Renx Homes News Canada (RENXHOMES)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

'One of the rarest settings I've ever seen': B.C.'s Britannia Beach

Macdonald Communities, Adera JV to build 73 townhomes plus retail along Sea-to-Sky Corridor

Britannia Beach, seen here as a rendering, turns a former copper mine into a residential and commercial community. (Courtesy Talk Shop Media)

The Britannia Beach townhome development in British Columbia's Sea-to-Sky Corridor, just north of Vancouver, has been an opportunity for Adera Developments to join a project in a visually stunning region.

Nestled between Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains near Squamish, the development set on a former copper mine features executive townhomes and a historic village being converted into a commercial centre.

It is the first time Adera has directly collaborated with co-developer Macdonald Communities Ltd.; Adera is handling the residential side, with Macdonald dealing with the adjacent commercial area and navigating a complex development that took approximately two decades to bring to fruition.

“I’ve been in this business for 37 years and I have yet to see a project that was this kind of setting that is one of the rarest settings I’ve ever seen,” said Eric Andreasen, senior vice-president of marketing and sales at Adera, in an interview with RENX Homes.

Adera, which just hit its 55th anniversary, is a B.C. developer of residential properties totaling approximately 11,500 living units and a portfolio of four million square feet of commercial space.

MacDonald Communities, also based in Vancouver, is a single-family and multifamily residential and commercial developer with projects in Canada and the U.S.

Turning a copper mine into a golden community

Britannia Beach lies on a site that formerly hosted the Britannia Mine, a large copper mine that operated for over seven decades until it shut down in 1974.

Set in its own hamlet, the community is closest to Squamish, a 12-minute drive away. Vancouver is a 30-minute drive  to the south and the skiing and vacation village of Whistler is 45 minutes to the north.

Macdonald Communities needed the long pre-development timeline to get over the hurdles of environmental concerns, negotiations about the project, restoration of the historic village and other planning to bring the Britannia Beach community to life, Andreasen said.

Adera and Macdonald Communities have indirectly worked on smaller projects. But Adera decided to buck its normal modus operandi of developing projects alone to cooperate on Britannia Beach because of its respect for Macdonald Communities and the quality of the location.

Andreasen listed its idyllic natural assets which include the fjord, being a remote but accessible community, and Adera’s attraction to the unconventional.

“We enjoy the opportunity to function in projects that are not necessarily just your typical project,” he said.

The townhome half of Britannia Beach

Britannia Beach will have 73 executive townhomes ranging from 1,562 square feet to 1,895 square feet. Units will be two-bedroom-plus-den or three-bedroom versions. Prices have ranged from $1 million to $1.4 million.

Development started in the summer of 2022 with the residential portion being finished, according to Andreasen. Many of the townhomes are already occupied, and Adera expects all of the homes to have residents by the end of the year or early 2025.

There has been a diverse spectrum of buyers, he noted, but one uniting factor is a yearning for active living in an outdoors setting. Younger families or downsizing empty nesters are the demographics, and they have come from across the country.

He said the community has even attracted buyers from Toronto who have been drawn to region, as well as people who work from home.

“With the pandemic, people wanted to move away from the city where there’s so much density, and this is one of the big attractions for it. People are coming to this location because it’s not in Vancouver, but it’s within striking distance of it, which is very expensive nowadays.”

Trails, the shores of Howe Sound, a community garden and a playground for children intermingle in natural and manmade recreation sites, as well as a community centre with a gym.

To complement the residential side, Britannia Beach will also have a commercial area developed by Macdonald Communities that aims to give a fairly remote community more amenities.

Turning a village into a commercial site

The historic village that once hosted mine workers is being rebuilt into an area featuring a grocery store with a liquor license, various food and beverage businesses, and a bar.

The intent is to curate tenants that can foster a “well-rounded, functional and practically useful village,” Andreasen said.

A building will have on-site daycare for residents and employees in the commercial area.

“The daycare is there because the expectation is parents that are working in the village, they’re going to need a place to have their children looked after.”

Expectations are for the commercial area to start operations by the fall. By the spring to mid-2025, the village will be finished and the residential side should be fully occupied.

Adera’s other projects

Adera is also developing several other residential and multires properties in the region. It is down to the final 60 units at its 240-unit Pura condo development in Surrey, which is being constructed with its proprietary SmartWood mass timber.

It also has a project coming in West Coquitlam named Kestrel, a 118-unit stacked townhome project also made from SmartWood.

Its SÕL residential mass timber community in West Coquitlam is preparing for occupancy.

Andreasen said the company is now in due diligence on other possible development sites for additional, future projects.

Industry Events