SCHOOL’S IN AT SPRUCE

Education has a huge impact on our lives. Those early moments of classroom inspiration, the friends we make, even our route to school – by bike, bus, or sidewalk – all help us form our earliest sense of what it means to be in the world. And these experiences influence our entire lives.

So for a lot of people looking for a new home, having good schools nearby is absolutely crucial. Whether you have a little one already, or are planning to start a family soon, it’s imperative that you set them up for success.

We are very lucky in Vancouver. Many of our public schools are truly excellent, and the communities that support them are active, caring, and involved.

Fairview is no exception. From standard K-7 elementary to French immersion, there are a number of great options in the immediate area.

False Creek
900 School Green
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3N7

Right next to Charleson Park, False Creek Elementary will be the likely school of choice for elementary students close to Spruce.

Henry Hudson
1551 Cypress St.
Vancouver, BC
V6J 3L3

At the foot of the Burrard Street Bridge, at Cornwall and Cypress, Henry Hudson offers French immersion for grades K-3 (soon to expand to K-7).

L’Ecole Bilingue
1166 W. 14th Ave.
Vancouver, BC
V6H 1P6

At 14th and Alder, L’Ecole Bilingue offers all French immersion, all the time. K-7.

Simon Fraser
100 W. 15 Ave.
Vancouver, BC
V5Y 3B7

Located over at 15th and Columbia, Simon Fraser edges up to Mt. Pleasant. K-7.

Elsie Roy
150 Drake St.
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 2X1

Elsie Roy, a new facility, is just across the bridge in Yaletown, next to the Roundhouse Community Centre.

Choosing a good school for your kids is crucial. For more information, visit the Vancouver School Board (which also happens to be right around the corner from Spruce, incidentally.)

VSB Education Centre
1580 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
V6J 5K8


SPRUCE AND THE HST

If you are like pretty much everybody else in BC, you are wondering exactly what the deal is with the HST. The tax comes into effect July 1, so a lot of people are thinking about it.

How much impact does it have? And exactly how much more money will it really add to the cost of your home?

The recent Georgia Straight article gave a good overview of the story around the tax and its current impact on Vancouver real estate market. But in the end, it is pretty ambivalent about whether all the hubbub is justified.

For starters, be sure you understand exactly what it all means. (This is the boring part.) The BC Government website breaks down all the nuts and bolts of the tax, and where and how it applies and differs from the old system.

Scroll down that page until you find the section heading “New Housing Rebate.” This is the part that matters to us.

Basically, purchasers of new homes – who used to pay only the 5% GST – will now pay an added 7% tax under the HST, for a total of 12% tax on the purchase price.

However, the first $525,000 qualifies for a 5% rebate on the tax. This rebate maxes out at $26,250.

Therefore, homes under $525,000 will only see a 2% increase over the tax that applied before the HST.

For homes over $525,000, the full 12% HST applies only to the amount that exceeds that price. So basically, you’ll add 12% tax to the full purchase price, subtract the $26,250 (rebate on the first $525,000), and what you have left is what you will pay in tax. Compared to pre-HST days, this nets out to a 7% increase, less $26,250.

But many of the new homes available at Spruce are close to or below that threshold; these will only see the 2% nudge in tax.

Clear enough? If you have any other questions, please call us. We are always happy to help however we can.


A SOLID INVESTMENT PROPERTY

Spruce is an excellent investment property. A few of you have been thinking of purchasing one of these homes as a rental unit. And for those of you who will live here, who knows? You might want to take off to Europe for a year, and rent out your place while you’re gone.

Either way, we thought you might like to get a look at some typical rental rates in the area, to get an idea what you could expect to charge in rent at Spruce.

The following rates are based on comparable homes – usually, suites that are 0-5 years old, in contemporary towers like Spruce. The figures were supplied by One West Properties, a firm that specializes in crunching data like this. So they offer a pretty reliable idea of what your home at Spruce will earn in rent every month.

1 bedroom (@ 530 sq. ft.) = approx $1400/mo

1 bedroom + den (@ 655 sq. ft.) = approx $1600/mo

2 Bedrooms (@ 900 sq. ft.) = approx $2300/mo

It’s clear that these boutique homes are great rental properties – and a very solid investment, all around.


SPRUCE BREAKS GROUND

digger_72.jpg

Moving forward is a very good thing. It reminds us that we are getting to where we want to be in life. And it feels even better in the springtime.

We’re happy to report that, early this morning (March 31), we broke ground at Spruce. Before long, you’ll see this landmark tower of boutique homes rising from the corner of Spruce and Broadway.

For those of you who have already purchased a home here, this unfolding will be very gratifying to watch. With every floor reached, every new window, you’ll see your new home coming together. And with it, the new life you’ll be starting here gets closer and closer. Be excited. You’ve earned it.

fence_72.jpg

And for those of you who have been thinking about a home here, this should make it a lot more real.
Check back on the blog from time to time, to see how we’re progressing with construction. And feel free to drive by the site and take a peek.

After all, there’s nothing like forward movement – and watching a new life being built before your eyes.

