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Old 2007-05-06, 09:00 PM
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canabiz canabiz is offline
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Default Couple of observations regarding Mattamy Urban Townhomes (from a non-Mattamy owner)

We had some time today so we checked out the urban townhouse model at Mattamy Fairwinds Sales Centre in Kanata so here's some of my take from a non-Mattamy owner (unbiased, hopefully!)

The first observation is there was quite a lot of people coming through to see the place, old and young alike, a lot of couples, just like us. I guess the radio ads (on Hot 89.9 and elsewhere) really do work wonders.

The urban townhouse model that Mattamy has for viewing is the Brentland model. I will spare you all the technical specs that you can get from the floorplans and from Mattamy itself and jump right into a few things that I made mental notes of:

- The inside doesn't appear to have a lot of rooms. It could be because of all the furniture that they have but if you have room-mates and/or more than 2, 3 people living there, it will be interesting to see how one manages his/her space.

- The deck is a nice surprise. Big enough to have a BBQ Party and connected directly to the kitchen

- There's an extra bathroom in the ground floor (an upgrade I heard), it could come really handy. I really like the little bar that they have there, nice little place to entertain although it might be tight for a bigger group.

- I don't recall seeing a shower booth and a bath tub in the ensuite (a standard with other builders), only the shower booth and there's another bath on the 3rd floor.

- Nice double door garage, you may need that because there's no other place to park so you can park your car on 1 side and use the other side for storage

- Speaking of parking, there's probably no parking for guests if you do invite them for a house party (you can't park on the side street because that would block the other garages). I don't know what Mattamy will do, maybe build some visitor parking spaces ?

- Really fantastic kitchen island, not sure if that is an upgrade or not but if it's a standard, big bravo to Mattamy

- A friend of mine brought up a good question: Where will the snowbanks be located.

- I could just imagine the traffic to Fairwinds during rush hours and especially during Senators gamedays!

He went on to say this concept works well in Toronto but might not necessarily be that successful here in Ottawa. I went into the sales office and there are still plenty of urban townhouses available in Barrhaven. 22 units are up for sale and only 7 have been sold so far. It's something *unique*, something *different*, that's for sure but it may not be for everyone.

Cheers!
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Old 2007-05-06, 09:06 PM
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Just to add that Mattamy went all out with the upgrades for this Urban Townhouse Model

Potlights every where, first, second, third floor, kitchen, bedrooms, hallways, you name it

Hardwood floors from top to bottom

Big kitchen island with granite countertop

Ceramic tiles in all the necessary places (bathrooms, entrance, powder)

Total cost ? My friend asked the sales rep and she said $58K!

I could just imagine how much they put in for upgrades for the other traditional widelot town models (the Highwood and the other one i forgot the name, I really like both of them)
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Old 2007-05-06, 09:57 PM
GreyingJay GreyingJay is offline
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I will soon be living in one of these urban towns so I appreciate your observations. I too went to check out the model home today and overall I was impressed.

You're right about visitor parking. There are some side streets, but not a lot, and I was told visitors would be able to park on Huntmar when it's completed, possibly on the shoulder of Maple Grove (where you all likely parked to pop into the model home), and as a last resort, the Mattamy sales office parking lot (after hours).

Not a lot of storage space in the house since the whole space is finished. You'd have to keep stuff in your walk-in closet or in the garage.

That first level with the bar and bathroom is an "in-law suite" upgrade. It looks like it would be a very comfortable guest room and a very passable entertainment space (for small numbers of guests). What you would get as standard is a rather large living room instead of all that.

You're right about the concept being new to Ottawa. Even in the few minutes I was in there, I noticed lots of people commenting on the lack of a basement.

"... hey, where's the basement?"
"There is no basement."
"There's gotta be a basement, where's the foundation??"
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Old 2007-05-06, 09:59 PM
mart242 mart242 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canabiz View Post
The first observation is there was quite a lot of people coming through to see the place, old and young alike, a lot of couples, just like us. I guess the radio ads (on Hot 89.9 and elsewhere) really do work wonders.
...
- A friend of mine brought up a good question: Where will the snowbanks be located.
I'd be willing to bet quite a few $$$ that 80%+ of the buyers in fairwinds are 1st time home buyers... hence the young folks.

As for the snowbanks, well I drove quickly through fairwinds on my way home and ended up on whatever circle (helm or the other, no clue) and I can tell you that I almost felt claustrophobic. The houses are really close to the street and close to each other and have 20' of backyard. Mattamy has definitely crammed as many houses has possible in there. Lots of houses had single car garages so I guarantee you that once winter hits and snowbanks appear everywhere, circulation and parking in those streets will be a PITA for the residents. Just like the street where I used to live that was full of townhouses. Parking and circulation in winter was aweful...
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Old 2007-05-06, 10:11 PM
GreyingJay GreyingJay is offline
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More thoughts:

I went back to my book of floor plans and got confused. At first I thought you might have been mistaken when you said it was a Brentland model home, but after some study, I think you are right. I didn't recognize it at first because Mattamy has evidently completely remodelled the first floor. The in-law suite is not listed as an option in my floor plans (it may be offered as an option to buyers, though). This completely changes the orientation of the laundry room, location of the furnace, etc.

