(Left to Right) Derek Nzeribe, Milborne Real Estate and Natan Ary, Greatwise Developments
With a grand opening scheduled for Sunday, October 1st, Greatwise Developments is gearing up to launch its newest development in the west end of Ottawa. Located at 2795 Baseline Road, Fresh Towns boasts modern architecture by Roderick Lahey Architect Inc., vibrant interiors by West of Main and a sought-after location close to major shopping centres, restaurants, parks and schools.
The Toronto-based developer has extensive experience in the Ottawa real estate market and has built several successful projects over the past three decades. These projects include unique townhome conversions, mid-rise condo apartments and one and two bedroom condominium and terrace homes in nearby Qualicum Woods Crossing.
To learn more about Fresh Towns, we caught up with Natan Ary, Vice President of Development at Greatwise Developments and Derek Nzeribe, Head of Sales and Marketing and Managing Director in Ottawa for Milborne Real Estate.
BuzzBuzzNews: Tell us a little about yourselves and your roles within Greatwise Developments.
Derek Nzeribe: I'm the Managing Director for Milborne Real Estate here in Ottawa. We provide customized real estate sales solutions for residential developers. We've partnered with Greatwise Developments to market their Fresh Towns project and we're the exclusive sales and marketing brokerage handling the sales at that site.
Natan Ary: I joined the company in 2011. As Vice President of Real Estate Development at Greatwise Developments I lead our operations in our Toronto and Ottawa projects and ensure that they conform to our vision and commitment to cutting-edge architecture, design and ethical building practices.
BBN: When was Greatwise Developments started and what do you think sets the company apart from other developers?
NA: We started in 1984. First of all, the company really focuses on our values of ethical practices, intelligent and sustainable design, and unparalleled customer satisfaction. This is what drives us. We build communities that take into consideration the current existing environment. We try to minimize the effects on the surroundings and ensure that they blend well with what's happening in nearby neighbourhoods.
DN: I would describe it as a non-invasive approach to development. It's different from the other builders because they really take the time to understand who the clientele is, understand the landscape of what they're entering into, and approach it from a smaller scale when looking at developments. Greatwise really looks at what the consumer is looking for and what they're going to resonate with. For example, during the concept phase of Fresh Towns, we used online surveys to gain valuable insight into what buyers are looking for in their new homes. So it's almost like a bespoke boutique concept.
BBN: Your parent company, G&S Group of Companies’ is based in Toronto, however many of your projects are located in Ottawa. Why focus on that area in particular?
NA: We've been in Ottawa for the last 30 years and there's a number of reasons that we've focused on the city. Ottawa was recently rated as the number one place to live in Canada by MoneySense magazine. It's a very stable city with the federal government as a major employer, it has a low unemployment rate and high median incomes. Ottawa also has a strong tech hub, thriving cultural scene and it's still very affordable.
DN: Ottawa has a very interesting landscape in terms of city size and population dynamic. It has everything that a big city would require but it also has the conveniences of a small city. I think it meets the best of both worlds and makes for an interesting development landscape in terms of how everything is laid out.
BBN: Can you describe some of your earlier projects in the Greater Ottawa Area? Which neighbourhoods were they in?
NA: We recently finished a mid-rise condo development called Qualicum Woods Crossing (Phase 1) which is beside our new Fresh Towns project. In the area of Alta Vista, we did a 14-storey condo and then we also have a beautiful future development there with two towers overlooking NCC lands.
We've also done a number of conversion projects including 600 townhomes at the corner of Baseline Road and Greenbank Road. We did extensive interior and exterior renovations to modernize them and converted them from residential rentals into ownership.
BBN: Your latest development, Fresh Towns, brings you back to the west end of Ottawa near your Qualicum Woods Crossing project. What do you think makes this neighbourhood so attractive?
DN: That neighbourhood is located in the west end of Ottawa. It has easy highway access to both the 416 and 417. It's closer to the city centre than Barrhaven or Kanata, there are hospitals close by as well as shopping at the newly expanded Bayshore Shopping Centre. It also has easy access to the new Department of National Defence (DND) headquarters at Carling Avenue and Moodie Drive so it offers a great opportunity for DND employees to move close to the main campus.
BBN: Looking at the renderings, the homes have a very modern aesthetic with integrated garages, large windows and a mix of natural materials. Which architecture firm did you work with and what was the inspiration for the design?
DN: Roderick Lahey was the architect. During the design phase we had a lot of discussion on where the market is going. We looked at the neighbourhood of Westboro which has been a really popular destination for homebuyers. You see a lot of those really cool semis with three storeys and rooftop terraces. A lot of people really like them but the price point to be able to afford something like that in Westboro is quite significant.
With Fresh Towns what we're able to do is create a similar type of product -- something that perhaps isn't a 3,000 square foot semi detached home -- but is something that still has the look and feel of that urban environment without the $900,000 price tag. So it really brings some of the urban design, vibe and feel into a much more affordable price point.
BBN: The community will feature both traditionally configured and rooftop towns. Can you describe what the layouts are like and the range in square feet? How large are the rooftop terraces?
DN: The rooftop towns are going to be three-storey towns with rooftop access and rooftop living areas. They range in size from just over 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet with two to three bedrooms and single or double-car garages. The rooftop terraces vary in size but all offer plenty of space for outdoor living so there's room for patio sets, barbecues and outdoor dining.
The outdoor space on these homes are really geared towards people who are looking to have more of a simple lifestyle. They don't want to have to deal with mowing the lawn or yard maintenance so they have the outdoor space that gives that urban vibe but they still have the flexibility of having a spacious townhome.
The traditional townhomes are for those looking for more of a traditional home with a backyard. These are also three storey towns that range in size from just under 1,100 square feet to just over 1,600 square feet. So you have a good size range with open floorplans and two to three bedrooms, but in that more traditional layout with a backyard and front garage.
BBN: Tell us about the interiors. Did you work with a local interior design firm? What type of interior finishes can prospective homebuyers expect?
DN: We worked with a local interior design firm called West of Main. They're a local firm that's been shaking up the city with some interesting design concepts and a modern, trendy approach to interior design.
What we've tried to focus on is giving people quality finishes that they expect to see in a property like this. There's very little for people to have to upgrade with standard finishes like nine foot ceilings on the main level, kitchens with beautiful cabinetry options, quartz countertops, hardwood flooring, ceramic tile, stainless steel appliances etc.
We have four different packages that people can choose from and they can design within those packages with customization options. But with these packages we've really done the work for them so they can simply choose one of the packages with colours and finishes that have already been professional selected and curated by a leading interior designer.
BBN: What’s next for Greatwise in Ottawa? Are there any other areas you’d like to develop or upcoming projects that you can share?
DN: We have more land available in the Qualicum neighbourhood so we're looking forward to launching more projects in that area.
NA: I think the area where Fresh Towns is located provides a unique opportunity because the next phase will be more of a condo mid-rise with a combination of exciting commercial developments.
We're really focusing on the west end because there's so much demand there and the appreciation in home values is strong. We strive to create value for our purchasers, and with real estate being the most important purchase that someone will make in their life, we want to provide homebuyers with something that will appreciate and be an asset for them in the long run.
For more information on Fresh Towns and to register for the upcoming grand opening, visit FreshTowns.ca