Royally riverside: Water’s Edge apartments command attention

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Michael Sasges

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun Diana Brown of the Water’s Edge sales staff takes in the model of the buildings, the design of which is the result of an international collaboration.

CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun Decisions, decisions, decisions! In a Water’s Edge kitchen, the Eggersmann cabinetry from Germany or the Varenna cabinetry from Italy (above) are the choices. The kitchen sink that Bob Rennie wants everybody to see is a Blanco rectilinear undermount in stainless steel. The faucets are from Dornbracht. The stainless steel appliance package includes a Miele dishwasher, gas cooktop, wall oven and hood fan; a Sub Zero refrigerator/freez-er; and a Panasonic microwave.

By my Oxford dictionary, Bob Rennie is not boasting when he says of his latest West Vancouver foray: ”Water’s Edge has everything a waterfront location demands, 10-foot ceilings, Italian and German designer kitchens, hardwood, granite, Sub Zero, Miele and you really have to see the kitchen sink!”

Sure, the comment is illustrative of the top-dollar real-estate agent’s pride of project, but surely it is not illustrative of excessive pride because it is grounded in some certainties.

Paramountly, the Water’s Edge homes (”79 suites in three small buildings:” Bob Rennie) will be up to the task of claiming a landmark location, along the Capilano River and on the site of the old Park Royal Hotel, meaning thousands of people (commuters) will pass by daily.

Their designers are Vancouver’s Lawrence Doyle and Robert A.M. Stern, a much-honored and much-commissioned New York architect and Yale University professor and administrator.

Their builder is a Millennium Group company, a two-continent developer and builder with more than 50 years of experience.

Certainly the designer-developer collaboration helped persuade airline pilot Ron Sturgess to pay $835,000 plus GST for a third-floor, two-bedroom-plus-solarium apartment facing the river.

”I felt a certain degree of confidence knowing the builder to be Millennium, a company of solid reputation and known for quality construction,” the 46-year-old Ambleside renter reports.

”Having an architect of Robert Stern’s fine reputation design the residences certainly didn’t hurt, either.”

“I have great confidence that the final product will be of outstanding quality and will be a residence that I will be very happy with over the years to come.”

Creation of “site specific” buildings is a corporate goal on every development, Millennium’s Shahram Malek says, and the first step in that getting there is the architect.

”Similar to our previous waterfront development in West Vancouver, the Edgewater, we engaged New York architect Robert A.M. Stern in collaboration with our local architect, Lawrence Doyle to create a community that respects and embraces the environment,” Malek says.

”Whether we are developing in Paris or West Vancouver, we acknowledge that the buyer respects innovative architecture and interior design . . .”

Millennium’s local developments include the seven-tower City-in-the-Park project in Burnaby and Brownstone and L’hermitage en Ville in Vancouver.

Its French projects include two in Paris, an apartment building and an office building for the French postal service.

Robert A.M. Stern has been dean of Yale’s architecture school since 1998. Before that he was a professor of architecture at Columbia. In his 35-year career, he has designed homes and hotels and museums around the world. He coordinated the Times Square renovation in New York City. The Walt Disney Company has been a big patron.

Like the Water’s Edge developer and co-designer, buyer Sturgess works locally and internationally.

”As an airline pilot for an overseas airline, I am away for a week at a time and the security offered by a condominium like Water’s Edge will give me a sense of ease when I am away that I do not currently experience living in a house.”

After he and his wife separated, he bought a two-bedroom apartment in a Coal Harbour development scheduled for completion in December. ”However, with my kids attending school in West Vancouver, and with a very good circle of friends here in West Van, I came to realize that I would prefer to remain living here.”

”Here,” of course, means different things to different folks. For Ron Sturgess, “here” is the Capilano as it enters Burrard Inlet.

”I was familiar with the area as I used to own a house in Cedardale.

”The proximity to the Capilano River was a definite positive as I enjoy the trail that follows the river up to the Cleveland Dam.

”This area has the advantage of being close to restaurants and shopping while having the feel of living next to nature being right on the river.”

Bob Rennie, too, likes the cross-country possibilities at Water’s Edge. “West Vancouver is undersupplied when it comes to condominiums, particularly in a walk-to-Park-Royal location.”

Haneef Virani, another buyer at Water’s Edge, shares their location enthusiam, although with a twist.

He bought a two bedroom for $600,000 as an investment that he and his wife may eventually occupy. Water views were not, accordingly, important.

”The short supply in Park Royal . . . did play a role in my decision-making process,” the 29-year-old real estate consultant reports.

”The size of the project and the fact that there were relatively few homes and that the buildings are low profile did play a part in my decision making process. The water, however, did not play a part in the decision.”

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Showroom address: 1846 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Showroom telephone: 604-974-0059

Hours: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., daily except Friday


On offer: 79 apartments, one – three bedrooms, from about 725 sq. ft. – about 3,150 sq. ft.

Prices: From $505,000 to $3.16 million

Warranty: National Home one-year material and labour; two-year major systems, exterior cladding and Building Code; five-year building envelope; 10-year structural

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

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