The kitchen they show is the "Chef's Kitchen" upgrade, with the large kitchen island. The island in the standard kitchen would be a bit smaller.
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Old 2007-05-07, 07:35 AM
aikejon aikejon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mart242 View Post
As for the snowbanks, well I drove quickly through fairwinds on my way home and ended up on whatever circle (helm or the other, no clue) and I can tell you that I almost felt claustrophobic. The houses are really close to the street and close to each other and have 20' of backyard. Mattamy has definitely crammed as many houses has possible in there. Lots of houses had single car garages so I guarantee you that once winter hits and snowbanks appear everywhere, circulation and parking in those streets will be a PITA for the residents. Just like the street where I used to live that was full of townhouses. Parking and circulation in winter was aweful...
Well as long as you were the first one to say it (because I know many people are really excited to move there), my family and I toured through Helm Circle (I think it was called "circle"), and we felt immediately claustrophobic too - almost panicky...but we are outside people. For people who live most of their home life inside the house and/or do their outside activities at some other facility, then I can see it won't matter (low maintenance and all).... but my wife and I were thanking ourselves for not buying there. It does amaze me that they can sell ultra-small lots and market them as being "widelots"...but I guess the marketing term "shortlots" was already taken. Having said all that, I'm moving from an acreage near the northeast corner of Algonquin Park that I've lived on most of my life, and my 50x120 ft lot is gonna freak me out too when I move in, I'm sure of it.
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Old 2007-05-07, 08:33 AM
blackbirdxx blackbirdxx is offline
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The houses are really close to the street and close to each other and have 20' of backyard.
The city bylaw for builders says they have to give at least 25' for the backyard. It may seem like not much, but it all depends on where you are standing when you are looking at it. I am in the middle of Helm circle and I have a 50' x 43' backyard.
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Old 2007-05-07, 09:06 AM
mart242 mart242 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbirdxx View Post
The city bylaw for builders says they have to give at least 25' for the backyard. It may seem like not much, but it all depends on where you are standing when you are looking at it. I am in the middle of Helm circle and I have a 50' x 43' backyard.
I don't remember which lot it was but I could see the black fence from the street and it looked really close. I was in the car so pretty much eye level with the fence so it was harder to judge the distance. I'm sure that your 50x43' backyard came at a premium.. that's not a standard lot.

I made a quick calculation for the westlynn, the house is ~46' long (including 4' porch) but NOT counting wall thickness. Widelots are what, 83' I think? Front is ~12' ? You're right, that leaves a 25' backyard which must be because of the bylaw.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aikejon
Well as long as you were the first one to say it (because I know many people are really excited to move there), my family and I toured through Helm Circle (I think it was called "circle"), and we felt immediately claustrophobic too - almost panicky...but we are outside people.
Keep in mind that this forum is used by those looking to buy as well and these buyers are interested in everyone's opinion. If there was issues with where you bought or I bought, it's too late for us to change anything but I'm sure that potential buyers would like to know which is why I've posted this. It might shock people, burst their bubble or piss them off if you say something bad about what they've bought or the choice they've made, if it does, too bad, I don't care (and it's too late for them to change their mind anyways). If it helps a potential buyers, great, that's the purpose of this forum! And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who felt claustrophibic in there! I almost thought that my wife and I were crazy! I'm curious to see what Jackson Trails will look like in a year...

I've got to admit however that their marketing is amazing. Calling these things widelots and getting away with it. If they were called "Wide Lots", who's willing to be that they would have already been sued for false publicity? But since "widelot" is a trademark and not a description of what you buy, it's legal!
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Old 2007-05-07, 09:32 AM
GreyingJay GreyingJay is offline
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I've got to admit however that their marketing is amazing. Calling these things widelots and getting away with it. If they were called "Wide Lots", who's willing to be that they would have already been sued for false publicity? But since "widelot" is a trademark and not a description of what you buy, it's legal!
I think (hope!) that anyone with a modicum of intelligence will do the math and the comparison shopping and realize that Mattamy's lots are neither wide nor deep compared to other Ottawa builders. I think that's key -- I remember another post in this forum from months back where someone described Mattamy's history, particularly as a tract home builder in the GTA. Apparently by Toronto "home densification" standards these homes ARE wide. The comparison isn't nearly as drastic in Ottawa.

I think it's funny because in their literature and on their website they describe the advantages of a widelot home by comparing a "typical lot" with a "Mattamy WideLot". The "typical" lot is narrow and deeper than it is wide, and the pictured Mattamy lot is wider than it is deep (hence, presumably, the name). All well and good, until you look at the community site plan and the dimensions of the lots they've drawn.... Hmmm....

DoubleSpeak at its finest.

However, like you say Mart, different buyers are looking for different things. I'm buying in this community because it offered the house features I wanted at a price I could afford as a first-time single homebuyer. In my particular case the lack of a large lawn (especially in a townhouse) is an advantage, as I will have less to take care of. I had previously been looking into buying condos where all of the yard care would have been covered by condo fees, so this is a solution that works well for me too.

I was actually just about to go shopping for a hand-reel lawnmower to cut my tiny lawn with If anyone here is selling, let me know...
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Old 2007-05-07, 11:44 AM
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I just had a brief conversation with my co-worker (also personal friend) that I mentioned in some previous posts

My friend is turning her attention towards the Jackson Trails area. She picked up a booklet from Tartan and she was told that they would build 90 semi-detached units and possibly some singles. She was told that there's already a line-up of 50 people on an email waiting list of some sort so apparently, it will be another popular area again

From what I understand, my friend would like to rent out a couple of rooms to help with the mortgage later on and with the layout of the Mattamy urban townhouse, that won't be very feasible. She also realized a few more things from yesterday's tour and has decided that Mattamy is not the best for her.

Cheers!
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