Residents move in to new UniverCity

October 21, 2004, vol. 31, no. 4
By Diane Luckow



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After nine years of planning and development, UniverCity will finally come to life this month and into the new year as the first residents move into 585 completed condominiums and rental apartments.

Nearly all sold at prices never before achieved in Burnaby, according to Michael Geller, president and CEO of the SFU Community Trust, which orchestrated the entire community. Sale prices ranged from $114,000 to more than $700,000 for the first homes.

Already, there are 64 households renting the 115-unit, five-storey Cornerstone building. Its 23 retail units will soon include a food market, pharmacy, butcher, bakery, café, optician, drycleaner, restaurants and a proposed neighbourhood pub.

A planned elementary school in the university's East Annex building is slated to open in 2006 or 2007, while another 350 market townhouses and apartments will be started later this year.

By summer 2005, Geller expects more than 1,000 residents will have moved into the first neighbourhood.

Transportation is a major theme for the community. A community transit pass is under consideration and the SFU community trust is initiating a car co-op with the gift of a hybrid electric vehicle. New parking meters will be installed by the city of Burnaby to ensure that parking is available for residents and visitors and not usurped by students.

Of great interest to SFU staff and faculty is the new non-market housing now under discussion. “We're planning for a low-rise townhouse and stacked townhouse development targeted to SFU faculty and staff,” says Geller. “Right now, we're trying to identify those who might be interested.”

He says the affordable project adjacent to the school and park sites will feature purchase prices about 25 per cent below what developers will be charging. However, he notes, re-sale controls will be established to ensure that the housing remains affordable for decades to come.

Units will be sold only to owner-occupiers, although some rental units may be offered.

“We're expecting a big demand so units will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis,” he says. He urges anyone interested to contact Rachel Forbes, 604-268-6649 for priority registration.

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