The sisters never dreamt of this
Former convent site puts on glitz
Despite the recent Arctic weather, streams of buyers and the curious braved the chill to visit Ashcroft’s Q West model suite at the controversial Sisters of the Visitation site in Westboro.
The project, created along with award-winning architect Rod Lahey and 2H Interior Design, is akin to a village within a village, with green space, shopping and courtyards for outdoor events.
“It’s going to be very festive here,” says Ashcroft marketing and sales consultant Marnie Bennett, of Bennett Real Estate Professionals. “It’s a lifestyle that you’re buying. It’s not just a floor plan.”
If you’re wondering why “Q” West, it’s not a cutesy play on Key West, Florida. Its relevance is connected to a Q-shaped pathway inside the convent grounds where the cloistered nuns quietly walked for years. It was aptly called “The Sisters’ Walk.”
Their spiritual life of prayer was in stark contrast to the lifestyle Ashcroft has brewing for its residents where, by next year, young professionals, boomers and retirees will be enjoying the same walk.
Only this time, instead of peaceful solitude, there may be a buzz of residents power walking, pushing strollers, or possibly dashing to the onsite spa for a luxurious treatment.
Another contrast is the cost to live in this dynamic community.
While nuns lived on very little, buyers will be paying at least $450 per square foot to call Q West home, which the sales team says is “compa- rable” to other new condos in the city.
Extras include underground parking at $29,900 a spot and basement lockers at $3,500.
The building, designed in a graduated style, will be sold in three phases.
The first release has 102 units and they have been well-received by buyers, says Bennett.
“We had downsizers coming in from the Westboro area and they were very, very positive,” says Bennett. “They loved the idea that we showed how they can integrate the different (interior design) styles.”
Construction of the ninestorey condo is expected to begin this fall, with an estimated move-in date of late 2012. Ashcroft bought the 2.2-hectare former convent site, with plans to build condos and a seniors’ residence on the sheltered grounds.
Plans are still preliminary, but the preserved heritage building may include an upscale restaurant, a wine bar and spa.
Residents will also have access to stores, a gym, theatre, games and a party room via underground walkways connecting the new buildings.
The model suite is a tempting sampling of what Ashcroft plans to build in the first phase of the multi-building project.
“It’s a version of a particular layout,” says Bennett. “It shows the level of finishings available.”
The condo lobby will feature soaring 20-foot ceilings, and a blend of organic and modern design with wood and stainless steel and stylish lighting treatments.
2H Design has come up with three design packages for buyers.
All packages include preengineered hardwood flooring, quartz countertops in the kitchen, and, for a limited time, stainless steel appliances.
One package is modern with light cabinets, another is traditional with wood cabinets, and the third is a blend of the two.
The one-bedroom model suite at 108 Richmond Rd., shows the third, eclectic option, detailing how buyers — mostly young couples and downsizers — can incorporate their treasured heirloom pieces into a modern living space.
When you walk into the model, the first impression is of how a mix of traditional and modern translates into elegance.
There is dark hardwood, creamy nougat countertops and nine-foot ceilings.
A chandelier with smoky crystals hangs over the glass kitchen table, which separates the open-concept kitchen and living area.
A glass door off the living room opens up to a 50-squarefoot balcony that can comfortably fit an outdoor dining table.
“We have really emphasized large terraces because it’s nice to have outdoor living space and have the opportunity to make it like a dining room,” says Bennett.
For more outside living options, residents will be able to head up to the rooftop terrace and enjoy the outdoor kitchen and dining room areas, as well as the outdoor relaxation lounge and a hot tub.
Animal lovers will appreciate the pet spas in the basement; and residents will enjoy the convenience of a virtual concierge service that will offer everything from dog walking and takeout to dry cleaning service to maintenance service.
The bathrooms feature oversized showers with contemporary chrome accessories, soaker tubs and pot lighting.
And the ultraviolet-protected, energy-efficient windows in the model are true to size.
“The windows that are there now are very large. They are practically floor to ceiling, wall to wall,” says Bennett.
The building will incorporate the former convent’s carriageway covers, and the entire community-living experience will be enhanced by the central courtyard, in keeping with the property’s heritage roots.
“In the winter, you can skate along (the pathway), have picnics in the summer, or just go for a walk,” says Bennett. “We are trying to maintain a lot of the heritage components and the interest that was there.”
A model of the Q West condo development on the Sisters of the Visitation site in Ottawa.
The project will offer hardwood flooring in all units.