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Housing starts dropped in Coquitlam last year but still strong
Coquitlam may have seen a drop in housing starts last year but you wouldn’t know it by all the cranes towering over the city skyline.
A city report released this week showed there was a drop in both housing starts and housing under construction in 2013 as well as a slight decline in building permit values for the year.
But community planning manager Carl Johannsen said while construction may have taken a bit of a breather for a few months last year, overall residential construction is booming in the city, especially in the Town Centre and Burquitlam areas — both of which will be touched by the Evergreen Line.
“Were not sure in terms of 2014 but we are off to a strong start,” Johannsen said, pointing to the launch this week of Bosa Properties’ Uptown development.
Bosa is ready to roll out two towers with 451 homes at 581 Clarke Rd., just steps away from the Evergreen Line, now prominently under construction in the neighbourhood.
“The inventory of new condos is low,” said Daryl Simpson, senior vice-president of Bosa Properties, forecasting strong pre-sales for the project, which will start construction this summer, with completion set for 2016 when the new SkyTrain line opens for commuters.
“We feel pretty good. We’re in a good position,” he said.
Johannsen said Bosa’s confidence is in keeping with overall trends in the city, which has seen record-setting construction over the last three years; and despite this year’s slight drop, construction is still significantly higher than before the recession of 2008.
Besides Burquitlam, where Evergreen is spurring development, Coquitlam is seeing strong interest in the Town Centre, where four major highrise projects are under construction, including MThree by Cressey, Evergreen by Bosa, Intergulf’s Grand Central 3 and 1123 Westwood St. by Onni.
“In the longer term, prospects are good. Coquitlam over the past year or so has been the fastest growing municipality in the Lower Mainland,” Johannsen said, adding that with the coming of the Evergreen Line and buildings coming on stream in anticipation of rapid transit, the city is no longer a suburban bedroom community.
“It’s become a dynamic regional centre.”
Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain area saw 1,063 development and building applications valued at $122.9 million last year, with 535 new residential units created. The province is also selling its land in the area.
One permit was issued for Meridian Corner, a professional and retail building now under construction at the corner of David Avenue and Coast Meridian Road.
Wesbild’s director of marketing, Jenn Derbyshire, said the project will be anchored by a TD Bank and a Shoppers Drug Mart, with office space for a medical clinic or physicians.
“We have had a lot of residents tell us they would love to have a doctor close to home or a walk-in clinic,” Derbyshire said.
She expects 2014 to be a “planning year” for Wesbild, which has property in the Partington Creek neighbourhood plan as well as The Foothills at Burke Mountain.