Planning a new feature columbarium for Sarnia Ontario’s Lakeview Cemetery required some “thinking outside the box”. Inspired by Manager Kelly O’Connor’s idea to solve an age-old problem by turning the lowest row (the hardest niches to sell) into a more valuable offering, Architect Rob Hilton and Sunset Memorial & Stone collaborated to develop the first cantilevered columbarium niche.
As most cemetery managers will agree, the bottom tier of a columbarium is often considered the least desirable interment space. Because these niches are the furthest from one’s eye level, they are often the last units to sell. No one wants to be in the basement. Consequently, redesigning and engineering “the ground floor” became the focus. By angling the base forward, the eye is now drawn comfortably downwards to an even larger granite shutter with more options for memorialization.
Since the bottom niches are able to hold more than 2 urns, a bonus “family interment option” is now available for sale. Even though these niches initially cost more, the cemetery is more profitable as they can sell the lower tier at a premium price. Ultimately, what was once considered the least desirable interment space now becomes the focus feature of the columbarium.
Not only are these niches the first to sell but they are the most profitable as well.