Aragon, Canada’s leading real estate and building developer based in Vancouver, this week opened its fully completed 77-unit Timber House residential complex at Port Royal, New Westminster.
Aragon’s most detailed construction project, Timber House, required months to design, working with Fast + Epp on 3D virtual modelling that took precision to the granular level.
Fast + Epp is at the forefront of the Canadian push towards mass timber adoption and is behind Vancouver’s Amphitheatre – the World’s longest clear-span mass timber roof.
“We got right down to the length and type of every nail and screw,” said Aragon president and founder Lenny Moy.
Timber House, at 310 Salter Street, New Westminster, was constructed using CLT … “a unique building product that sequesters carbon from the environment and combines building strength with natural wood,” asserted Moy.
The three-building complex required all custom CLT components and panels to be factory-built by Kalesnikoff Lumber Co. Ltd of Castlegar, British Columbia, to be trucked to and assembled on site.
The CLT panels were created using spruce as a species that is lightweight, dimensionally stable, and can be fabricated to tight tolerances while maintaining appealing aesthetic preferences.
Moy said the wood was so attractive that he left the interior walls exposed in much of the space built on Aragon’s last piece of land at Port Royal in the Queensborough waterfront community.
Timber House is an innovative collection of one- to four-bedroom condos, lofts, and townhouses.
Aragon says not only are CLT panels lighter and more energy-efficient to make, move, and assemble than traditional building materials, but they also help sequester carbon – a one-for-one cubic metre of CLT has been calculated to remove one tonne of carbon.
Timber House uses 2842 cubic metres of CLT, which helps remove 2842 tonnes of carbon from the environment.
To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of removing 617 cars from the road for a year or planting 129,277 trees and growing them for a year and timber was locally and sustainably sourced in Castlegar, BC, helping to preserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the forest for generations to come.
Aragon says because every hole in each panel is predrilled, the pieces fit together like a puzzle. This allowed for faster construction and also reduced or eliminated any material waste, which is a ‘win’ for the environment.
But CLT is not cheap, however, says Aragon.
Aside from the cost of precision design and the lumber, there was also the specific training for crews unaccustomed to mass timber builds.
Moy estimates the construction costs were at least 15% higher than conventional construction.
“This is a signatory project for Aragon because we are leaving Port Royal,” Moy said. “It’s a pioneer project for us, but it is not as profitable.”
Timber House homes, which include condominiums, two-storey townhouses, and six-storey loft strata units, are priced around CAD$900 per square foot, considered at the low end of the new strata market in metro Vancouver.
“We are not making money on Timber House,” Moy said. “We are making a statement.”
Like all strata projects by Aragon, which does not use pre-sales, Timber House homes are complete and ready for occupancy within 30 days.
Who is Lenny Moy? Start with a strong vision and build a company around it – that’s what Lenny has done for over 30 years.
Growing up in Toronto, he trained as an engineer but always had a passion for real estate. After he earned his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, he put his schooling into action.
Lenny moved to Vancouver and shortly after, he founded Aragon.