Gur Minhas

Gur Minhas

COASTAL LIVING: Row homes offer another real estate option

NANAIMO – Fee-simple row housing constructed on Northfield Road.

First-time home buyers, young families, empty nesters or retirees downsizing have a new option for buying high-quality homes in Nanaimo.

Sun Porch Homes Ltd. has completed its first row housing project on the 2000 block of Northfield Road.

The single-family attached homes mean buyers own their units and the land they’re built on. Each unit is serviced separately with sewerage, water, hydro and other utilities and with fee-simple ownership there are no strata fees.

Ken Riddell, developer, said he normally focuses on commercial construction.

“I don’t normally do housing, but I have some strong beliefs about housing, so I won’t build anything conventional,” Riddell said. “The reason I picked row housing is because I believe people want individual titles. There’s a lot of the market that doesn’t necessarily want large yards and I believe the people are happier with smaller square footage, but much better finished.”

Row housing has long been a common building format throughout much of Europe and the U.S. In San Francisco, Ca., the row housing is favoured because it stands up well to earthquake forces. Recent changes to the provincial land title act made it possible for fee-simple row homes to be built in B.C.

The Northfield Road project includes three two-storey units. Each has 127 square metres of floor space and includes two bedrooms, a den, 2.5 baths, outside decks, storage rooms, lane access and other amenities. With high ceilings and well laid out floor plans, the homes feel much larger than they are and with foam core concrete walls, heavy double-glazed windows and other sound proofing technology there is virtually no noise intrusion from adjoining units or outdoor traffic.

Pot lights, smooth ceilings, engineered hardwood flooring, concrete fibre board siding, stone countertops and soft close kitchen cabinets are some of the dozens of included upscale features.

“We trying to really give the new homeowner the most advanced technology and features – and some of the best features – that are available currently,” said Gur Minhas, co-developer.  “This is something that you’d see in Vancouver, in an upscale community or a downtown core that’s come to Nanaimo.”

Will Melville, of Delinea Design Consultants, was project designer with land use planning by Keith Brown of Keith Brown and Associates.

Price per unit is roughly $300,000 – more than a typical town home, but fit and finish is high and there are no strata fees.

“I believe we can come up with really well-functioning small square footage,” Riddell said. “If we can do that, it’s important to me to keep quality in developments.”

Riddell is also interested in building small units for retirees, single parents or people in economic situations where small, but high-quality homes would fit the bill.

“Hopefully we’re going to open up a type of housing that fills people’s needs better in all senses, including price,” Riddell said.

To learn more, please visit the Sun Porch Homes website at