Diane Delves is the President and CEO of Quantum Properties Inc., developing properties and constructing multi-family residential and commercial buildings since 2000. She has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate sector including sales, appraisal, management, and development. The Quantum Properties group includes Quantum Properties Construction, which builds the group’s low-rise condominium and office buildings, and Quantum Realty, the sales, marketing and property management division for all Quantum projects. Here is what she had to say:
David Allison: Many middle-income Boomers are reluctantly moving to a condo/apartment that is smaller than the house in the suburbs they’ve left behind. Instead of leafy green streets they are surrounded by dense urban environments. What can we do/plan/change/build/ invent to make them feel at home?
Diane Delves: In our experience, downsizing Boomers still desire a nice peaceful community feeling even when moving into a high-density urban development. Thus, location is all-important. Vancouver has done an exceptional job of creating attractive, walkable communities in high-density neighborhoods. Oddly, we don’t find that this desire for community extends to the inside of the buildings. Price-sensitive Boomers don’t really want to pay for extravagant common area features that they will rarely use. Lower strata fees are much more desirable.
As many Boomers are also looking to downsize in price, maximizing the use of space is essential. Perhaps developers should take a cue from cruise ship designers and be more creative in filling every nook and cranny with storage. Think: overheight cabinets; built in wardrobes; storage over, under and beside the bed. However – don’t take away our laundry rooms! This is one area where Boomers still want a bit of space.
Flexible design with movable walls can also enhance the livability of smaller homes. In short, give the Boomers maximum utility at the best price and in the best neighbourhood!