Few new buildings in Vancouver include gargoyles among their features, which has made the Grace in Yaletown the misfit among standard-issue condo development.
The Grace, which consists of a high-rise and a low-rise tower, has been an ongoing project for owner-developer James Schouw, who has an interest in creating unique projects with an artistic bent to them. (When Artemisia, his boutique condo development not too far from the Grace, is completed, part of its curb appeal will involve a public art and light display.) The second and tallest Grace tower was built in 2008, and Schouw sold every unit except for the three-storey penthouse, which remained unfinished until a few weeks ago. Schouw is somewhat unusual in his field in that he is closely involved in the design process – and the final unit to be sold at the Grace, on the 30th floor, is testament to his involvement. Schouw designed its 4,700 square feet of living space down to the curved railing made out of bicycle spokes instead of spindles.
The suite is one of Vancouver's priciest condo properties on the market. "There's really nothing like this in the city for height and grandeur," said realtor Ben Amzaleg, who gave a tour of the property, which has been outfitted with $150,000 worth of temporary furniture, knick-knacks and art, according to the property's stager Rien Sharma of Revamp. Schouw declined to be interviewed.
Aside from the gargoyles, the Grace is the only building in Vancouver to use a biometric fingerprint identity panel for access. The penthouse features 40-foot-high ceilings and seven private terraces that add up to a 360-degree view, three minimalist ethanol-burning fireplaces and dozens of crystal chandeliers supplied by local company James R. Moder, including one priced at $250,000. Off the open-concept kitchen, in full view like an art piece, is an entirely glass, temperature-controlled wine room that holds 400 bottles. The standout feature is the kitchen, with views of Vancouver from the east to the North Shore Mountains and an oyster bar, with a narrow, long rectangular sink intended to be filled with crushed ice and bivalves.
Amzaleg could not disclose the number of viewings so far, but he did say many of them have been with international clients.