Keswick: A Des­ti­na­tion on the North Saskatchewan River

A DES­TI­NA­TION ON THE NORTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER

Best Home (Canada) - - Front Page - By Jane Mar­shall

This Ed­mon­ton com­mu­nity hosts na­ture, views, and those in­cred­i­ble lux­ury homes.

Tucked in the woods at the river’s edge in Ed­mon­ton’s pres­ti­gious Win­der­mere you’ll find Keswick, a com­mu­nity that feels like the English coun­try­side. When you drive past the en­trance foun­tain it’s like time slows down and na­ture takes over. Keswick is a des­ti­na­tion where a re­la­tion­ship be­tween na­ture and time­less ar­chi­tec­ture has been forged.

MLC Group and Cameron Com­mu­ni­ties’ orig­i­nal vi­sion was to cre­ate an English Lake District com­mu­nity with an Ed­mon­ton twist. Con­struc­tion be­gan in 2011 and is 75% com­plete. Builders and res­i­dents have fallen in love with the higher ar­chi­tec­tural stan­dards of this premier com­mu­nity.

“I’ve been in this busi­ness for over 40 years,” says David Mcdougall, owner of MLC Group. “And this is the best piece of land I’ve ever seen.” David and his busi­ness part­ner, Jerry Naqvi, came across the land over 10 years ago. They worked with plan­ners to make this vi­sion a re­al­ity. “It’s so sel­dom you get a piece of land with the river, a ravine, and three ponds.”

“We placed greater em­pha­sis on hav­ing brick walls, trees, land­scap­ing and care­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal plan­ning be­cause we know Keswick is so spe­cial.”

LAY OF THE LAND

Keswick is lo­cated on 200 acres of land that bor­der the North Saskatchewan River, an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­serve, and the Win­der­mere Golf & Coun­try Club. It boasts over 21 acres of com­mu­nity green space that has been nat­u­ral­ized to make it feel like res­i­dents are liv­ing in an ex­ten­sion of the river val­ley. Mul­ti­ple ponds and parks keep na­ture in the com­mu­nity.

“Keswick de­rives its name from the lake district in Eng­land,” ex­plains Chris Ni­cholas, MLC Group Pres­i­dent. “We started there and wanted to theme it in the spirit of coun­try Eng­land/ Europe with a vil­lage feel­ing. We’ve used Vic­to­rian brick fenc­ing through­out. Roof ar­tic­u­la­tions, fine fin­ish­ings, and nat­u­ral­ized ponds make it feel like an English gar­den.” The ar­chi­tec­tural guide­lines in­clude styles that haven’t pre­vi­ously been used in Ed­mon­ton—such as French and English coun­try. “Keswick is a re-write from the get-go. We’ve been in­spired by styles from Europe and in­te­grated them into Ed­mon­ton’s river val­ley.”

Keswick is di­vided into three dis­tinct ar­eas: Val­ley­side, The Es­tates, and The Banks, an ex­clu­sive gated en­clave on the river.

“We’ve been in­spired by styles from Europe and in­te­grated them into Ed­mon­ton’s river val­ley.”

“We hadn’t even put an of­fer on the house yet… but we made an of­fer the next day.”

THE BANKS

Within Keswick is a rare penin­sula of land with river on one side and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­serve on the other. It sits high above the river with green views in all direc­tions. The Banks has just 23 lots, with 12 re­main­ing, rang­ing from 60 to 100 feet wide. “It’s the ge­o­log­i­cal as­pect that makes The Banks so spe­cial,” says Chris. “Only na­ture could have cre­ated it.”

Po­ten­tial res­i­dents can choose their own builder/ar­chi­tect or MLC can rec­om­mend one of the des­ig­nated Es­tate builders. Lots start at $579 thou­sand plus GST.

Ian Ball is a fu­ture Banks res­i­dent. He’s build­ing a two storey walk­out home with Avanti Cus­tom Homes that backs the ravine. Ian had tried to find a wide lot in an older neigh­bour­hood— but without suc­cess. The Banks was the an­swer. His 75-footwide lot al­lows him to build what he wants. “There aren’t many places in Ed­mon­ton that have new land on a ravine,” he notes. “The older ar­eas are much more ex­pen­sive, and you have to tear down an ex­ist­ing house.”

He loves the pace of down­town where he works, but is drawn to the ab­sence of traf­fic noise in The Banks when it’s time to come home.

Ian is a mem­ber of neigh­bour­ing Win­der­mere Golf and Coun­try Club. He loves the game and hang­ing out with a tight group of fel­low golfers and looks for­ward to liv­ing next door.

“We’re close to ameni­ties, yet tucked away. It feels like a tra­di­tional com­mu­nity.”

THE ES­TATES

Fea­tur­ing some of Ed­mon­ton’s elite builders - Ace Lange, Car­riage Sig­na­ture Homes, Perry Sig­na­ture Homes, Aacrop­o­lis Homes, and Vicky Homes, The Es­tates Of Keswick of­fers a wide se­lec­tion of builders for the dis­cern­ing buyer to work with.

You’ll find Eva Marek in the bright, beach-washed Ace Lange showhome—the Abi­gail—in The Es­tates. She loves Keswick— es­pe­cially its seclu­sion. “You can see the dif­fer­ence when you drive into this area,” she says. “It’s only sin­gle fam­ily homes, no ren­tals, and it’s se­cluded. At night, the si­lence is beau­ti­ful.”

