Vancouver Sun: North Shore residents find right fit at Mill House Lynn Valley

Under: Advice for Buyers, Downsizing, New Homes, Pre Sale


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Written on December 15th, 2014

The Personal Gear Garage at Mill House in Lynn Valley is perfect for storing all your stuff.

The Personal Gear Garage at Mill House in Lynn Valley is perfect for storing all your stuff.

For Ken and Shirley McKeen, who have lived in the same three-bedroom home in North Vancouver for 46 years, downsizing to a Mill House condominium offered the best of all worlds.

It kept them within easy reach of their two children and their families in North Vancouver. It allowed them to maintain their cherished habits, like going for coffee with friends or hiking every morning in Lynn Valley.

And it freed them of the toil of maintaining a large yard and the dreaded “H” word.

“The yard is now too big for us to manage and we don’t anticipate it becoming any easier as we get older,” said Shirley, adding with a laugh, “housework is not my favourite occupation.”

“We have been talking about downsizing, knowing we have to do it, and this has been instrumental in moving to Mill House,” she said.

It didn’t hurt that Ken had a good working knowledge about both the developer and the site, close to the new Lynn Valley town centre.

He sits on the building committee of Lynn Valley United Church, which is working with Marcon Developments on both the construction of the 75 condominium homes and a new church on the property.

“I was a structural engineer (by training),” said Ken, now retired. “I worked for the B.C. forest industry in market development and my career was all about introducing this kind of construction in Europe and Japan.

“I am very familiar with construction and construction detail,” he continues, “and I am very impressed with what I see here. The quality of construction is very good. I am very impressed with what Mill House is going to be, or else I wouldn’t be buying here.”

The McKeens bought a two-bedroom-and-den home on the southeast corner of the fourth floor, which they say will give them lots of natural light and a view of Mount Seymour.

Sales manager Wendy Pirie, also a longtime North Shore resident, said the McKeens are typical of the downsizers she has seen register on the Mill House website or come in the showroom door.

“These people are in their 70s and 80s and they are saying they need to move and downsize,” she said. But instead of downsizing being a negative, they are excited because they don’t have to move out of their neighbourhood. “These people are active hikers and bikers and they’ve got the mountains and trails and Lynn Canyon, plus they have all the amenities of Lynn Valley shopping centre, Karen Magnuson community centre, the library and public transportation.”

Pirie points out that the high walk score of 93 — a 100-point rating system assigned to developments based on proximity to various amenities — puts Mill House on par with many downtown Vancouver residential developments.

Bryce Rositch, whose architecture firm Rositch Hemphill designed Mill House, said in an email that the style is one he calls “North Shore contemporary” with stone and cedar exteriors, large balconies and generous roof overhangs.

“It’s a new era for Lynn Valley, but very appropriate to its setting.”

He noted the site is on two tree-lined streets and backs on to a protected creek and forest on the third side.

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