With the completion of the Trapp + Holbrook development in New Westminster just over a year away, Salient Group’s Robert Fung is on cloud nine. We caught up with the man behind Trapp + Holbrook for an update on the project.
Salient Group Founder Robert Fung on location in Gastown
What is the construction status?
Robert Fung: Construction is moving along smoothly and we’re on schedule for our residents to move in early 2015. We have completed piling (post-like supports used for building support) for the building foundations, and and the crane was raised August 19. The restoration process for the original terra-cotta facade that will be on the front of the Trapp Block is being meticulously undertaken. Overall, things look amazing.
You’ve been active in connecting with the New Westminster and Columbia Street community – what are people saying about Trapp + Holbrook’s presence?
RF: We’ve had a great dialogue with the New Westminster community, and overall, locals have been very supportive. People are really taking to the notion of an “urban community” where they live, work and play in the same neighbourhood. That has led to a large portion of the building’s new owners making their home in the Trapp+Holbrook redevelopment..
Some have compared this development to the style of Vancouver’s Gastown. What do you think of this comparison?
RF: Like Gastown, downtown New Westminster is one of only two truly historic downtown areas in the Lower Mainland? Also like Gastown, downtown New Westminster is currently experiencing a rebirth for the downtown scene. However, we’re not trying to make Columbia Street into another Gastown, Columbia Street has its own character, strengths and vibe. The project was conceived in New West and on Columbia street – it’s New West, through and through.
I encourage people to come and see Columbia Street- there’s a great entrepreneurial energy here. People, and businesses, are coming to New West to become a part of this community.
RF: We want to support local business, and The River Market in New West is an established venue to do that. Karmavore, a local vegan cafe and bakery has set up a new venture at The River Market and Trapp+Holbrook is supporting their presence while they feel out this new evolution of their business.
On the construction side, with the crane up, watch for things to really start progressing as we start to pour concrete over the next three weeks.
Imagine construction is finished, and the first residents are living at Trapp + Holbrook…what are you most looking forward to?
RF: I can’t wait to be sitting on the street having a coffee in front of the building. I hope to see people enjoying the cafes, retail and engaging with the space. A vibrant urban neighbourhood is a great place to be. I truly hope there is a sense that the building has always been there.