Car­riage Sig­na­ture Homes up­holds old-world de­tails. The Firenze, a bun­ga­low showhome, has a 16-foot oak bar­rel ceil­ing in the liv­ing room, a fea­ture they do in many of their homes. The front door has cast iron de­tail­ing, and there are glass fea­ture walls pro­vid­ing airy sep­a­ra­tion from the liv­ing room to the kitchen.

“We are a tra­di­tional builder,” says Kelly Noland, Sales As­so­ciate. “It’s like we’re out in the coun­try here, and we have an old-world feel in our homes. They feel warm in­side. There’s still great ac­cess to the city from Keswick, but it’s a place where you can leave the hus­tle and bus­tle be­hind.” The Berke­ley, by Perry Sig­na­ture Homes, is a 3,496-square­foot, two-storey, in bold two-tone colours. The en­trance tile is gleam­ing white, con­trasted by dark panel of­fice walls and a rich curv­ing wood stair­case.

“The ar­chi­tec­tural guide­lines here are more tra­di­tional,” ex­plains Jeff Co­p­ithorne. “I pre­fer that to ul­tra mod­ern. Keswick is about the char­ac­ter of the com­mu­nity and the lo­ca­tion by the river.”

Builder Per­spec­tives

VAL­LEY­SIDE

“Val­ley­side is where you’ll see kids play­ing bas­ket­ball. Peo­ple out bik­ing and walk­ing. It’s a place for any­one who likes a quiet fam­ily area,” says Penny Benjamin of Cameron Homes. Val­ley­side main­tains Keswick’s high end ar­chi­tec­tural con­trols while pro­vid­ing a more af­ford­able price point.

Cameron Homes, Hil­lview Master­builder, Kim­ber­ley Homes, Land­mark Homes, and Park­wood Master­builder are all fea­tured builders within Val­ley­side.

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL STE­WARD­SHIP

Be­cause of its river­side lo­ca­tion the devel­oper wanted to en­sure Keswick was in­te­grated into its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings. They hired Clark Eco­science and Sus­tain­abil­ity and worked with Stan­tec to de­sign nat­u­ral­ized ponds that would pre­serve and at­tract lo­cal wildlife and clean storm water. Na­tive plant species have been planted around the ponds and you’ll find geese, frogs, and other an­i­mals mak­ing their homes there.

MEET THE NEIGH­BOURS

One of the most telling as­pects of Keswick’s qual­ity is that peo­ple who work there move there. Take Steve Ostopowich and Jill Genyn, for ex­am­ple. Each worked with the project in dif­fer­ent ways and ended up call­ing Keswick home.

Steve Ostopowich owns Branch Land­scap­ing and was work­ing in Keswick. In­spired by the high ar­chi­tec­tural and land­scap­ing stan­dards, he in­vited his wife to look at show homes. A Kim­ber­ley Homes sales­per­son told them about a spec home in Kidd Bay on a pie lot and quite un­ex­pect­edly, they fell in love. “We were look­ing at the home and res­i­dents out in the street wel­comed us and told us how won­der­ful the com­mu­nity was. We hadn’t even put an of­fer on the house yet… but we made an of­fer the next day,” re­calls Steve.

They moved in 2015 and are rais­ing their young chil­dren there.

Steve takes his three year old to the river to fish for North­ern Pike and Gold­eye. “We hike along the shore­line and see deer, birds, fish, geese, and ducks. It’s very peace­ful there.” They also ex­plore within the com­mu­nity by bike and have started a tra­di­tion of tak­ing fam­ily photos by the grand en­trance foun­tain ev­ery few months.

For Steve and his fam­ily, it’s also about the peo­ple. They live in a cul-de-sac with other young fam­i­lies and feel like they are all grow­ing up to­gether. Jill Genyn, VP Home Buy­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence with Kim­ber­ley Homes, was also drawn to Keswick. She lives in The Es­tates in a cul-de-sac with her hus­band and two year old daugh­ter. And her mom lives just down the street. Her job gave her in­side in­for­ma­tion. “It was an ex­cit­ing project from the be­gin­ning,” she says. “The prox­im­ity to the river, the brick fenc­ing, the ponds—i saw it from an early stage and the area hasn’t dis­ap­pointed.”

“Be­ing close to the river helps prop­erty re­tain its value. And that was a huge fac­tor for us. We’re close to ameni­ties, yet tucked away. It feels like a tra­di­tional com­mu­nity.” Jill loves the low den­sity and the seclu­sion. “No one drives through un­less they live here.”

Jill has lots of girl­friends in Keswick and they get to­gether with their kids as well as girls’ nights and glasses of wine. She loves run­ning in Keswick and the sur­round­ing area and watch­ing sun­sets over the river. “I’ve lived in Ed­mon­ton my whole life, but be­ing on the edge against the green you re­ally no­tice the sun­sets. It’s beau­ti­ful. The devel­oper has done a great job of keep­ing its in­tegrity.”

Ul­ti­mately, Keswick is about a bal­ance be­tween na­ture and clas­sic de­sign. It’s been built to last and pays trib­ute to its unique as­pect on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River.

Keswick on the River: pre-con­struc­tion, 2012.

The foun­tain on Keswick Way is a fo­cal point and source of pride for Keswick res­i­dents.

A mo­ment of qui­etude.

Ex­pan­sive river views to the west from Keswick’s walk­ing trails.

A play­ground with age-ap­pro­pri­ate play struc­tures was up­graded in Au­gust 2016.

Fall colours at the Keswick Out­fall.

A sam­pling of Val­ley­side ar­chi­tec­ture.

Fo­liage to ex­plore near The Banks.

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