Sage advice for escaping winter
Vacation homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., overlook canal in U.S. desert city
ASCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. lberta’s Pat Caffaro and her husband Peter are part of the new wave of Canadian snowbirds finding solace from the cold winters, along with value for their dollars, in the Arizona real estate market.
As longtime condo dwellers in downtown Edmonton, they also had no problem embracing a similar lifestyle when it came to purchasing a home in Scottsdale.
The couple began its search for a vacation home in the Vancouver area, but found prices high — and, as Peter put it: “It still gets chilly there.”
So, instead, Peter, a semi-retired judge, and Pat decided to check out Arizona. With a realtor recommended by an acquaintance, they first checked out resorts in the north around Phoenix, but then focused their search on an area where they could walk or take an inexpensive taxi to the places they wanted to reach.
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They are not golfers, but the over 65-year-olds wanted a place with three bedrooms for space for themselves and their four adult children and their families where everything else was accessible — including restaurants and shopping.
What they found was Sage, a luxury boutique development along the Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale, with views of Camelback Mountain. The already-constructed project includes 32 condominiums, 16 two-level townhomes and two penthouses.
Prices start in the low $300,000s US for the condos, rising to $899,000 for one of the penthouses.
Living space ranges from a 1,598-squarefoot, two-bedroom condo to a 2,155-squarefoot townhome with an attached two-car garage — up to the most spacious penthouse at 2,760 square feet, with three different condo layouts and four different floor plans for the townhomes.
Besides being close to the walking/ biking /running trails along the canal, Sage also has a beautiful outdoor swimming pool overlooking the canal, a fitness centre, a catering kitchen and an underground stone wine cellar, all in a private clubhouse.
There is also electronicallycontrolled underground parking for the condos and attached two-car garages for the townhomes.
The units, themselves, include professional grade kitchens — including Dacor, Bosch, Grohe and Toto appliances with granite and marble countertops, hardwood floors and sold cherrywood doors.
It also has volcanic stone gas fireplaces and large outdoor spaces that overlook mountain and water views.
Like many projects in the U.S., Sage got caught in the financial meltdown, with the original developer going through bankruptcy.
Sage was taken over by it financiers, istar Residential, last November. The new ownership started selling last February and more than 60 per cent of the homes have been bought — 25 per cent of those by Canadians.
A second phase is in planning stages and would be located south of the current homes.
Opening prices were originally $695,000 to $1.3 million, so Brendan Mann, principal of tsg (The Solvere Group) — which is doing the sales and marketing for Sage — says the value is to be had in the units now available.
While he predicts the prices in the second phase will have to be higher because there is little new inventory in Scottsdale, that makes the remaining units in phase one of Sage “good value at 50 cents on the dollar — the market was out of kilter before.
“These are prices we last saw in 1999 to 2000. People are buying now for a return in 10 years — because in 10 years, they won’t be able to afford these homes.”
Mann describes Sage as “a development with a boutique-style feel to it, in a quiet area, yet you get all the energy of Scottsdale just a block and a half away.”
That energy is the restaurants, art galleries and shopping of downtown Scottsdale, including Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall.
Located near the intersection of Camelback and N. Scottsdale Roads, Sage is just a six-minute walk from the mall, an eightminute walk from historic downtown Scottsdale with its many bistros and local stores and a 20-minute drive to Phoenix’s Sky Harbour Airport.
The Caffaros chose a threebedroom unit overlooking the canal that they can get to on a threehour flight from Edmonton.
They intend to chuck the winter boots and, going forward, “spend as much time there as we legally can,” says Pat.
Sage is a luxury boutique development that includes 32 condos, 16 two-level townhomes and two penthouses along the Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale.