Townhouse in Bohemia – the seawall, the market – an easy walk away

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

Michael Sasges

Reason 271,152 to go to Granville Market: Your new home in Vancouver‘s Fairview neighbourhood comes with $23,000 worth of stainless appliances worthy of the finest and freshest ingredients the market’s merchants can stock.

Reason 271,153 to take the Aquabus to Granville Market: Your new home is a few minutes’ stroll from one of the False Creek water taxi’s stops, at Stamp’s Landing.

The Bohemia project literature promises the project, located on the south side of West Sixth between Ash and Heather streets, ”is all about possibility.” No arguing that.

Because you can, you could, from one of the 44 Bohemia residences . . .

* Walk to market along the seawall rather than take an Aquabus (but take the water taxi back to Stamp’s Landing, that evening’s meal in the pack on your back).

* Walk to the new Save-On-Foods or expanded Canadian Tire being built on Cambie.

* Walk to Science World or, eventually, the Olympic Village or RAV station.

Because you can, you could also stay at home, and . . .

* Polish up all that stainless, not forgetting the door and drawer handles and pulls, which are also finished in stainless.

* Wonder (forever) if the walnut was the better choice for the cabinets than the ”Tuscany.”

* Look at yourself in the granite countertops.

* Read a book in front of the gas fireplace – and under the ”surface-mount frosted-glass fixtures throughout.”

* Order in. You’ve got your own separate entrance, nothing to confuse drivers or amuse the neighbours.

Bohemia buyers Lorenzo and Sandra Iameo may never experience any of the above first hand. But their tenants certainly will and their sons might, two-year-old Spencer and six-month-old Mitchell.

Explaining that ”Sandra has always wanted to own an investment property downtown,” Lorenzo made these points in explaining why a one-bedroom, end-of-row townhouse at Bohemia became that property:

* ”It is the best value for money in all we’ve seen in developed or pre-developed stage. We also considered some larger scale condominiums downtown. But the idea of elevators or stairs to access your home compared to a secured private entrance and patio certainly influenced our decision.”

”Hardwood flooring, granite counters throughout, Viking appliances – how many places do you know of where Viking appliances are included? That’s top notch!”

* ”It’s brand new and we can rest assured there will be no major problems – especially important for us because the last 10 years has seen many structural problems that lost investors and homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have peace of mind.”

* ”Our short-term plan is to keep it as a revenue home. Our target demographic for renting/leasing is single professionals who want to be close to all the action. But of course the larger units — a little out of our price range at the moment — could cater to others. The ultimate question we asked ourselves was, ‘would we enjoy living here?’ and the answer was ‘yes.’ Could we afford to? No! But this is a step in that direction.”

* ”Eventually Spencer or Mitchell might want to live closer to downtown if they decide to attend UBC. If they go to SFU instead we’ll just disown them (ha ha) – no seriously, we’ll disown them.”

* ”I love the fact that Bohemia includes parking while other projects charge thousands of dollars for one stall. While one who lives here can enjoy the luxuries of being close to everything, most people still enjoy the convenience of having their own vehicle. Included parking can have nothing but a positive effect for both rental and resale values.”

The owners of a north Burnaby bungalow, Sandra is 32 and Lorenzo is 34. In describing the neighbourhood in which they and their sons reside, Lorenzo advanced an attractive Old World definition of neighbourhood that trumps the physical-geography component of a neighbourhood with a human component: ”Community is walking distance to our parents’ homes, Sandra’s brother’s home and my brother’s and sister’s homes.”

Bohemia is located in an amenity-rich neighbourhood, Lorenzo says, ”Granville Market to the west, the seawall to the north, Olympic Village, first Save-on-Foods in Vancouver . . . And it will become even more central with the RAV line coming in the next few years.”

Harp Hoonjan, of Bohemia Developments Ltd., would be delighted to hear the contribution of the Bohemia builder to the Iameo decision to buy at Bohemia. ”Vanbots has a rock solid reputation as a construction company,” Lorenzo reports.

With operations on two continents managed from head office in Markham, Ont., 45-year-old Vanbots Construction is an important component of the Bohemia marketing mix.

”The industry is busy, the trades are busy. It’s not like you can phone them up anymore and they’re there, at your doorstep, wanting to do the work,” Hoonjan says of the importance of Vanbots to the project.

”So what we’ve done is we’re working with a construction-management process here, through Vanbots . . . .”

For Michael Sikich of D’Ovidio Sikich, Bohemia‘s project marketer, the builder makes Bohemia stand out because it signals a commitment to the integrity of the seller-buyer arrangement that is bigger than the provincial Homeowner Protection Act.

”Everybody talks about warranty. Everybody has to have the warranty,” he notes.

”But it’s more than just that. You may have the warranty which is fine. But if you have problems later you still have the problems, the inconvenience of having to have things corrected and changed down the road.

”So you want to hire a company that is reputable, that will stand behind its work and if something were to occur, however minor, will jump to it and get it done for the purchaser right away. It’s not just about warranty; it’s about service, as well.”

Courtyard entrances in half of Bohemia‘s West Sixth residences

Residential entrances always matter, but accrue special importance when they’re the primary opening between the private space and the public space that is dominated by a busy throughroad like West Sixth Avenue between Hemlock and Cambie streets.

At Bohemia, the entrances to half of the 28 residences along West Sixth are located in a courtyard to be located between the development’s lane buildings and its street buildings (below).

The entrances to the other half, on West Sixth, are tucked away behind a building extension and under an upper level (bottom).

To take the edge off the noise generated by the passing traffic, the framing on the West Sixth exterior walls will also be deeper than the framing on the other exteriors, Harp Hoonjan promises. The insulation, accordingly, will be thicker and the space between panes in the double-glazing will be deeper.

“Sound is not an element for our project,” he vows.

The immediate views of West Sixth from the residences will be softened by a new grassed and tree lined boulevard.

This neighbourhood amenity helped the developer “achieve,” at city hall, the maximum allowable density on this site.

“We agreed to set the project back 12 feet from the property line, ” Hoonjan reports, explaining that on this site the zoning permitted the developer to build to the lot line. “That gave us a nice sidewalk and . . . a grassed boulevard area in the front and a double row of trees along the entire frontage.”

Presentation centre location: Moberley and West Sixth, Vancouver

Centre telephone: 604-879-8777

Centre hours: M-Th, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Fri closed; Sa and Su, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.


On offer: 44 townhouses, one, two and three bedrooms, one and two storeys

Prices: $229,900 – $469,900

Developer: Bohemia Developments Ltd.

Architect: Davidson Yuen Simpson, Vancouver

Warranty: The St. Paul

© The Vancouver Sun 2005


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