Local homebuilder Formwell unveils first townhouse project as demand for ‘missing middle’ homes soars in Victoria
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published October 7, 2021
Local homebuilder Formwell Homes has unveiled its first residential project as demand for ‘missing middle’ housing reaches an all-time high in Victoria.
Formwell co-founders Sam Ganong and Kyle Ryan – no strangers to the Capital’s real-estate development industry with a combined 30-years during which they helped deliver more than 800-units of single- and multi-family housing – have joined efforts on a traditionally-inspired townhome development in Victoria’s Burnside Gorge community near the Selkirk Waterfront and Galloping Goose Regional Trail.
Known as Washington, Formwell’s introductory offering (at 3080 Washington Avenue) will deliver 34 two, three and four-bedroom townhouses to the up-and-coming neighbourhood.
Ganong and Ryan started Formwell with a goal to improve the multi-family living experience through a commitment to practical human-centric design philosophies, while closely taking into account their own personal experiences raising families. Both having worked extensively in residential new home development and construction, the co-founders realized a collective regard for the townhome archetype.
“Living in a townhome with a growing family really shaped my passion for improving livability within townhome residences,” said father of two young children, Sam Ganong. “Recognizing the opportunity this housing form provides for families, with the single-family home increasingly becoming out of reach for many, now felt like the right time to pursue the creation of more family-friendly, functional homes across the city.”
Steps from the Gorge Waterway, adjacent to the region’s busiest cycling thoroughfare, and near Cecelia Ravine Park, Washington’s location is well suited to families looking for an urban neighbourhood among walkable amenities such as landmark shopping centres, access to alternative transportation infrastructure via cycling and transit networks, and employment hubs in walking or cycling distance.
“From a location perspective, Washington is on a quiet residential street and is central to a some of the city’s more desirable amenities including the Selkirk Waterfront and the Gorge Waterway, Mayfair Shopping Centre, Uptown Shopping Centre, and downtown Victoria,” says Ganong, adding that as part of Washington’s commitment to its community, Formwell will help fund the Doric Greenway Connection, a new greenway for pedestrians and cyclists that streamline access from the neighbourhood to Cecilia Ravine Park and the Galloping Goose Regional Trail.
|Formwell Homes' Washington townhouses offer single-family-home appeal with wood picket fences and charming private yards. Formwell Homes|
From guiding design and development philosophies, beginning with initial site identification and neighbourhood envisioning through to completion and new home hand-over, Formwell’s townhomes are crafted for livability in the broadest sense, according to Kyle Ryan, a father of three, where each home is measured against the company’s guiding philosophies.
“Homes for today, and for tomorrow is the foundation upon which we approach our homes,” Ryan said. “Great homes need to not only be built to last, but to be able to evolve with the changing needs of the families they house. Each Formwell home carries the promise of durable, time-tested materials and proven construction practices, while highly flexible living spaces accommodate the needs of growing and changing families in whatever form they may take.”
Within Formwell’s creative context, careful consideration of the company’s inaugural project location was met with an equal investment into the study of how homes are lived in, and how curated features or custom design elements can make the most of every space.
“We’ve carefully considered how families really live and take advantage of shared and personal spaces,” Ryan said. “This understanding formed the basis for our design decision-making, from the macro decisions like floorplans, window and ceiling heights, light and air circulation, storage and materiality, to much more granular or functional ones, like where people are going to store a broom, or their toaster,” he added.
The duo shares responsibilities with Ganong overseeing all aspects of the community development, planning and design process, while Ryan, a proven leader and expert in the field of operations and construction management, oversees the build process from end-to-end, transforming Formwell’s vision into completed communities.
As sales for Washington near, homebuyers will be presented with two, three, and four bedroom townhomes ranging from 1,300 to 1,600 square feet. Interior design firm Bidgood + Co. has married time-honoured details of every townhome to create timeless, comfortable and welcoming spaces.
Continuous wall insulation and double wall assemblies will create quieter, more private living spaces at Washington, and premium touches such as expansive open and closed shelving (including appliance storage), pot and pan rails, built in recycling stations, and generous spaces to fit every-day and occasional items.
Meanwhile, main floors will feature single-family-home-inspired cased-opening millwork, large windows and over-height ceilings, with generous lighting.
Garages will come electric-vehicle (EV) ready, helping guide the transition towards emerging car technologies.
Construction on Washington’s first phase, built by Formwell’s in-house team led by Ryan, is scheduled to begin this fall and complete in early 2023. Subsequent phases will reach occupancy throughout 2023.
As Washington gets underway, Formwell is pursuing approvals for a 14-unit three and four-bedroom townhome project on Ophir Street in Saanich’s Mt. Tolmie neighbourhood. The proposal aligns closely with Saanich’s vision for the Shelbourne Valley (as defined by the Official Community and Shelbourne Valley Action plans) providing diversified, low-rise housing forms that are located within a close walk to services and amenities, parks and schools, major transit routes and a future cycling route (and close access to everyday essentials for families that encourage) active forms of transportation).
Formwell’s entry into the ‘missing middle’ housing market comes as average re-sale valuations for townhome listings reached an all-time high of $764,000 last month, a cost run-up attributed largely to the relative rarity of townhouses in Greater Victoria despite rapidly growing demand.
The lack of this urban archetype, from Sooke to Sidney, has been at the forefront of civic debate throughout the last several years, as zoning restrictions confront in-fill housing proposals and gentle density infusions like Formwell’s Washington Avenue and Ophir Street visions. Although acknowledged by elected officials as a necessary and highly efficient form of redevelopment, proposals continue to draw significant time and monetary investments prior to securing approvals, and the supply of new inventory remains heavily constrained.
With demand soaring and prices for single-family-homes firmly out of reach of most south Island residents, the need for an infusion of ‘missing middle’ new-build inventory is clear, and homebuilders like Formwell say they will remain committed to helping Victorians remain in the neighbourhoods they grew up in as the Capital’s 'sellers' real-estate market continues to put intense upwards pressure on housing prices.
To learn more about Washington's pre-sale opportunities and to learn more about Formwell Homes' story, view the company's website here. C
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