May 6, 2013
Living promises to be easy at Secret Ridge
Special to The Sun
Project location: 3458 Burke Village Promenade, Coquitlam (between David and Gislason Avenues, off Soball Street)
Project Size: 74 paired homes
Residence size: 3-bed 2,556 – 2,568 sq. ft; 4-bed 2,337 sq. ft; 4-bed + den 2,884 – 2,904 sq. ft
Prices: 3-bed from $579,900; 4-bed from $645,900; 4-bed + den from $659,900
Sales centre: #107 – 3458 Burke Village Promenade, Coquitlam
Hours: noon to 5 p.m., Sat to Thurs
Developer: Mission Group
Architect: Robert Ciccozzi, Robert Ciccozzi Architecture
Interior Designer: i3 Design Group
Occupancy: some homes available immediately
Sales began: early April
Daryl and Deborah Ohlinger built their home in the Port Coquitlam neighbourhood of Citadel Heights 25 years ago. They raised two daughters to adulthood there, and didn’t have any immediate plans to leave — until Deborah spotted signs advertising a development called Secret Ridge. “I walk my daughter’s dog for her sometimes around Burke Mountain, and thought it (Secret Ridge) looked pretty good. We registered, got some information, and realized it was exactly what we were looking for as our final home,” she says.
Daryl was ready for a change. “I wanted to move quickly after retiring – and I did just retire last week, after 38 years with Telus,” he explains. “I love tinkering around the house, but have gotten past the point of cleaning gutters, washing the house, and clearing snow.” (More on this in a moment.) Secret Ridge is aptly named. It’s so new that the address can’t be found on Google Maps or in GPS systems yet, and it’s tucked away on Burke Mountain between two belts of greenery, pleasantly known as West and East Smiling Creek. Residents who leave the windows open on warmer days will likely be able to hear the sound of the water tumbling gently down the mountainside.
Instead of townhomes, apartments, or single-family homes, developer Mission Group is creating what it calls “paired” homes, with two homes sharing one common wall. The largest of the homes measures just over 2,900 square feet, which is as big as some single-family houses. The homes at Secret Ridge are at least 35 feet wide, designed to feel less narrow than townhouses in the neighbourhood. Unlike your average duplex, the homes are part of a strata corporation. The maintenance fees are currently estimated at 11 cents a square foot, and include the cost of snow removal, lawn maintenance, repairs, and even the insurance for the exteriors of the homes. (Homeowners will still be responsible for getting their own insurance for the contents of their residences.)
“Up until now, a lot of people looking to downsize have had to sacrifice space for the convenience of multi-family living,” says sales manager Laurie Melo of project marketer MAC Marketing. “Here, they don’t need to do that. Lifestyles are changing, you know? Everyone’s busy, they don’t have time to do yard work. Now they can spend family time together instead.” There are three floor plans available for purchasers, designed for three different types of buyers.
The first has a two-car garage, optional additional bathroom, and recreation space on a walkout bottom level. A master bedroom complete with walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom is on the main floor, as is a den, an open-concept kitchen, great room, and dining area, and a covered deck. On the upper floor, there is another master bedroom suite, and two more bedrooms. Melo says this plan is likely to be popular for different generations of the same family living together – grandma and grandpa could be on the main floor, with the parents and children upstairs.
“Or,” she jokes, “if that’s still a little too close, some families could consider buying both homes on either side of the common wall so they can live in their own spaces.” A young family – perhaps moving up from a condo or townhouse – appears to be the key demographic for another plan. It has one bedroom on the walkout lower floor, along with the garage and recreation space. Three other bedrooms, including the master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom, are on the main floor.
The kitchen, dining, and living areas are at the front of the home, along with a covered deck, while there is a covered patio at the rear of the home – perfect for leaving muddy strollers, boots and damp raincoats. The remaining plan was designed with downsizers in mind. Here, the walkout lower floor has a generous recreation space with an option for a wet bar, lots of storage space, and one bedroom. There is an option to wall off part of the rec space for another bedroom.
On the main floor, there are two master bedroom suites, which offer lots of privacy for guests and hosts. The kitchen, and dining and living areas are open concept as well, and lead directly to a covered deck. This is the home that the Ohlingers chose. “I like that you can walk right into the house from the driveway, instead of going upward. We’re also going from three floors (in their current home) to two. Right now, if I’m upstairs in the bedroom and need something in the basement, that’s two flights of stairs down and then back up again,” Deborah says.
They had ruled out townhomes for that very reason. They also didn’t feel comfortable having too many neighbours too close, after so many years in a single-family home. A highrise apartment didn’t seem attractive either, what with having to lug groceries up in an elevator. Secret Ridge seemed like the perfect solution – enough space to live comfortably – with the freedom to lock up and leave on trips. “I don’t like asking people to house sit. If they’re having a long day, the last thing they want to do is come over and water the garden. This way, we don’t have to worry about that,” Deborah points out. Daryl chimes in, saying, “there’s a lot more freedom. We can go for a walk along the seawall, instead of mowing the grass.”
Sales manager Laurie Melo says they are happy to assist downsizers with advice on decluttering, and furniture placement in their new homes. They also offer 25 different possible customizations, including heated flooring, gas fireplaces, and upgraded appliance packages. Homes are ready three to six months after purchase. Many of the buyers already have some sort of link to the Tri-Cities, and are well aware of the amenities of Burke Mountain. Nature trails abound, there are plans to build more schools and a community centre, and the shopping of Coquitlam Centre is a short drive away.
The Evergreen transit line is expected to begin service by the summer of 2016 with the West Coast Express serving in the meantime to take commuters to and from downtown Vancouver. The Ohlingers are now in a position to help out with grandchildren when they arrive, and in a neat twist, their other daughter – the one who doesn’t live on Burke Mountain – has decided to purchase their old home. They’ll all be within 10 minutes of each other. “This is all just worked out,” Deborah says happily. “We have no doubt that this home is going to be exactly what we want it to be.”