Clearview in Nanaimo is to see, and see from

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Hilltop location means most suites are view apartments; nearby Woodgrove Centre means all are near to shopping, services

Suzanne Morphet

Clearview apartments give residents easy access to beautiful beaches and Nanaimo and vicinity’s largest shopping mall.

Views from the Clearview penthouse kitchen

Clearview @Regency Vista

Location: Nanaimo

Project size: 42 residences, 4-storey building

Contact: Betty-Ann Huberts, Coast Realty Group

Telephone: 250-758-7653 or 250-933-5452

e-mail: [email protected]

Web: clearviewliving. com

Developer: Mike Woodsworth

Architect: Mark Garrett

Interiors: Gannon Ross Designs

Occupancy: immediate

On a clear day you can see the Sechelt Peninsula from Nanaimo. Clear or cloudy, you can pick seashells by the seashore, especially if you’re living in the north end of the city, close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the region.

The new Clearview condominiums allow owners both those luxuries -even if they don’t care for tongue-twisters -plus the convenience of being just a block away from the city’s largest mall, Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

Clearview is Mike Woodworth’s first development project. He grew up in Vancouver, but has been living on Vancouver Island for the last 13 years.

He was looking for a small project to cut his teeth, when one day he came across a big hole in the ground on top of a hill in north Nanaimo.

“ Around 1996, somebody bought the property with the idea of turning it into a care facility or a place for seniors, so they dug a hole and then they walked away from it,” he explains. “ I came along and was standing there thinking, ‘ Holy smokes.’ ”

It wasn’t the size of the hole that had Woodworth exclaiming, but the enormity of the views. “ Views across the water to the Winchelsea Islands, the ocean and the Coast Mountains beyond. We simply felt that this was the spot to be.”

After Woodworth and his Victoria-based partner did their due diligence and found no problems with the site ( the previous developer simply ran out of money), they tracked down a local construction company with a good reputation – Dueck General Contracting – and forged ahead, using the same blueprints that had been approved by the city for the original project. Woodworth says it might have been possible to come up with a different design, but that would have taken more time and “ and they could say ‘ no.’ ”

The result is a four-storey, 42-residence building from which all but three residences have some ocean views. “ It’s a beautiful building inside,” says Woodworth, “ with balconies on all of the units, but the ones on the penthouses are huge, they go right across the whole complete front and down part of the sides.”

The residences range from 1,062 square feet to 1,775 square feet and Woodworth estimates the balconies on the penthouses are about an additional 800 square feet. Layouts are two or three bedrooms with bright, open floor plans. Penthouses start at $ 459,000 and other units are as low as $ 262,000. Strata fees are “ incredible,” according to Woodworth, averaging $ 186 a month.

Rozmin and Ab Sayani are middle-aged empty nesters in West Vancouver and were looking for a second home on the island when they came across Clearview by accident one day. Rozmin says they fell in love with it.

“ The look, the location, the view, the set-up – everything was a perfect fit for us … … We had looked at other locations on the island, but found Nanaimo to be truly special. From the exceptionally friendly people to the beautiful surroundings, we are really happy to own a home there.”

For retirees Daphne and Ronald McCormick, formerly of Victoria, Clearview is their new year-round home. Daphne says they were finding Victoria “ a little too compact” after 12 years there.

“ Nanaimo is the perfect, small-sized city; it has a wideopen feeling, yet many places are in walking distance,” she says, adding that “ in the North Nanaimo neighbourhood where Clearview is located, we really like that the area has a completed feel and there won’t be construction going on all the time nearby.”

McCormick and her husband were also impressed with the quality of their new condo.

“ The finishes at Clearview are very classy. Everything is high end and I really enjoyed the feel of it. Bathrooms are large and full-sized and the bedroom is amazing. The kitchen has everything I ever wanted; too bad I don’t feel like cooking every day any more now that I am retired!”

Realtor Betty-Ann Huberts of Coast Realty thinks prices for new homes in Nanaimo may have been less affected by the recession than those in larger urban centres because there is less new product on the market. Still, she says, prices at Clearview have “ been adjusted to reflect market conditions and to be competitive.”

“ Furthermore, I am confident that the pricing today is such that Clearview is being offered at below replacement cost. Quite simply, homes of this quality and size could not be built in this location for the same price again.”

Huberts says about 40 per cent of the units are now “ spoken for.”

The penthouses, ranging from $ 459,000 to $ 649,000, are competing in price with new single-family homes in the area. Realtor Jim Stewart, also of Coast Realty, says “ you can get a fabulous new home, a really beautiful ocean view home if your budget is between $ 500,000 and $ 650,000.”

But Clearwater developer Mike Woodworth isn’t too worried about the local competition. “ It’s a lifestyle thing, if you want to cut the lawn and have your house and garden … [ but] a lot of people moving in here don’t want that any more, they don’t want to worry about that kind of thing.”

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