Soaring 48 levels into the air, MThree will be an imposing structure that will dominate Coquitlam’s downtown. But what is proving even more impressive for those buying suites in the residential tower is a striking rooftop amenity that will be built in space traditionally reserved for multimillion-dollar penthouses.
The aptly named Summit Club atop the 421-foot-high tower will give residents a stunning 360-degree view of mountains, lakes and the distant lights of Vancouver. The 9,000-square-foot “clubhouse in the sky” will be equipped with state-of-the-art fitness facilities, games room, sound-insulated music room and garden atrium with three trees rising into the 35-foot-high space.
It was what ultimately sold Leighton Wickey, who has bought an 11th-floor two-bedroom 857-square-foot unit with a 100-square-foot balcony that gives him an unimpeded northeast view.
“One of the things that attracted me to the building was the fact that they had designed their community space on the roof,” said the Eagle Ridge Hospital lab technologist. “If I wake up one morning and want to get a nice view of the sunrise, I can just head on to the top. Or I can have dinner with friends on the rooftop patio on the west side of the building when the sun is setting.”
Building such a feature at the top of a tower is relatively unusual, said architect Keith Hemphill. It was possible because of the piecemeal fashion in which the land was assembled and the way the density allowances were apportioned to the three towers on the three-acre site.
As the last of the three towers, MThree was able to absorb the unused density from the first two buildings, permitting a structure almost twice as tall as the 27-storey MOne, completed last year, and the 25-storey MTwo, which is under construction.
The greater density also meant the cost of constructing the Summit Club could be apportioned over a larger number of suites.
A residents-only amenity wasn’t the first idea for the space, Hemphill said. “Because of the height of the building, we tried to talk the client into having some commercial space at the top of the tower — along the lines of a restaurant — to allow the public to get the benefit of being able to get up high in their city.” In the end, Cressey favoured building a facility for the use of the tower’s residents.
Project architect Nadia Said noted that building an amenity roof deck entirely open to the elements wasn’t practical with the region’s weather, but still left room for a design that combined some open-air exposure with other mixed uses to capitalize on the panoramic views.
“We thought about having a space that gives the residents the outdoor experience but one that is controlled environmentally so that when you go up there you feel you are kind of outdoors but you can stay up there for a longer period of time and enjoy the views,” she said.
What evolved at the top was a space built almost entirely of glass, which allows an abundance of natural light to flood the interior spaces.
About a fifth of the rooftop is dedicated to the open air, including a wraparound deck with patio furniture and barbecues for warm summer evenings.
On level 47 of the triple-height interior space are an entertainment lounge with live music from a baby grand piano, a fresh food preparation area and communal dining table, a fully equipped games room with foosball, table tennis and pool table, plus an oversized couch and flatscreen TV.
Overlooking all from level 48 is a weights room, yoga studio, cardio room, bathroom facilities and insulated music room with piano. The club’s piece de resistance is the garden atrium. Ceilings that rise more than 30 feet allow for the placement of three mature trees with a leafy canopy that will give residents “the feel of a small park in the West End” minus the wind and rain.
Attached to this area is a second open-air patio area and yet another special feature that Hemphill calls the “sky deck.”
Equipped with a glass floor, the deck projects beyond the outside edge of the building, allowing residents to gaze straight down to the street below. Hemphill, who credits Said for coming up with the novel feature, said: “It gives people a cool destination to take their friends to.” The building also is made distinctive by stained glass walls on the atrium that carry the tree theme within to the building’s exterior, something that helps to differentiate MThree from a cluster of towers that have sprouted up around Coquitlam Centre in recent years. “We wanted to make it a highly visible landmark building in the city,” Said noted.
Jason Turcotte, MThree’s development manager, says he has no doubt the Summit Club will be popular with residents. “I had an opportunity to visit the rooftop amenity at the Woodward’s building and I was impressed how well used it was.”
Competing with MThree’s attractive features is its proximity to SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line and the West Coast Express. SkyTrain’s Lincoln Station is planned for just steps away from the building’s lobby and, like MThree, is scheduled for completion in 2016.
“We had lots of experience building in Richmond before the Canada Line came and we saw its impact on real estate values.” said Hani Lammam, Cressey’s vice-president of acquisitions and development. “We were there in the thick of it as it got announced, as it started construction, and we watched the escalating prices.”
The presentation centre, now open to the public, features a two-bedroom 809-square-foot suite, scale models of the project, photos of other Cressey projects and a large screening room that shows a computerized video of the Summit Club facilities.
True to Cressey’s approach in its numerous other developments, is the kitchen in MThree, a design feature that truly does create a greater sense of space.
“This is what we are known for and this is why buyers come back again and again,” Lammam said. “We draw our own unit plans; first we draw the kitchen and then we draw the rest of the unit.”
The essence of the kitchen concept is that it breaks up the kitchen’s components and distributes them on two sides of an entry corridor. On one side is a U-shaped configuration with a five-burner gas cooktop with oversized wok burner, a double-bowl undermount.
Kohler sink with built-in disposal unit and an integrated Blomberg dishwasher. Across the corridor on an adjacent wall are a fully integrated 48-inch Blomberg refrigerator, Panasonic microwave and Fulgor Milano wall oven. Counters are quartz composite with a complementary glass backsplash. Rounding out the package is an under-the-counter wine fridge that conveniently faces out to the dining area.
“Virtually everything you see here is standard,” Turcotte said. “We don’t want to confuse the offering.”
In keeping with the European flavour, there are no carpets in the suites: contemporary wide plank laminate is featured throughout the home, except in the bathrooms which have heated handset tile flooring.
The main bedroom in all suites is at least 11 feet wide, enough to accommodate a king-sized bed and night tables. The master ensuite bathroom is equipped with premium Kohler feature and has both a deep soaker tub and a frameless glass-walled shower, and paired undermount sinks.
All units have outside decks, ranging from 47 to 350 square feet. A bank of four elevators will serve the residents, which Turcotte says is one more than the usual for a residential tower.
MThree residents are within walking distance of some of the city’s best resources, including an aquatic complex and community centre, several parks, Lafarge Lake, playing fields, tennis courts, and walking trails. Coquitlam Centre shopping, ranked second only to Metrotown, is next door with major tenants such as Save-On-Foods, Safeway, TNT, a pending Target store and The Bay. The tower is also within easy distance of five elementary and secondary schools and Douglas College’s David Lam campus.
Each suite gets one parking stall, and storage lockers can be purchased for between $1,500 and $3,000. The building will have a concierge at lobby level for residents to book The Summit Club facilities.