughout the design process, MOSAIC’s Duyker says the guiding principle was for homes to be genuinely livable. Buyers can put full-sized couches in the living rooms and queen-sized beds in the bedrooms. Many of the apartments have integrated workspaces in acknowledgment of how many people now work from home, either partly or full time. Walk in closets again address the need for storage space.

Until now, there hasn’t really been a unified look for the neighbourhood, which spans both single-family homes and single-storey commercial units. “This is actually a chance for us to help set the tone for the area – we love putting in something that feels timeless,” Duyker says. It’s an opportunity MOSAIC is clearly taking seriously, having deliberated over every step of the process. The only thing left now is to see how many people sign on the dotted line, once sales formally begin in mid-June.

Special to The Sun

A cross-sectional rendering of a unit at the MOSAIC project.

Project Name: Bayswater
Project Address: 2468 Bayswater (and W. Broadway), Vancouver
Project size: 31 apartments in a 4-storey building, commercial units on the ground floor
Residence size: 1 bed 580 – 735 sq. ft; 2 bed 965 — 1,070 sq. ft; 3 bed 990 sq. ft
Prices: 1 bed from low $400,000s; 2 bed from high $600,000s; 3 bed from high $700,000s
Developer: MOSAIC
Architect: SHIFT Architecture
Interior Design: Jen Eden, Occupy Design
Sales centre address: 2468 Bayswater (and W. Broadway)
Hours: Grand opening June 9 and then noon — 6 p.m., daily. Until June 9, previewing by appointment only.
Telephone: 604-739-8880
Web: www.mosaichomes.com/bayswater
Occupancy: Winter 2013/Spring 2014
Sales begin: mid-June

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