Wealthy, single guy? Then this Residences at 1180 Homer is for you

Saturday, March 20th, 2004

Brian Morton


Developer Rick Ilich is spearheading the McMaster renovation.

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

The facade of The Residences will be in keeping with the building’s heritage status.

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

A view from the roof: Owners at The Residences will experience the daily thrill of living in the core of the city.

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

Gentlemen, start your engines. In the multimillion-dollar real estate marketing world, gobs and gobs of money are spent by developers seeking out the best target audiences for their product.

Some projects are marketed to young families; others to seniors; still others to singles or even groups of people who buy homes together to save on mortgage payments.

But how about extremely high- end bachelor pads for rich, single guys — including those recently separated or divorced — who like to boogie in the city core?

In what promises to be one of the most unique Yaletown renovations, the main target buyers for a project called Residences at 1180 Homer have been pinpointed as males with plenty of disposable income who love living in downtown Vancouver because of all the amenities at their doorstep.

“The target is men who are recently starting a new life, to be politically correct about it, or single men with a decent pot of money who want the ultimate urban lifestyle,” says marketing agent Brad Foster. “You’re right in the middle of everything here with all the entertainment facilities right in the central core. Of course, that’s not to say if a wealthy woman with 600 grand wants one, that we’d turn her away. But the swank pad is a male cultural thing.”

Townline Homes owner Rick Ilich, who is developing the project, agrees. “Clearly an urban loft setting in Yaletown is appealing to young wealthy guys who like the high-end nightlife and entertainment. It’s a fit.

“But I’ve also got two women interested and we certainly wouldn’t turn down women.”

Ilich is pulling out all the stops for his restoration of the historic McMaster building, which was originally built in 1910.

Unlike most other Yaletown renovations, the project will feature 17 large apartments — 1,200 to 1,700 square feet — with two or three bedrooms each.

Ilich says the project has already taken up six years of his life — he had two other proposals for the building, which fell by the wayside when the market declined — but he feels it’s worth it.

“It’s a hell of lot cheaper to just tear it down, but that’s not going to happen,” says Ilich. “You’re reinstating the fibre of the city. This has a role in how our city comes together. Mentally, it’s a huge challenge, but this will be unique.”

Ilich says his original proposals called for smaller apartments, but that the market has changed. “We recognize now that that market [smaller apartments] is served. Very few were doing this type of high end [development]. This is for people who don’t want to be next door to renters and not live in a 500-square-foot apartment. People need more space. We’re the next generation of product.”

The project offers a combination of heritage character details such as exposed brick walls and recycled fir floors, the open floor plan of a traditional loft space, modern finishes including an on-site gym and double-height parking.

The parking, says Ilich, is very unique, in that homeowners will literally drive their Hummer or Porsche onto an elevator, which will then move the vehicle to the assigned parking space.

Behind the brick facade will be new homes that Ilich says will set a new standard for the area.

Some of the features will include 10 to 14-foot ceilings, open concept living, dining and kitchen areas, garage-door-style windows, ivory raw silk granite floor tile, kitchens with all the modern conveniences like a five-burner stainless steel gas cooktop, a concrete fireplace surround, and exposed wood beams.

Prices will run from about $600,000 to $1.8 million and the building will be ready for occupancy in about 16 months.

As part of the renovation, an extra floor will be added for a penthouse apartment and roof deck.

At the moment, it looks like what it was — a century-old warehouse building that’s falling apart.

On the outside, there’s flaking brick, exposed wiring, chipped paint and unwashed walls — a clear contrast to other heritage buildings on the street that have already been restored.

Ilich says the building interior will be virtually dismantled and then reassembled, saving as much of the heritage detail as possible.

“There will also be substantial seismic upgrading. You have to remove everything. It will be entirely gutted and reinstated.”

Ilich says he believes some of the suites — there will be an average of two per floor — will be consolidated into a single home encompassing entire floors.

From the top of the building, the concept of urban living really hits home.

Surrounded by other apartment buildings, including heritage restorations, the views stretch to Simon Fraser University on one side and the soaring towers of Vancouver‘s urban jungle in other directions.

Ilich, recently separated, says he’s like to live there someday himself. “The market is clearly higher end user, people like myself. I’d like to live in the building. I’m the target market. But I’ve got a girlfriend.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2004


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