October 23, 2012

Seeing is believing

The generous amenities of Grand Central 3 are already in place

Grand Central 3

Project location: 2975 Atlantic Ave., Coquitlam
Project size: 37 stories with 246 one- and two-bedroom suites
Residence size: From 545 to 1,421 sq. ft.
Prices: Starting from $229,900 (100 homes under $299,900)
Developer: Intergulf Development Group
Architect: IBI Group
Interior design: Lot 30 Design
Sales centre: 1150 The High St.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment
Website: www.grandcentral3.com
Telephone: 604 936-1888
Email: info@grandcentral3.com
Estimated occupancy: October 2014

MARY FRANCIES HILL
Special to The Sun

Purchasing a condo before it’s built can be an intimidating prospect. For a buyer, particularly a first-time buyer — taking the leap without regret demands research and trust in a developer. For their part, developers are limited to giving potential buyers their vision of the future through marketing materials: glossy folders full of design plans, a show suite, and the ubiquitous tabletop model of a tower, complete with signs of life: intricate miniature trees and tiny people standing on palm-sized balconies.

And then there’s central Coquitlam’s Grand Central 3. Its presentation suite has all the tropes of marketing, but there’s one thing that makes it a standout among the busy condo developments circling Coquitlam city centre mall. Construction is underway, and its generous amenities are already in place. Intergulf Development’s first and second towers — aptly named Grand Central 1 and Grand Central 2 — are already built and newly occupied, and its homeowners are enjoying the acre and a half of amenities, to be shared by Grand Central 3.

The outdoor pool and changing rooms, the playground, putting green, 2,500-square foot fitness centre, yoga and lounge are all being enjoyed in these unseasonably warm temperatures, says Tracie McTavish, president of Rennie Marketing Systems. Seeing the site construction in progress and visiting the outdoor amenity space instils in new buyers an extra boost of confidence that most pre-sales can’t offer, McTavish assures. “Someone today can come in and buy a suite at Grand Central 3 and they’re going to see an acre and a half of amenities that they’re going to be using.”

Seeing is believing, he says. “The pre-sale environment is not for everyone, but with the amenity they have in place, they say, ‘I see it, I get it.’ ” The four blocks surrounding Coquitlam Centre are arguably the busiest community in the Lower Mainland when it comes to residential tower development. Come off Pinetree Way to Glen Drive to see construction crews at work and huge placards advertising the newest pre-sale development. Last year’s announcement of the extension of the SkyTrain out to Coquitlam helped spur that growth, but respected developers had been eyeing central Coquitlam for a while, McTavish says.

“Intergulf wasn’t the only developer that figured out that Coquitlam was an up-and-coming neighbourhood long before the Evergreen line came along, so this is a competitive market.” In such a market, Intergulf has done well. The first two Grand Central towers sold quickly, thanks in no small part to location, its acre and a half of amenities on its grounds and the shopping and services steps away. The buildings stand within walking distance to two future stations on the upcoming Evergreen Line (due in 2016), elementary schools, parks and a community centre. With the towers standing directly across the street from the shopping centre, homeowners will be able to walk from their suites to shopping in a matter of minutes.

The mall itself is changing rapidly: Lululemon and Apple stores have recently moved in, and Zellers is liquidating its goods in anticipation of the Target store that will take its place within months. Inside the suites, eight-foot-eight inch ceilings give the one-bedroom show suite a sense of grandeur not typical in a 600-square-foot home. Quartz countertops, marble or limestone tile backsplash and KitchenAid appliances give the kitchen a sleek look. The bathroom stands out with a deep soaker tub, a large mirror, storage space and a nook holding a full-sized washer and dryer.

The den is large enough to fit a bed and storage, and it’s equipped with large windows. Glazing is a rare find in den spaces, particularly in small suites, “so technically you could use it as a second bedroom. We’re seeing that people are making use of smaller spaces as bedrooms.” Sales people were pleased to see the demographic diversity among buyers of suites in the first two tower suites, and McTavish says he was surprised, at first, to learn that families make up at least one third of buyers. But upon reflection, he says, it made sense, due to the size and glazing in the dens in the one-and-den suites.

With 100 one-bedroom and dens, priced between $289,900 and $334,500, available in Grand Central 3, Intergulf and Rennie Marketing are expecting even more interest from small families. “What you’re getting is families coming in because its affordable, it’s new, its convenient and it’s accessible to downtown.” It may have been the outdoor space, and the security that surrounds the development, that attracts families as well. Being on the fifth-floor level, outdoor amenities are inaccessible to the public, “so you’re basically living in a home that is protected from the street, that is surrounded by amenity space of one and a half acres that is literally downstairs, secure, because it’s elevated very high above the street.”

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