Project part of ‘walk­a­ble’ com­mu­nity

Mort­gage pro­mo­tion to lure buy­ers

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - CH­ERYL CHAN

Walk­a­bil­ity isn’t some­thing one nor­mally as­so­ci­ates with sub­urbs — with their strip malls and car-friendly streetscap­es — but a new, soon-to-be un­veiled de­vel­op­ment in Sur­rey, B.C., aims to change that.

For the fam­i­lies who will be liv­ing at Mirra — a 156-unit Westcoast-in­spired low-rise — home is go­ing to be within walk­ing dis­tance to restau­rants, stores, gro­ceries and trans­porta­tion hubs.

“New­ton is a real walk­a­ble com­mu­nity,” said Nick Askew, pres­i­dent of Pace­set­ter Mar­ket­ing, which is han­dling sales for Mirra. “There’s a lot of in­fra­struc­ture that makes it neigh­bour­hood-friendly.”

The lo­ca­tion — tran­quil de­spite its prox­im­ity to bustling King Ge­orge High­way — is about six blocks away from the New­ton bus ex­change and a 10-minute drive from the King Ge­orge Sky­Train sta­tion.

New­ton is also one of the five Sur­rey town cen­tres mayor Dianne Watts wants to see spruced up as part of the grow­ing city’s Townshift makeover con­test.

The com­pe­ti­tion is de­signed to cre­ate more liv­able, walk­a­ble and sus­tain­able hubs in each of the ar­eas. New­ton’s theme is New Town: Con­nect­ing Den­sity to Tran­sit.

The Mirra’s first phase is a four-storey wood­frame build­ing made up of 71 units with 12 dif­fer­ent floor plans.

The ma­jor­ity of units are onebed­room suites, but op­tions range from a 468 square-foot stu­dio to an 893-square-foot, two-bed­room unit with den.

The ex­te­rior is an homage to West Coast sen­si­bil­i­ties, with its use of stone, wood and po­stand-beam constructi­on.

A sec­ond phase with 86 suites will be re­leased early next year.

Like most real-es­tate projects, sale and constructi­on of Mirra was tem­po­rar­ily put on hold last year as un­cer­tainty and tur­moil rum­bled through world economies.

The year-long de­lay, how­ever, has turned out to be a boon to as­pir­ing home­own­ers, who are now beginning to dip their toes anew into the real-es­tate mar­ket.

Half of the units at Mirra are priced un­der $200,000 — “very af­ford­able in Van­cou­ver dol­lars,” said Askew.

Half of the homes are also el­i­gi­ble for a mort­gage pro­mo­tion, which al­lows buy­ers to pay less than $300 a month for a year af­ter putting down a 10-per-cent de­posit.

Tak­ing out his cal­cu­la­tor, Askew ex­plained that a $170,000 one bed­room, which might have a $650 monthly mort­gage, comes out to only $150 a month for the first year af­ter the de­vel­oper’s sub­sidy.

The av­er­age monthly rent for the area is about $750 per month.

“It makes it more af­ford­able for first-time home­buy­ers to buy and for the savvy in­vestor, it makes a lot of sense,” said Askew, adding that in­ter­est rates are still near his­tor­i­cal lows and some ex­perts pre­dict­ing av­er­age home prices to in­crease by eight per cent next year.

On dis­play at the pre­sen­ta­tion cen­tre is a 659 square-foot, one-bed­room-and-den unit that feels spa­cious de­spite its com­pact size.

The floor plan is typ­i­cal open con­cept, but stands out be­cause it isn’t meant to be di­vided as a liv­ing room and din­ing room.

In­stead, buy­ers can put their din­ing ta­ble in the mid­dle of the L-shaped kitchen, or go with the op­tional add-on of an is­land, which does dou­ble duty as a work space and din­ing ta­ble.

The floors are en­gi­neered hard­wood, in a dark wal­nut. All suites have pa­tios or bal­conies, while most boasts full height pantries for ex­tra stor­age in the kitchen.

For the units with dens, a big plus is the lo­ca­tion of the den along the out­side wall.

As a re­sult, in­stead of the typ- ical dark, win­dow­less cub­bies that pass for dens in other projects, the dens at Mirra are airy and light-filled, mak­ing them a good spot for a home of­fice or a kids’ play­room.

To keep the units af­ford­able, ameni­ties are kept to a min­i­mum.

There’s no pool, for ex­am­ple — Askew said re­search found only 20 per cent of ten­ants would use it reg­u­larly — which keeps monthly strata fees down to 22 cents per square foot.

Mirra is sched­uled to be com­pleted in spring 2011.

The bed­room in the unit.

Pho­tos, Jon Mur­ray, Van­cou­ver Prov­ince

A slid­ing door sep­a­rates this of­fice area from the rest of the unit, which in­cludes one bed­room plus den.

The open con­cept great room and kitchen within the unit.

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