There are still many brilliant boutique homes available at Spruce. But if sales move as briskly as they have been, that won’t be true for long. Stop by our Presentation Centre today. We’d love to hear what you are looking for, and talk about whether Spruce is right for you.


READING THESE FLOORPLANS

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty: what are we actually talking about when we say “boutique homes”?

We thought a quick review of the floorplans at Spruce might help you get the picture. These are truly ideal urban residences, and plenty of thought has gone into these intelligent, enjoyable layouts.

Most of the homes we still have available at Spruce are our E and F plans. Both of these are corner suites – this means they have lots of big, brilliant windows, and tons of natural light. Like every home at Spruce, they boast high 9’ ceilings. The balconies off the main living areas give a nice view of the city and the street below – excellent for an afternoon with your favorite magazine. They both have ample storage space for all your gear, clothes and shoes (ladies, this is for you), and offer both ensuite and guest baths. They also feature a nice little den/workspace/flex area for an office, reading area, or computer nook.

Maybe most importantly, both of these two-bedroom plans have, smartly, separated the bedrooms. So you don’t share a wall with the other bedroom – an excellent feature for privacy, quiet, and a sense of your own space.

There’s a lot more to these homes. And of course, no one can tell you the story better than our sales staff. Get up here, take your own tour of this neighbourhood, and get a closer look at what these boutique homes are all about.


JUST HOW CLOSE IS SPRUCE, REALLY?

We’ve been crowing about Spruce’s perfect position for a long time now, and we’ve highlighted the neighbourhood surrounding these homes extensively on this blog. But we gather that some of you still aren’t crystal-clear on the exact location of this place, so we thought you might like to visualize it in full colour.

On a brilliant sunny day last week, we walked a camera from Spruce down to Granville Island, and back home along the seawall. The results made us want to buy one of these homes ourselves.

Take a look.


SPRINGTIME SPACES NEAR SPRUCE

parks.jpg

Spring is right around the corner. In fact, judging from the brilliant weather we’ve had lately – and the many cherry blossoms already in bloom – it looks like it’s early this year.

Vancouver is such a sweet place to spend the springtime. Nearly every neighbourhood here is full parks, trails, and gardens – ideal places to get out when the weather turns, and drink in this breathtaking city we call home.

Fairview, right in the middle of it all, is one of the best neighbourhoods of them all. Whether you’re looking to play some tennis, throw a Frisbee around with the dog, ride your bike in the clear sunny air, or just sit quietly with a friend, Fairview offers so many places to get out and enjoy the springtime.

Below is quick run-down of all the parks within a few steps (or pedal-pushes) from Spruce.

And this is just on this side of the bridge. Spruce is, of course, moments from both the Granville and the Cambie bridges. Downtown, you’ve the seawall, Stanley Park, and all the little parks from Coal Harbour to Sunset Beach. Great to be here, isn’t it?

False Creek Waterfront

We all know this waterfront. The running/walking/bike winds along the shore next to countless parks, past Granville Island, Kits Beach, and all the way to Spanish Banks to the west. To the east, it runs all the way around Science world, and connects with the downtown seawall. From Spruce, you’re linked right to this whole brilliant path, starting just a few blocks down the hill.

Charleson Park

This expanse of green, a few steps east of the Granville Bridge on the False Creek shore, offers soccer fields, an off-leash dog park – and 5 secret tennis courts (!) atop 600 Moberly Road.

Sutcliffe Park

Tucked in the pocket between Granville Island and the seawall, Sutcliffe has a basketball court (pretty competitive in the summer months), tennis, a skatepark, and tons of places to sit and enjoy the view.

Granville Park

Right in the shadow of the Vancouver Lawn and Tennis Club, this peaceful park is just a few steps from South Granville. Tennis courts, benches, and a nice little lawn.

Granville Loop Park

This clever use of the space at the base of the Granville Bridge offers tennis courts, interesting public art, and nice, tucked-away pocket of green. It’s just down the hill from Spruce.

Queen Elizabeth Park

We all know this mini-mountain of a park. It’s a jewel in central Vancouver, and it’s only a ten-minute bike ride from Spruce. Tennis courts, basketball, pitch-and-putt golf, Frisbee golf, tai chi (with some real Chinese wizards), beautiful gardens, Bloedel Conservatory… There’s a lot to see here – including one of Vancouver’s most staggering views. A great afternoon on a sunny day.

Get outside and breathe. We’ll see you out there.


A PERFECT HOME FOR GOURMANDS

The culinary arts have seen a real popular surge in recent years. There are countless cooking shows on TV these days, showcasing everything from delicate foie gras to brawny Louisiana gumbo, from 100-mile diets to the farthest reaches of South Asian culinary traditions. More and more of us are experimenting in the kitchen with new ingredients, techniques, cuisines. We’re kitting out our kitchens with better and better tools. We’re honouring our kitchens – treating them less like a utilitarian space, and more like a fertile incubator of culinary creation.

This is a good thing: inspired cooking is a tremendous way to add some artistry to your home life, and show a little love to the people around you.

