A post-pandemic focus on “wellness” in buildings and amenities
June 10, 2021
Working from home, moving away from the city, getting a puppy — after the last year there have been many new lifestyle trends that have affected what we want from our homes. One of the most evident has been the inclination towards “wellness,” which makes sense when you think of it as the opposite of “sickness.” But what does “wellness” actually mean in terms of your home, your community and the amenities in a multi-family building?
Lorne Segal, President of Kingswood Properties in Vancouver, explains, “It’s no longer enough that having an amenity room with a fridge, stove and space large enough for a small birthday party is sufficient or compelling to buyers. As needs and wants in the market expand and shift, it’s important for community builders to develop amenity packages and spaces that contribute meaningfully to wellness in all of its forms, including: health, activation, excitement, gathering, relaxation — and sustainability.”
Belford Properties in Vancouver has envisioned a whole collection of residential projects built around the principal of wellness. Revive is the first of four communities within Belford Properties’ Wellness Collection, founded on the belief that wellness matters and true fulfilment is rooted in the home. “Revive is the first and only cold-formed steel-frame townhome development in Vancouver,” says Jacky Chan, president of BakerWest Real Estate, adding that the air conditioning and filtration system in every suite is the highest residential grade available. Revive also has robust water purification systems. Each unit has filtered water throughout — even in the showers — plus a four-stage filter for drinking water.
For Concord Pacific, a company with properties across Canada, wellness means cleaner, more efficient air filtration, and safer communal spaces, which they have called “Biospace principles”. As more people are working from home, and more conscious about their health since the pandemic, Biospace in Concord Metrotown (and all of their future projects) features air filtration, touchless entries, Smart home automation system and 100% EV Parking. Foster Martin in sunny White Rock has a master plan which includes White Rock Commons: a welcoming and tranquil public plaza linking the three towers, with 57,000 square feet of offices and retailers with a focus on health and wellness. Coming soon to West Coquitlam, Jinju is a new community of elegant one- to three-bedroom concrete homes from Anthem, where wellness lays the foundation for the curated collection of amenity spaces designed to set a tone of balance and sanctuary.
In terms of amenities, wellness can mean anything from exercise to relaxation to meditation. Gryphon House, in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood of Vancouver, goes a step further, with the help of a “Royal Curator” to connect residents with physical training and spa therapy, they can schedule an infrared sauna experience through their in-house smart home system. Recognizing health and wellness as a significant component of the art of living, Gryphon House includes an elaborate list of wellness amenities including a two-level gym, a private massage room and an expansive outdoor patio.
Back at Concord Metrotown, Sky Park will soon be home to the Lower Mainland’s most astonishing collection of amenities, including private gardens, indoor and outdoor amenities, and three carefully-curated ‘spheres’ circled by a 400-metre running loop. The Wellness Sphere has an iconic conservatory, outdoor sports court, pet spa, dog park, yoga lawn and a state-of- the-art fitness centre. Bosa’s Central Park House in Burnaby features a multi-level amenity pavilion overlooking Central Park providing an environment of rest and retreat. Thoughtfully designed, the amenities include an exclusive wellness room, equipped for yoga, meditation, and barre ballet. There’s also a heated lap pool and hot tub surrounded by comfortable seating areas, and a fully-equipped fitness centre complete with state-of-the-art equipment.
Kingswood’s newest project, Redbridge, is a multi-phase master-planned condo and townhome community in Squamish, with an exciting amenity building called Base Camp™. “Wellness is central to the experience at Redbridge,” says Lorne Segal. Base Camp is a 20,000-plus square foot facility focused on health, wellness, creativity and sustainability,and includes a yoga studio; Zen garden; co-working office space, games room, infrared red-light therapy room, sunset terrace, outdoor kitchen, chef’s kitchen, great room, gear maintenance room, a Scandinavian Spa that rivals the best offerings in Vancouver and Whistler — and Canada’s first Eco-Movement Lab™ fitness centre. “Our trademarked fitness centre will have zero emissions impact on the environment. In particular, the treadmills in the space, when in use, will contribute power to the facility. We feel that Base Camp represents the ideal amenity package for a community like Squamish that is rooted in adventure, health and nature”.
Sometimes wellness is about getting outside, whether it’s hitting the beach or the trails, or having direct access to healthy local food. “Contrasting the typical amenities of gyms, pools and rec rooms offered by many buildings and complexes, Southlands offers natural, community-based amenities,” says Century Group’s Sean Hodgins. “Allotment gardens, a volunteer-run flower garden, bike paths and electric bike rentals, an outdoor seasonal farmers market with fresh, local produce — these encourage people to spend time outdoors and connect with one another.” Southlands also features plenty of green space and access to Boundary Bay. As walkability is at the core of Southlands, walking and cycling connect the community to Boundary Bay, Centennial Beach and downtown Tsawwassen, “making it easy for residents to incorporate fresh air and healthy outdoor recreational activities into their lifestyle.”
It’s clear the concept of wellness can have many forms, and people can choose the interpretation that makes the most sense for themselves and their homes. It’s good to see that local developers are listening and responsive to the needs of homebuyers, and hopefully this will lead to healthier and happier communities going into the future.
About Stephanie MacDonald
Stephanie MacDonald is the Editor-at-Large for New Home + Condo Guide Vancouver.