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