BORO CON­DOS AC­CES­SI­BLE TO BUY­ERS

Ac­cès Con­dos pro­gram aids in pur­chase

Montreal Gazette - - New Homes + Condos - JOEL CEAUSU

Mon­treal’s hous­ing devel­op­ment cor­po­ra­tion — the So­ciété d’habi­ta­tion et de développe­ment de Mon­tréal (SHDM) — has made home own­er­ship pos­si­ble for thou­sands of fam­i­lies over the last decade, but its lat­est ven­ture is un­like many past part­ner­ships. The Boro Con­dos project in Pier­re­fond­sRoxboro of­fers some­thing dif­fer­ent than your typ­i­cal Mon­tre­alarea condo devel­op­ment.

The build­ing is made up of 26 units, 22 of which are stacked town­houses — i.e. two-floor res­i­dences with ac­cess through an in­ter­nal cor­ri­dor. Nearly 75 per cent of the units will have three rooms on two lev­els, with ter­race — an ideal op­tion for fam­i­lies — and the SHDM’s Ac­cès Con­dos pro­gram makes home own­er­ship more ac­ces­si­ble than ever.

Con­dos range from $144,000, in­clud­ing taxes, for a 549-square­foot, one-bed­room unit, to three­and four-bed­room apart­ments of 1,280 square feet start­ing at $261,000.

It’s a di­ver­sity that has at­tracted a great deal of in­ter­est; more than 200 peo­ple showed up on open­ing day at the sales of­fice last week­end. The SHDM pro­gram of­fers buy­ers a 10 per cent pur­chase credit, re­fund­able once the house is sold or the mort­gage is paid, and en­ables pur­chasers to make a down pay­ment of as lit­tle as $1,000.

Built by Con­struc­tion Vera Na­di­a­mona, the build­ing it­self is not a typ­i­cal condo struc­ture, fea­tur­ing mod­ern de­sign by Ro­cio Ar­chi­tec­ture for a build­ing that will age well in its en­vi­ron­ment. The de­sign fea­tures a blend of con­tem­po­rary ma­te­ri­als and colours, with struc­tural lines fram­ing and ex­tend­ing across the en­tire project and open­ing on the sides, for a dis­tinc­tive and vi­brant ad­di­tion to the sur­round­ing landscape.

The two-floor de­sign of the units of­fers more pri­vacy in night­time spa­ces ( bed­rooms and bathrooms), which are sep­a­rated from day­time spa­ces (liv­ing room, kitchen and din­ing room). What’s more, they fea­ture large ter­races that in­crease liv­ing space.

“When you buy a project that’s part of the pro­gram, new con­struc­tion is guar­an­teed so you don’t have to wait till a cer­tain num­ber of homes are sold un­til it’s guar­an­teed,” said Les­lie Molko, SHDM spokesper­son. “If they are Ac­cès Con­dos ac­cred­ited, the project goes for­ward, guar­an­teed. We don’t have to wait for a cer­tain per­cent­age to be sold be­fore they dig. The SHDM has never had to buy an un­sold unit.”

The pro­gram tar­gets ar­eas that pro­mot­ers typ­i­cally don’t en­vi­sion for devel­op­ment: “Ar­eas that are un­der­go­ing re­vi­tal­iza­tion are key. We don’t want an area or project to be only one thing. We want a va­ri­ety of peo­ple, of uses, fam­i­lies, sin­gles, work­ers, pro­fes­sion­als, a range of rev­enues.”

The pro­moter and the SHDM are look­ing at lots of in­ter­est from first- or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion im­mi­grants, as “be­ing able to buy a prop­erty is a big deal for this pop­u­la­tion. When you ar­rive in a new city you of­ten don’t know where to live; you’re not sure. But wher­ever you are, you want to be close to good schools, com­merce, parks, play­grounds and, of course, trans­porta­tion.”

The lo­ca­tion on Gouin Blvd., just east of Sources Blvd., of­fers fast and easy ac­cess to High­ways 40 and 13, and the Roxboro-Pier­re­fonds train sta­tion is 600 metres from the build­ing. Bike paths and lanes along Rivière des Prairies of­fer more ac­tive trans­porta­tion op­tions.

“It’s an ex­cel­lent lo­ca­tion for fam­i­lies that work in Laval, down­town, and South Shore,” Molko said, not to men­tion the abun­dance of nearby sports and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties, like soc­cer fields, ten­nis courts, the Roxboro swim­ming pool, li­brary, and the Sport­splex.

A turnkey project means buy­ers just choose fin­ishes for kitchen and bath­room and move in.

“We don’t com­pli­cate your life,” Molko said. “It’s a sim­ple pur­chase, es­pe­cially with Ac­cès Con­dos.”

Ac­cès Con­dos has en­abled about 4,000 house­holds to ac­quire qual­ity prop­er­ties at very com­pet­i­tive prices while re­main­ing in Mon­treal, con­tribut­ing to neigh­bour­hood re­newal in a sus­tain­able way and cre­at­ing dy­namic liv­ing en­vi­ron­ments. SHDM has ac­cred­ited 31 projects in 11 dis­tricts.

The only qual­i­fi­ca­tion for buy­ers is to be el­i­gi­ble for a mort­gage for the amount not cov­ered by the pro­gram, Molko said. “You must also live in­side the unit; it must be your pri­mary res­i­dence.”

Of­ten the pro­gram will be as­so­ci­ated with a larger devel­op­ment, where city rules re­quire a por­tion of the units must be so­cial or af­ford­able hous­ing. In the case of Boro, she said, a ten­der for pro­pos­als was put out for a project that would con­trib­ute to a sec­tors re­vi­tal­iza­tion while of­fer­ing qual­ity and af­ford­abil­ity.

“Be­cause we guar­an­teed to buy the con­dos, it helps the de­vel­oper to lower the cost be­cause the risk is lower. That leads to a bet­ter qual­ity con­struc­tion while we of­fer the fi­nan­cial tools to the buy­ers.

“We push the project by it­self if it’s in an area that’s where we can help.”

With more than 19 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion aged 14 and younger, com­pared with an av­er­age 15 per cent for the en­tire city of Mon­treal, it’s the first Ac­cès Con­dos project in Pier­re­fonds-Roxboro. “It’s re­ally easy,” Molko said, “es­pe­cially for young fam­i­lies for whom buy­ing a house can now be re­ally af­ford­able.”

Boro is ex­pected to be com­pleted in the fall of 2017.

ARTIST’S REN­DER­INGS COUR­TESY OF RO­CIO AR­CHI­TEC­TURE

The Boro Con­dos project in Pier­re­fonds-Roxboro, sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2017, fea­tures 26 units, 22 of which are stacked town­houses — i.e. two-floor res­i­dences with ac­cess through an in­ter­nal cor­ri­dor.

With Boro’s two-storey town­house de­signs, day­time liv­ing spa­ces like this kitchen/din­ing area are on a dif­fer­ent level than more pri­vate night­time spa­ces like bed­rooms and bath­rooms (be­low).

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