UniverCity, a well thought out community development atop of Burnaby Mountain founded on “Four Cornerstones of Sustainability, Environment, Economy and Education, has set the stage for growth over the next 10 years.
Exciting developments lie ahead for UniverCity and current and future residents. Before entering a meeting last week with Jonathan Tinney, Director of Community Development for Simon Fraser Community Trust, I was already an advocate of UniverCity. What’s not to love? Beautiful, lush surroundings; incredible views; contemporary building designs; a true community feel, the sense that you are away from everything but only 20 minutes to Downtown Vancouver! UniverCity is a worthy consideration for anyone looking to live in Burnaby.
However, during my meeting with Mr. Tinney, my appreciation for the potential this Community has to offer grew deeper than before. Think of the potential. Currently there are 3000+ residents. This will grow to roughly 3200 in the next few years. Plans are already in motion to grow this further to roughly 10,000 residents over the next 10+ years. Take into consideration that SFU has roughly 25,000 students currently enrolled and the “CITY” in UniverCity really does have meaning. New building bylaws are some of the most stringent in all of North America, yet attainable from a developer’s stand point. With eventual plans for implementing renewable energy sources and striving to become carbon neutral, UniverCity stands to become one of the most environmentally friendly communities around.
The benefits to residents and frankly potential small business owners are many. The cost of real estate in the area is rather affordable. Based on MLS data of sales for this year only, the average cost per square foot is approximately $419. Given the oldest residential buildings are about 5 years old, this is a very attractive number. Compared to similar criteria for all of Burnaby North, the average cost per square foot sits about $456. Take into consideration that if you are a transit user the savings for a monthly pass are almost $130 per month and all new buildings are so energy efficient that your monthly utilities cost should be lower, the total cost of ownership in the UniverCity area starts to make more and more sense.
From a small business owners perspective, what more could one ask for? The biggest concern with any business is how to draw customers in the door. With 3000+ residents already living in the area and plans to grow this further, there should be plenty of foot traffic to generate sales. With the introduction of Nesters and the new elementary school, residents have more reason to stay on the mountain. This increases consumer demand for amenities on top of the hill. Although there is limited commercial space available now, Mr. Tinney has explained there are plans to grow the commercial spaces in the coming years.
The future looks very bright for UniverCity.
Highlights of my meeting with Jonathan Tinney, Director, Community Development for Simon Fraser Community Trust
- Currently 3000 residents to grow to 10,000 in potentially 10+ years
- Two new residential buildings currently in pre-sales stage
- 12 storey concrete tower anticipated to be announced in 2011
- Transit monthly pass has not increased in price and sits at roughly $30 per month for a 3 zone
- Co-Op car share program currently has 2 cars with plans to grow that to 10 as demand increases
- On-going discussions with various stake holders regarding potential renewable energy solutions
- Transit Gondola idea moving to feasibility study stage