Spruce – 1096 W. Broadway: Satisfied with location, a jewel-box building, airy suites, they train their sights on storage

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Cheryl Chan

Artist’s drawing of the Spruce, Intracorp’s 49-unit, glass-andconcrete development aimed at female professionals.

All suites, as seen in the Spruce’s display site, are to have nine-foot ceilings and patios or balconies, while four penthouse suites will sport spiral staircases leading to a rooftop patio. Photograph by: Jon Murray, The Province

Kitchens will feature built-in shelves for display, round mosaics for the sink backsplash and sleek Blomberg fridges cloaked in wood veneers. Photograph by: Photos by Jon Murray, The Province


What: Spruce, 49 units.
Where: 1096 West Broadway, Vancouver.
Builder/Developer: Intracorp.
Sizes: One-bedroom and den from 555 to 653 square feet, and two-bedroom and den from 804 to 853 sq. ft.
Prices: Starts in the mid-$300,000 range.
Open: Presentation centre at 1595 West Broadway opens Nov. 14. Hours daily noon to 5 p.m. except Friday.

When it comes to home buying, it’s what women want that clinches the sale.

And when women go shopping for a home, often top on the list is storage, storage, storage.

So when Intracorp took over a new condo development in Fairview Slopes earlier this year, marketing director Carla Bury and Susan Rutledge, vice-president of sales, were aghast at the lack of upper cabinets in the kitchen and shallow, drawerless vanity in the bathrooms.

“As women, Sue and I both said ‘That’s crazy, where are you going to put your things?'” said Bury. “Why not put in more cabinets or a bigger vanity with storage? So that’s what we did.”

The result: an intimate 11-storey, 49-unit glass-and-concrete jewelbox of a building to be built on Broadway and Spruce aimed at predominantly female professionals in their mid-30s to 40s.

The kitchen — now with plenty of storage — has a built-in shelf for display, unique round mosaics for the backsplash, and sleek Blomberg fridges hidden behind wood veneers that melt seamlessly into the functional space.

All suites have nine-foot ceilings and patios or balconies, while four penthouse suites have spiral staircases leading to a rooftop patio.

Even the gym is geared toward women, with fewer free weights favoured by men and more elliptical machines, treadmills and core-strengthening equipment.

Located between tony south Granville and the burgeoning Cambie Rise neighbourhood, Spruce is well-situated near shops, restaurants, art galleries, big-box retail stores and the False Creek waterfront.

It’s also in an established residential neighbourhood with quiet tree-lined streets where new developments are few and far between, said Bury.

Potential buyers can choose from five different plans ranging from a 555-square-foot one-bedroom with den to an 853-sq.-ft. two-bedroom and den. Prices start in the mid-$300,000.

As an incentive, early buyers get upgraded hardwood flooring — unusually wide planks of engineered oak — thrown in for free.

Spruce’s owner had initially launched the project last October, when B.C.’s real-estate market had screeched to a standstill as

the effects of the U.S. banking

crisis reverberated around the world.

“It was the worst time possible,” said Rutledge.

“The brakes were on.”

When Intracorp, the developer responsible for the completed Camera in South Granville and the sold-out Jacobsen in southeast False Creek, came on board, it tweaked the features and floor plans.

The spruced-up Spruce is now scheduled for a Nov. 14 grand opening. Construction starts in March 2010, with a completion date target of 2011.

Bury said there are several factors that are encouraging buyers to get back into the recovering market.

“With interest rates as low as they are, there’s a lot of people out there who feel it’s a good time to purchase a home,” she said.

“Prices have come down, interest rates are low, and if they can buy now before the HST comes into play, then it makes a lot of sense.”

The pending harmonized sales tax, which comes into effect July 2010, could boost new home prices by about seven per cent.

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