Virtu: Clean lines, minimalist design

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

NEW HOMES: Smack dab in trendy South Granville, Virtu units are all style and substance

Jeani Read


CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Virtu is granite counters and sleek spaces.

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Above, kitchen

Just a spit away from the eternally-trendy Diane Farris gallery on 7th Avenue at Granville, not to mention Industrial Revolution a block over, where you can probably buy all your furniture, Virtu is one of the niftiest new gems in the heart of the city.

They’ve subtitled this development The Collection (for the tons of galleries in the area, we’re thinking) and described it as “boutique living,” which is either a really, really nice way to skirt the issue of size — or a seductive term to hint at class for people who don’t instantly know how great this location is.

We think it’s simply the best when it comes to Vancouver proper. It’s a fabulous spot where no, size really doesn’t count. If you’re going to be living in what people have called their little piece of New York on the West Coast, you won’t be home much anyway. And when you do go home what you will want to experience is exactly this: a sophisticated apartment in which to kick off your Jimmy Choos and fling your Max Mara coat. Or, conversely, do cocktails with the buyers for your latest canvas (there’s an art studio in the amenities building).

Oh, OK, you don’t really have to strain this hard to be part of the atmosphere to live here — you just have to relax and appreciate it. You can shop all the way from Granville Market to 16th Avenue, along a street where fashion stores accommodate all budgets from jet-set to college set. Here, too, feel smug about avoiding the noise and crowding of downtown (this is a particularly quiet block). Make reservations at West, pick up crepes from a storefront as you stroll, patronize Linda Meinhardt’s cool new Picnic cafe — heck, even if you suddenly find yourself in a fast-food mood there’s even a Macdonald’s, heavily disguised as a restaurant. Theatres beckon. How can you pass Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or Country Furniture without popping in? South Granville is a whole little world.

Meantime, back in the Virtu display suite, it’s all clean lines and minimalist design. Although, naturally, home decor can be anyone’s taste, the choices the designers have made, from big plasma screen in the living room to leather throw pillows in the bedroom really invite you to envision yourself as hanging your hat in the ultimate urban flat. The entertaining area is a concise open space with the kitchen (the “new living room,” remember) as a focus, so today.

The big plumbed island with eating bar invites friends to perch and chat, the granite counters (standard) and sleek cabinetry allude to the all-round high quality of the appointments. Engineered hard maple flooring is standard in the townhomes and the three penthouses, and available as an upgrade in some plans.

Most of the units are corner units, allowing for lots of floor-to-ceiling window space, because there are only six homes on each floor. There are still homes left with big patios, and the townhomes have courtyards in the front and outdoor space at the back. Besides the art studio, the amenities building features a gallery for displaying work, a fully-equipped gym, and a lounge with fireplace opening onto a landscaped garden courtyard.

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Sleek hallway and bedroom (bottom)

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Below right, Virtu rises in South Granville, close to galleries and shops.

Buyers are moving up or downsizing, migrating from Kits, Fairview or the City Hall area, making for a wide range of dwellers. Storage space and one parking place is standard: two parking spaces for townhomes and pentouses.

Occupancy February 2006.

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What: Virtu is 56 condos and seven townhomes in South Granville.

Where: 1650 West 7th Ave., Vancouver.

Developed by: Amacon.

Sizes: One-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom plus den and three-bedroom homes, 525 sq.ft. – 1,334 sq.ft.

Prices: $239,900 — $699,900 and up.

Open: Daily noon go 5 p.m. except Fridays, 1775 Pine Street, Vancouver, 604-731-7779.

© The Vancouver Province 2004


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