October 9, 2012
Welcome to the neighbourhood
MARY FRANCES HILL
Special to The Sun
Long before the Anthem Properties’ construction crews dug the first hole for the Rockwoods townhome project in Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood, the community was ready-made for family living. Two blocks from Rockwoods’ site — just off the Fraser Highway — stands Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre’s aquatic complex and a three-rink arena. There are 25 parks in the Fleetwood area alone, so many the city of Surrey has sectioned them off to specialties, such as Freedom Dog Park and Evergreen Tot Park.
In fact, Fleetwood was so named to honour family bonds when Edith Fleetwood, an active member of the developing Surrey neighbourhood’s community association, lobbied to name the community to celebrate the life of her brother Tom, who died in the First World War. So it was natural for Anthem Properties to consider the area as a prime spot in which to build homes designed, not for investors, but for “the end user”— specifically, families looking to spend many years in the neighbourhood.
“We see Fleetwood as family-driven,” says Robert Marchand, Anthem Properties’ director of sales and marketing. “People coming here are looking for an investment in their future. It’s not necessarily just an investment economically, but also something of value for their future and that of their family.” Family-oriented may be an understatement. Recently, he and his Anthem colleagues got to know a representative of a local community association, and were buoyed by his enthusiasm for the neighbourhood “He told us, ‘Life happens in Fleetwood. People go to work here, shop here, hang out with their children and neighbours, bring them to school, daycare, the parks, to lessons here.’”
Anthem Properties saw the potential in the six-acre Rockwoods property many years ago, when it was a truck parking lot. At that time, it was also a neighbourhood in transition: across the street from the show homes stands an established collection of townhomes. It’s safe to assume the residents of those well-tended townhouses may be pleased to see the transformation of their neighbourhood from a hub of light industry to a more concentrated family community. By the time the first phase is complete, Anthem will have completed 43 units with a 3,500 square-foot amenity building, which will include a deck, lounge and fitness room. They plan to widen the street shared by the older townhome development.
“We saw the great potential here, and we’re looking to complement the neighbourhood.” The esthetics of the nearly completed townhomes have already made a difference in the community. Exteriors are crafted of stone and cedar for a contemporary West Coast look. Careful landscaping between each homeowner’s garage distinguishes and softens the back areas; small front gardens will be softly lit, and offer each occupant his or her own irrigation system.
Indoors, first-floor kitchens are fitted with Whirlpool appliances, including large over-the-range microwave that comes standard, Grohe sink fixtures and deep double-tub sinks. A granite-topped island is long enough to house installed cabinets and space for breakfast stools. Though the four-bedroom homes are equipped with a full-sized bedroom on the first floor, other homes boast first-floor dens that are spacious enough for a room for a bed, dresser and desk, with a coat closet and small bathroom adjacent.
Marchand points out the large windows and storage niches — details that make a huge difference in the homes’ ambience. “If people look at an 1,188-square-foot two-bedroom and den (home), which is one of our plans, they find it doesn’t feel like it. (It feels much bigger) because of the little touches we’ve made to open up the space.” The four-bedroom show home boasts the widest kitchen, dining and living room area of all the units. And it’s family ready with three bedrooms upstairs and one on the first floor, with a total of three full bathrooms in the home.
The top bedroom floors in all units share space with full bathrooms and a laundry closet with a full-sized washer and dryer and space for shelving. Bathrooms are also equipped with Grohe fixtures and a dual-flush Duravit toilet, deep, soft-closing drawers in the ensuite and shared bathrooms. Marchand says Anthem Properties’ salespeople enjoy selling townhomes, for those buyers are a special breed. They’re not quick to invest, because they need to take time to consider the needs of every family member and what may work best for each person inside the home and out in the wider community.
“Townhome buyers take more time. We’ve trained our sales people to be educators, because these people are more seasoned than most.” Marchand predicts that he’ll see many families interested in the three and four-bedroom options. Even the two-bedroom and den would suit a small family, such as a newly single parent looking for a fresh start. “We see a lot of families and a lot of life shifts — what we call a ‘re-start buyer’ like a newly divorced parent who needs the room. When you (make that life change) you want to make sure you’re not making any compromises.”
Project location: 8473 163rd St., Surrey
Project size: 166 townhomes total (Phase 1: 43 townhomes)
Residence size: 1,189 sq. ft – 1,490 sq. ft.
Prices: From $299,900
Developer: Anthem Properties
Architect: Integra Architecture Inc.
Interior design: Bob’s Your Uncle Design Ltd.
Sales centre: 1 – 8473 163rd St.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, noon to 5 p.m.