Building a village in Barrhaven

Richcraft is trying something new. After taking small steps toward the concept of New Urbanism in some of its other communities, the builder is now ready to take a giant leap, armed with the principles of pedestrian-friendly streets, connected spaces, mixed housing and urban design in launching Fieldstone, its latest project in Barrhaven.

Taking a 17-acre meadow smack in the middle of the Longfields neighbourhood, Richcraft aims to transform it into 242 urban townhomes and single-family homes, creating a quiet pocket in an amenity-filled community.

“It looks like something that could be an infill project downtown in the Glebe,” says marketing manager Shawn Bellman. “It’s got great street presence to it.”

Richcraft took its cue from the City of Ottawa, which had owned the site and required strict guidelines for development of not only this property, but much of the Longfields area.

Homes will be closer together and closer to the street to foster a village feel. As a result, it’s the first time Richcraft will use 31-foot-wide lots for its bungalows and the first time in years that it will use such narrow lots for its two-storey singles, which will range from 1,170 to 2,725 square feet. And it means rear lanes for the front entrance of many of the towns, with what amounts to a second “front yard” instead of a traditional backyard for units backing on to Longfields Drive. Those units must have a more intimate connection to the street — they have balconies and porches and no fencing — and will be allowed to use 50 per cent of their space for a home-based business.

“It’s very pedestrian-friendly,” says Bellman.

The urban town designs are new for Richcraft, although its familiar West Coast style is evident.

“We always bring our Craftsman style into the designs,” Bellman says. “A lot of the elements that you see — the long eaves, the brackets, the mixed use of brick and board-and-batten siding — is very traditional to the West Coast look and feel.”

Designed in conjunction with architect David Blakely, balconies and porches are prominent, while exterior colours are understated, using earth tones in keeping with the Craftsman style. “When you’re building multiple blocks, the idea is to keep them subtle and low-key,” says Bellman, who chose the colours (he has a background in design). “You want to keep everything very clean looking.”

Floor plans are reminiscent of a modern condo, with open concepts, gourmet kitchens, nine-foot ceilings and clean lines. Two styles are offered: two-bedroom, back-to-back units ranging from 1,265 to 1,585 square feet; and three-bedroom, three-storey urban towns with ground-level office/family rooms and second-floor living/kitchen areas. Models range from 1,735 to 1,825 square feet.

So far, it’s the single-family homes that are attracting buyer attention, with 20 of the 41 available being reserved since the project opened in late May.

“Most of (the buyers) are coming from this area,” says sales rep Doreen Purdy, adding that they are either upsizing or downsizing.

But Bellman says buyers just need to get used to the new urban town offering, which he expects will attract anyone from first-timers to empty nesters.

The homes surround a 1.2-acre community park. Across Longfields Drive is the larger Utman Park, while next door is Mother Teresa Catholic High School. Several other schools are nearby, as is the Longfields Transit Station and a variety of shopping along Strandherd Drive.

Occupancy is expected in September 2013.

Fieldstone

What: 234 Energy Star single-family homes and freehold urban towns in Barrhaven

Builder: Richcraft Homes

Prices: Starting from $269,900 for a 1,265-square-foot, two-bedroom townhome to $534,900 for a 2,725-square-foot, four-bedroom single-family home

Sales centre: Longfields Drive next to Mother Teresa Catholic High School

Hours: Monday to Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; weekends and holidays, noon to 5:30 p.m. Closed Friday.

Information: Call 613-880-1678 or visit richcraft.com.

Connect with Anita Murray |Google+|amurray@ottawacitizen.com