Peak ef­fort

Spring Creek Moun­tain Vil­lage project in Can­more

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment - MARTY HOPE

He calls it his legacy project. As Frank Kernick walks the streets of his mas­ter-planned, 28-hectare Spring Creek Moun­tain Vil­lage project, the 46-year-old de­vel­oper and pres­i­dent of Spring Creek Inc. talks about his plans and his his­tory with the prop­erty.

In 2006, he re­leased his con­cept for the fam­ily-owned land, which forms an is­land on Main Street in this moun­tain town wrapped by Po­lice­man’s Creek and Spring Creek. The Kernick fam­ily has been on the land since 1927. The site orig­i­nally held the homestead and the Can­more Dairy.

In the 1950s, the dairy op­er­a­tion was shut down and much of the land be­came a trailer park. In 2002, Frank bought the land from his fam­ily with plans to de­velop it.

Kernick’s vi­sion was for 1,050 apart­ments and town­houses in 20 condo build­ings.

Some were to be de­signed as live/work units.

His vi­sion also in­cluded about 200 bou­tique ho­tels rooms, a dozen or so sin­gle-de­tached homes, and be­tween 10,000 and 20,000 square feet of a street-level re­tail/com­mer­cial space with restau­rants, pubs, artists’ stu­dios and spe­cialty shops.

The home­town boy has not budged one iota from that vi­sion.

“You have to stick by your word,” says Kernick as he strolls along­side what will be Creek­side Park. “This is my legacy project and I’ve got an­other 15 years to go with it,”

At the back of the prop­erty, be- hind the Rundle­stone and tim­ber low-rise condo build­ings, is the rem­nants of the fam­ily-op­er­ated Rest­well Trailer Park.

Be­ing a Can­more boy, Kernick un­der­stands the need for af­ford­able hous­ing for lo­cals and the de­sire for hol­i­day hous­ing for va­ca­tion­ers.

For that rea­son, the trailer park con­tin­ues to op­er­ate for an­other dozen years un­til it is crowded out by the vil­lage de­vel­op­ment.

“For the last three years, I’ve been head down build­ing build­ings,” says Kernick.

Not even a slow­down in the econ­omy, or a de­cline in con­sumer in­ter­est for recre­ation hous­ing, has been able to limit progress.

In 2006, the 49-unit Glacier Rock Lodge was built and there are only two units left un­claimed.

Mo­raine Ridge Lodge is a 40-plus build­ing of 45 units, in­clud­ing three live/work suites, of which four re­main to be sold.

The third build­ing is Run­dle Cliff Lodge, which is made up of 59 tourist homes that can be pur­chased or rented by the night. A dozen are still avail­able. Earth-mov­ing equip­ment is cur­rently on the site of the fourth build­ing, Cam­brian Moun­tain Lodge. In ad­di­tion to 50 apart­ment con­dos, this phase will also in­tro­duce Stream­side Vil­las, an en­clave of 24 town­houses built along­side Po­lice­man’s Creek.

Prices for what’s avail­able start at $379,000 for a one-bed­room unit, $650,000 for two bed­rooms and $875,000 for even larger res­i­dences. Condo fees run from $200 to $500 per month.

Then there is the ho­tel el­e­ment. One 40-suite ho­tel will be built where the Kernick fam­ily op­er­ated a dairy. The other two — con­sist­ing of 40 and 120 rooms, re­spec­tively — will be spot­ted on the prop­erty.

“We’re try­ing to of­fer dif­fer­ent types of hous­ing for dif­fer­ent de­mo­graph­ics,” says Kernick.

Hav­ing said that, he adds that as much as 70 per cent of sales have gone to buy­ers aged 45 to 65 who are without chil­dren. “It’s mostly week­enders who are plan­ning to spend more time up here when they re­tire.,” says Kernick.

About 60 per cent of those peo­ple are com­ing from Cal­gary, with an­other 30 per cent from Can­more and 10 per cent from places like Al­berta, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

Spring Creek is be­ing de­vel­oped to get along with na­ture.

Geo­ther­mal tech­nol­ogy is be­ing used to heat and cool the res­i­den­tial build­ings, which are also be­ing con­structed us­ing BuiltGreen Canada spec­i­fi­ca­tions for multi-fam­ily hous­ing. Glacier Park Lodge has a sil­ver rat­ing un­der the pro­gram, while Mo­raine is at the gold level. Cam­brian and Run­dle have both achieved platinum ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

Park­land will be re­de­vel­oped along both creeks and a replica of the his­toric Can­more Opera House will be built to serve as a com­mu­nity and spe­cial events cen­tre.

The wet­lands will re­main in its nat­u­ral state, his­tor­i­cal el­e­ments will be cre­ated to hon­our the rail­road, min­ing and dairy his­tory of the prop­erty and the town, and there will be long stretches of hik­ing and bik­ing trails.

All of this is part of Kernick’s vi­sion for his vil­lage with a town.

“We’re a block from down­town Can­more, so we have to main­tain those ties for us and this de­vel­op­ment to have any cred­i­bil­ity,” he says. Ul­ti­mately, there will be a tree-lined boule­vard lead­ing to a board­walk that will tie to the down­town.

To fur­ther en­sure that cred­i­bil­ity, Kernick says it was im­per­a­tive that work con­tinue through the re­cent down­turn. In the last three months, buyer in­ter­est has gained strength, he says. “It’s still not what it was, but at least the peo­ple are back — and our val­ues are hold­ing.”

While of­fer­ing res­i­dences for var­i­ous con­sumer seg­ments, Kernick has been care­ful to en­sure his spec­i­fi­ca­tions for those homes re­main high.

In both mod­ern and tra­di­tional floor plans, the suites come with hard­wood floors, glass tile back­splashes, maple cab­i­nets and walkin clos­ets. It also has fire­places with Rundle­stone faces and slate hearths, bal­conies or pa­tios, and bar­be­cue out­lets.

There are also fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties, wine cel­lars, a busi­ness cen­tre and group en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas. “My grand­dad was proud of his dairy, my dad and un­cle were proud of the camp­ground and mo­bile home com­mu­nity — and now it’s my turn to make sure it goes the right way,” says Kernick.

Marty Hope, Cal­gary Her­ald

Spring Creek Moun­tain Vil­lage in Can­more will have 20 con­do­minium build­ings that will in­clude live/work units as well as re­tail space.

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