A novella is most often described as a short novel or long short story. For those of us at Springbank who have been around for a while now, this novella began back in the summer of 2011. Having built several communities in the West Coquitlam area, we were no strangers to the potential that this burgeoning neighbourhood had to offer. The arrival of the new Evergreen Skytrain would bring with it a slew of urban amenities and increased accessibility to the downtown core and Coquitlam city centre. These added conveniences combined with the tranquility of a peaceful, tree-line street was the obvious choice for our next project.
When we initially put offers on the three houses along Breslay Street, our original plan was to build a four storey, wood frame building. After many months of discussions with the City of Coquitlam, it became clear that the planning department was hoping to encourage a new form of housing in the neighbourhood. This sent us back to the drawing board and although it did delay our progress, it also provided us with the opportunity to be creative and design a building that would be truly unique and unrivaled in the area.
While not always viable – due to diminished economies of scale – concrete mid-rises offer homeowners the best of both worlds. Quality concrete construction minimizes noise transfer between homes and a boutique building ensures that homeowners are part of a community – where they actually know their neighbours. Charged with the task of creating sophisticated suites that would appeal to end-users (as opposed to investors), we began working with the talented crew at Rositch Hemphill Architects and our fabulous design team at Port + Quarter to develop a building that people would want to call home.
At the top of our list was the usability of the homes. Floor plans were scrutinized for hours to ensure efficiency. Once all wasted space was eliminated, integrated smart storage solutions (think: pullout spice racks, kick plate drawers, cleaning supply organizers) were incorporated to minimize clutter. We then paired these with timeless finishes, high-end appliances, floor to ceiling windows and oversized outdoor spaces, to ensure that the homes would be as beautiful on the inside as on the out.
A team of accomplished consultants were then brought on board to finalize the design. Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers are just a few of the professionals that we depend upon to take a development project from concept to concrete. It never fails to amaze me just how many individuals contribute to transforming our visions into reality. Concurrently, coordination efforts continued with the city as we worked towards obtaining our Development Permit (think: form and character of the building) and Building Permits (code and life safety issues).
Permits are just one of those things that take time and, unfortunately, there is no real way around it. Once the drawings have been submitted to the City and all comments have been addressed, it is a game of patience on our end while they are reviewed, often by city staff who are backlogged with applications. On July 27th 2015, nine months after our initial application, we were awarded a Foundation Permit. This is a partial BP, which allows us to start digging and build up to the suspended slab (aka the roof of the underground parkade). Now, with our excavators on site, we have officially broken ground at Novella. The trucks are rolling and the hole is growing. Excavation and shoring update to come. Until then, here is a little sneak peek… ☺
Katelyn is the Development Manager at Springbank Properties. With degrees in finance and economics under her belt, she made the move out west in search of clearer waters, bigger mountains and to pursue her passion for real estate. She is an avid mountain biker, fervent foody and oversees all things related to this novella.