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As a former corporate executive for a multinational company, Winston Pratt was keenly aware of hype in the marketing of everything from jeans to electric razors. So when he and his wife Sharon visited the Light House project by Aragon, they were impressed with what they saw.
From the moment they entered, the Light House design concept was true to its name. The high ceilings that run across the front of the suites, in some suites as high as 20 feet, gave an immediate sense of space, volume and light, they said. That, and an affordable price for Metro Vancouver, pretty much sealed the deal for the Pratts.
The new, two-bedroom, loft-style condo they purchased at Light House, Aragon’s newest project of 87 units in the Port Royal neighbourhood of New Westminster‘s Queensborough district, came none too soon for the family of four.
From Cape Town, South Africa, the Pratts arrived in Canada via Singapore about a decade ago after Winston decided to make an abrupt career change and take up religious studies at the University of British Columbia’s famed Regent College. He now serves as a pastor for a Mennonite Church in Richmond while Sharon, a trained social worker, works as a manager for a Vancouver housing society helping HIV-positive people. They rented a home until their kids finished high school but watched with dismay as the Metro Vancouver housing market rapidly rose beyond their reach.
“[Light House] is an answer to our prayers,” said Sharon.
Aragon’s Light House project is a revisit of the Glass Lofts, a highly successful project the company built in Port Royal in 2013. It was so successful that Aragon, along with architects Ramsay Worden, decided to use the loft concept again.
“You don’t often see loft-style homes in the market these days,” said Aragon’s development manager Luke Ramsay, adding that the extra high ceilings add to the cost of construction. “But we challenged the architects to put a loft in every home.”
The result is a housing form that is wide and shallow, with ample windows and doors that bring a lot of light into each unit. “We also positioned the rooms where you spend time—the kitchen, living and dining rooms along the exterior wall,” explained Ramsay. “The bedrooms are in the back of the loft but still get lots of light coming through the extra high ceilings in the rooms below.”
Ramsay said people are immediately impressed by the openness of Light House units. “Condo footage is getting smaller and smaller, and this just allows you a little space to breathe,” he said. Another feature that adds to that sense of space is Ramsay Worden’s incorporation of specialty doors across the front of the units. Designed by Minimal Glass and Doors of North Vancouver, the doors open accordion-style with the panels stacking up on one side of the opening. That creates an opening ranging from 12- to-18 feet, compared to traditional sliding glass doors, which span a maximum of six feet with half given over to a fixed-glass panel.
The kitchens feature quartz countertops, with waterfall gables and backsplashes in some homes. Plumbing fixtures include a Kohler undermount stainless steel sink, a pull-out kitchen faucet in matte black and custom soft-close cabinetry with wood-finish laminate panel doors. Appliances are by GE Monogram with a 30 or 36-inch Energy Star fridge with a bottom freezer, a 30-inch five-burner gas cooktop with a 30-inch convection wall oven, an Energy Star rated dishwasher and a microwave with trim kit.
There are quartz countertops in the bathroom with a fresh or raw concrete look, oversized porcelain tile on walls and floors, wood-finish flat-panel cabinetry, and under-cabinet LED puck lighting. Homes have acrylic tubs and showers and in-floor heating in ensuites and some secondary bathrooms.
Each home has an underground storage locker with one- and two-bedroom homes allocated one parking spot and three bedrooms, two parking spots. There is also an option to upgrade to an electric vehicle charging station.
Penthouses and top-level homes come with rooftop spaces replete with an outdoor kitchen and provision for barbecues and garden-hose connections.
All homes have access to a 1,500-square-foot self-standing amenity building with a gym on one side and a kitchen and lounge with outside space for barbecues and other gatherings.
Outside, many homes open onto the 1.7-km walkway encircling the community of Port Royal with enticing views of the Fraser River and the city of New Westminster, which is about 12 minutes by car.
Light House, New Westminster
Project Address: 300 Salter St., New Westminster
Project Scope: A total of 87 move-in ready loft-style homes in the urban village of Port Royal in New Westminster’s Queensborough neighbourhood. One, two and three-bedroom loft-style condominium homes ranging in size from 770 sq. ft. to 1,726 sq. ft., not including exterior space. Many homes have views of the Fraser River and downtown New Westminster, and all have access to a 1,500 sq. ft. amenity building and a riverside walkway that encircles Port Royal.
Prices: From $545,900
Developer: Aragon Properties
Architect: Ramsay Worden
Interior Design: In-house
Sales centre: Unit 101 – 300 Salter St.
Sales centre hours: Saturday/Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m.; Monday to Wednesday by appointment. Closed Thursday and Friday.
Sales email: email@example.com
Sales phone: 604-364-7424
Luke Ramsay said Aragon’s market for Light House, as it was for Glass Lofts, is the end-user rather than the investor. An important feature of that approach is that Light House homes, like many other Aragon projects, are move-in ready, rather than pre-sales homes.
“It’s part of our company’s philosophy, being fair and open with the purchaser,” explained Ramsay. “What you see is what you get. There is no selling someone a floor plan and then later changing by 50 or 100 square feet or reducing the level of finish that you saw in the show suite. You want to see your finished home. If you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t.”
Buyers will find a truly unique feature accent wall built into every suite. “We reached out to local demolition companies, who are taking down old brick buildings,” said Ramsay. “Typically, these bricks go to the dump, but we get a hold of them ahead of time. We dry them out in the parkade, and we scrub them and clean them. The same masons who do the brickwork on the outside of Light House come inside and install brick feature walls. It makes each unit feel unique.”
Integrated into the feature wall is a 50-inch linear electric fireplace, a comfort on colder nights and darker winter mornings, he said. Aragon has also designed recessed utility boxes, enabling owners to mount TV sets without untidy wiring.
The in-house interior design staff gives buyers a choice of light and darker colour schemes. Other interior features include Boen wide-plank engineered hardwood oak flooring throughout all the living spaces, an option for motorized white roller shades for privacy and light control, over-height interior swing, pocket and bypass bathroom and closet doors made of solid wood, and in some homes, master bedroom barn doors made from rift-cut, stained white oak.