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In the late 1990s city planners in North Vancouver noticed two things: first, a vast swath of the shipyards next to Lonsdale Quay had gone into receivership; second, the city actually owned a large parcel of the water on that shore (surprising, given that the federal government owns almost all water lots). The three-phase waterfront project that’s only now coming to fruition is the single largest act of urban planning North Van has attempted. Among the parks and public plazas are homes for about 2,000 people. It’s all part of a massive shift in Lower Lonsdale, where all sorts of 30-somethings are rushing into fresh-built condos and SeaBussing to downtown jobs in less time than it would take to drive from, say, Kitsilano. It’s not all sunny on the North Shore, though: the $70-million-plus budget for a National Maritime Centre—on those same retired shipyards—has fallen through after promised funds from the provincial government were de-promised. Instead, a private-public partnership will likely be struck with PCI, the real-estate developer that also won the contract to install shops at the new Convention Centre. In lieu of a maritime museum, those PCI shops are meant to subsidize some as-yet-unknown cultural amenity. Upshot: North Van is quietly coming of age.
THE BUYER | Miles Walker, Sales Director
Walker, 29, England-born and North Van- raised, has returned to his roots, having moved back from Toronto this spring. This Lower Lonsdale apartment offered easy access to his loves: sailing, scuba, and dining.
Jane Avall of Royal LePage North Shore
It pays to have connections: Walker’s realtor (the mom of a high-school buddy) was able to view the place before it went on the market, side-stepping a bidding war. When he found this condo—after inspecting 10 other places in the area—he was quick to pounce.
THE HOME | 155 East 3rd Street, $391,000
780 square feet sit at the top of a four-storey with views of the Lions and the North Shore Mountains. Skylights and vaulted ceilings accent an open-concept design. The master has views of the Cascades and an ensuite bath. (Most two-bedrooms in the area have only one bath.)
The foodie stalls of Lonsdale Quay are a three-block walk, and the surrounding neighbourhood is free of both cookie-cutter chains and industrial malls. A 12-minute SeaBus crossing to downtown is easy (and picturesque), and the connecting Canada Line gets Walker smoothly to YVR for his frequent business trips abroad. VM
To get an in-depth look at other promising areas, check out our You Are Here section. Some of them include Richmond, White Rock, Mount Pleasant, and the UniverCity.