By Alison Taylor
Local photographer Scott Brammer wasn’t convinced The Lofts was the best employee housing project for him and his girlfriend.
The three-storey building was in Function Junction, at the north end of the industrial park, and it wasn’t an ideal location.
But when he came to the open house earlier this month and saw the building, he liked what he saw. And in the end, he couldn’t beat the price.
“For a place in Spring Creek I think you’re paying about $60,000 to $80,000 more for the same square footage and it just seemed to make way more sense,” said Brammer, who bought his first home Tuesday.
“A lot of our friends have moved down to Squamish or they’re living in Pemberton and I don’t want to commute 45 minutes. That’s why I moved to Whistler, so I don’t have to commute like that.”
He now owns a two-bedroom top floor apartment with south facing views. It’s a spacious 1,200 square feet unit and cost $239,000.
Whistler Housing Authority general manager Marla Zucht said the 30-unit building is one of the best deals in town, built at $192 per square foot.
“It’s really affordable units, probably the most affordable purchase opportunity in Whistler, and likely to be,” she said.
Twenty-eight units in the building sold Tuesday. Zucht is confident the remaining two will sell as well once they are offered to others on the waitlist.
“We’re still pretty excited about that,” she said.
She knew the location would play a factor, as well as the size of the units. These may not be the homes for waitlisters with a family. But for others it’s a great stepping-stone, she said.
The major drawback to the units is that there is no bus service to the north end of Function Junction.
Brammer raised concerns about the walk along the roads where there are no streetlights or sidewalks.
“They really do need the bus coming down here,” he said.
Whistler Transit is aware of the issue.
The new owners will move in June 1-15.
The Lofts is the second project sold by the WHA in just over a year, coming on the heels of the 44 Nita Lake townhouses, sold in March 2006.
It will make a small dent in the 630-strong employee housing waitlist.
“There’s no sign of it slowing down,” said Zucht.
Two significant projects are also on the horizon. The Rainbow subdivision, with more than 200 units of employee housing, is expected to come before council for final approval in May. The athletes’ village housing will be sold after the 2010 Games.