Home buyer Yun Zhu talks with builder Maurice Wager, president of Collecdev, at the site where new condo project Westwood Gardens will be built. (credit: Toronto Star)
Yun Zhu has had it with rush-hour traffic.
The 29-year-old HVAC designer has wanted a place of her own for years while commuting to work in Richmond Hill from her rented home in East York — and occasionally from her parents’ place in Innisfil after a weekend visit.
And while the perks of living in the city served her well in her 20s, Zhu is eager to say goodbye to one aggravating factor: the commute.*
But, for Zhu, it’s the beginning of an end to commuting, and also the start of her new venture as homeowner.
She will move into the Westwood Gardens development in Richmond Hill, set for occupancy in 2020. The new project, by builder Collecdev, will feature two towers of 18* storeys near Hwy. 407 and Yonge St. As well, it’s close to the Richmond Hill GO train and bus station.
It’s not just the short commute that attracted Zhu; her career and professional interests were also drawn to the development’s geothermal heating and cooling system, by Diverso Energy.
“It’s very sustainable,” says Zhu. Her work designing HVAC systems is for large-scale commercial projects, which can’t efficiently use geothermal systems meant for smaller residential developments — like Westwood Gardens — and individual homes.
The underground system uses polyethylene pipes to harness energy from below ground to heat in winter, and return heat to the ground for cooling in summer.
Geothermal systems, while not new, are part of Collecdev’s mission to create a sustainable community.
“We thought, really, it’s our responsibility as city builders,” says the company’s president, Maurice Wager. “The geothermal system reduces the carbon footprint of the building by over 70 per cent than if the same building were to be designed with a conventional heating and cooling system.”
The system will have great benefit to residents like Zhu as well, he says.
“The condo fee will actually remain quite stable and even reduce over time,” he says, also noting that the “noise pollution” will go down by eliminating the typical rooftop system of many developments.
The heating and cooling system is not the only eco-friendly project at Westwood Gardens, which will also include a rainwater car wash station. Slightly larger than a traditional parking spot, the station will use water collected from roofs, terraces and any areas on the ground floor where there is no vehicular traffic.
The car wash is one of the many features that will be shared between the two Westwood Gardens towers and is among the amenities designed by Tomas Pearce Interior Design.
“The first thing that came to mind in conversation with Collecdev was they very much want to build a community,” says Brian Woodrow, of Tomas Pearce design.
“It’s a lovely amenities building. The watch-word is ‘community’ and ‘community interaction,’ ” says Woodrow.
In the east tower, interior design at the entrance will see wood-timber features, steel accents at the concierge desk and an artwork gallery. A fitness “program” on the tower’s main floor includes a basketball half-court, weightlifting gym, and a co-ed sauna. On the eighth floor, plans call for a “multipurpose lounge” with kitchenette*.
The west tower will continue the design style of the east, but with a more “hotel-like” feel, says Woodrow. A tech lounge will offer residents a place to gather for conversation, business meetings and connect to Wi-Fi. The adjacent media lounge with a large theatre screen provides an opportunity to watch live events. The fitness program in the west tower is cardio-focused with treadmills, stationary bikes, and a yoga studio.
It’s a development that Collecdev president Wager hopes will be the foundation that residents will truly build upon to create their homes.
“We’re looking to build a community that is really a family-oriented community. The majority of our project is focused around two-bedroom and three-bedroom units that allow for the spaces to be livable,” he says.
That livable design also attracted Zhu, though she will be living in a smaller 690-square-foot, one-bedroom suite.
“They use all the space, they don’t waste,” says Zhu, whose new home costs around $500,000. And though the building won’t be completed for about 2-1/2 years, Zhu says she’s glad to have the time to prepare.
“It’s good for me. I don’t have much money right now to purchase a condo that is already built,” she says. She is paying the deposit for her condo on a payment plan.
But location-location-location is top of mind for Zhu right now as she makes the morning commute through rush-hour traffic to work — and her future neighbourhood — in Richmond Hill.
*Article has been modified since original published article in Toronto Star.
Source: Toronto Star