Spruce is the ideal home for budding gourmands.

Firstly, you’re surrounded by what is probably the largest concentration of high-quality culinary outlets in the city. Williams-Sonoma is the big one; it’s well known as the Vancouver source for everything new, classic, and inspiring for your kitchen universe. Cookworks, just around the corner on Broadway, is a slightly lower-priced alternative, and still offers a full range of high-quality kitchenware. Ming Wo has been around since 1917, and has been supplying the “best cookware to Canadian cooks” since the 60s. Need to upgrade your blades? Do it: it’s one of the most satisfying ways to enhance your kitchen experience. And House of Knives, at Granville near 10th, has a dizzying spread of some of the best knives and utensils on the market. For staples, sundries, and weird stuff for the home, Loonie Plus is always a fun visit. And when it comes time to put the finishing touches on your table, Atkinson’s has beautiful tablewear and linens, to grace your spread with style. There’s more – and we haven’t even covered all of the great grocery stores in the area – but you get the idea.

When you get what you need home to Spruce, the kitchen here welcomes you warmly. Everything in this space is smooth and seamless. You’ll put the cream and vegetables into your Blomberg fridge. You’ll toss a few cups and bowls into your fully integrated dishwasher. The dry goods – rice, spices, a few cans of coconut milk – will slide up into your custom rift-cut cabinets.

And you’re ready to begin. Place that new cutting board up onto the stone slab countertops, unwrap your new knives, and start to craft your masterpiece. Your 24” AEG cooktop will be steaming with exotic concoctions soon; the kitchen will be filled with rich aromas in a half an hour.

Spruce nurtures the epicurean in all of us. Everything you need is right here – in the surrounding area, and right here in your sweet new kitchen. Get excited.


BROADWAY REDUX

We all pass along Broadway at some time or another, of course. It’s a major artery in this city. It’s big, wide, and blustery, and we often move along this stretch without thinking much. We focus on one errand or another, paying attention to only the particular stops on our itinerary for the day.

But in the neighbourhood around Spruce, Broadway really does offer a lot – from big box stores to great little restaurants to outlets for everyday stuff. There’s character, and convenience here. And it’s all right around the corner.

We thought we’d collect some of the standout stops along this section of the thoroughfare, as a reminder of all the great stuff that’s right here.

Simply Computing – For you Macintosh acolytes out there, there are few better resources for repairs, advice, and supplies than Simply Computing. (The staff’s actually nice and personable, too.)

Denny’s – Let’s face it: a Grand Slam breakfast is called for once in a while. The nostalgic joy of Denny’s beckons here, housed in one of the old-school low-slung buildings. You’ll be here, one of these mornings. We know it.

Toys R Us – The kid in every single one of us lights up – just a little bit – every time we pass this place. Yes, a visit inside can make us feel a bit older, with all the weird toys kids like these days. But it’s also filled with awesome games, stuff like kites and paddleballs for the beach, and (obviously) plenty of gifts for the nephews and nieces in your life.

Future Shop – As big and impersonal as Future Shop is, it still has some of the best deals on electronics you’ll find anywhere, and a comprehensive selection. It’s nice to have one nearby, to kit out your new place with all the stereos, TVs, and DVDs you’ll need.

London Drugs & Shoppers – The London Drugs here recently moved to a new, renovated location, a little closer to Spruce. The Shoppers Drug Mart, meanwhile, is one of the few 24-hour stores in the city. When you’ve lived in a location where a drug store was not within walking distance – and you really needed something, um, right away – you know how crucial this is.

Pier 1 – After all these years, Pier 1 is still one of the greatest places to find wicker baskets, candles, tatamis, rugs, towels, unique soap dishes, fruit bowls, mirrors, little side tables, shoe racks, etc., etc.… at incredibly low prices.

Sleep Country – We know people who are really obsessive about their mattress. But truly, there is nothing more satisfying than finding that perfect firmness level – and waking up clear, fresh, and limber. Sleep Country is a great place to make that happen. (And living right here, delivery will be easy.)

Chongqing – Incredible dim sum, and some of the best Szechuan cuisine this side of Hong Kong. Chongquing is an institution in Vancouver, with a 24-year history. And it’s only about 24 steps away from Spruce.


CELEBRATE FEBRUARY! (WITH HUGE SAVINGS AT SPRUCE)

Sure, February is usually cold and dark. But this February, life in Vancouver will be very bright indeed.

There are so many reasons to celebrate. Chinese New Year rings in feasts, parties, and time with family. Valentines Day gives us the chance to show a little more cuddly love to the people in our lives.

And of course, the biggest winter sports event on the planet will be in town.

Vancouver will be positively humming with life this February.

To join in the celebrations, we’re offering $20,010 off* Spruce’s beautiful, perfectly positioned boutique homes. What better way to celebrate life in this city?

But remember: February will be over before you know it – and when it ends, so does this offer. There has never been a better time to move on a new home at Spruce.

So don’t hold back. Get in here, and find out more about why this momentous February is the perfect time to start your life here at Spruce!

*Limited time offer. Speak to your sales representative for details.