Expressions estate homes capture buyers’ attention
There are few true estate home areas remaining in Calgary, and of those still growing, most are on the west side of the city.
For the most part, they are located west of Strathcona Boulevard and 69th Street S.W.
Pricepoints may vary, depending on the developer, but estate areas continue to attract a solid consumer following.
And while the majority of the properties are large, elaborate detached homes, higher-end multi-family living has found a niche in neighbourhoods like Aspen Estates by Quinncorp Holdings and, most recently, in Wentworth Estates by Dundee Developments.
In the Dundee community, which also includes the separate lower-priced neighbourhood of Wentworth Glen, the multi-family ele- ment has been filled by a newly-created division of Beattie Homes called Expressions Beattie Custom Homes.
And what the company has created is a sideby-side duplex product that has proved to be popular with consumers.
“We just wanted to be able to offer a different product to the public,” says Mike Cowie, vice-president of Calgary Land for Dundee. “And they look incredibly good.”
The Brownstones, as they are called, come in two different sizes. The larger of the two measures j ust over 3,200 square feet and is priced from $997,500 while the smaller one checks in at just shy of 2,400 square feet with a price tag of $598,900.
And i t wa s this smaller one, the Preston model, that caught the eye of Lisa and Rick Dawson who were looking for a lifestyle change.
“We looked around at various locations and home styles, but fell in love with the Brownstones concept,” says Lisa. “It has everything we were looking for.”
Beattie vice-president Diane Beatti e says the decision to design the three-level duplexes was a natural progression from building villa duplexes — a staple for the veteran building company.
“We felt the Brownstones was something the market was looking for in terms of size, s peci f i c a t i ons, a nd price,” she says.
The concept was first sketched on company drawing boards in 2006 but it wasn’t until two years later that the first show home was opened in Wentworth Estates, which is west of 85th Street S.W. between Old Banff Coach Road and Bow Trail.
In April of l ast year, Beattie Homes won a price category SAM Award from the Calgary branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for the Brownstones.
“ We developed t hem f or people who stil l wanted big, beautiful homes but also wanted the maintenance-free aspect — and the ability to lock and leave,” says Beattie.
For the Dawsons, there was no one particular reason for being attracted to the Preston which they will take possession of next February.
But being able to close up the home and head for their winter escape in Arizona was definitely a positive.
“That was a big one for us,” says Lisa. “But the standards Beattie used in t he home a re incredible and we love what Dundee has done with the area.”
Not o n l y d o e s Wentworth have a large retail element, it also has plenty of green space, play- grounds, parks, water features, boulevards, and other trendy amenities consumers are looking for in upscale communities.
The Dawsons, who currently live in Springbank Hill, shopped the marketplace for about 18 months for something smaller.
Then in January, they came across the Brownstones show home in Wentworth Estates.
“Right then we said this is it, and we put our Springbank home up for sale,” she says.
While the show home they visited was the larger version of the Brownstones, the Dawsons got a good picture of what it was like and were comfortable looking at blueprints and envisioning what the Preston would look like.
“We used our imagination,” says Lisa.
OK, so the home fits their planned lifestyle, but its looks and design also held a lot of appeal for the Dawsons.
For Lisa, it’s the kitchen-greatroomdining room combination that she likes because of its size, the large windows, and the retreat area off it. For Rick, it’s the media room and bar area. “We have three sons-in-law and he can’t wait to get them down there,” Lisa adds.
And they are both going to enjoy the hearthside room and exterior retreat off the master bedroom that are connected with a two-way fireplace. Beattie is pleased with the response to the duplexes.
“They’re just flying off the shelf,” she says.
In addition to eight under construction in Wentworth, Beattie also has plans for another half dozen in the Wyndham Place area adjacent to Wentworth. As well, there will be 13 detached bungalow homes — a takeoff of the Preston — that will measure about 1,800 square feet and come in at under $700,000.
There will always be a market for estate homes, says Beattie, although it might be a bit of a tougher sell than it was a couple of years ago.
While some investment portfolios might have taken a financial hit from the recession, there remains a certain segment that escaped relatively unscathed.
“People are looking for value for their money,” says Cowie.
Rick and Lisa Dawson in a show home of The Brownstones duplex they purchased in Wentworth Estates.
Rick and Lisa Dawson shopped around for 18 months before finding what they wanted in the Preston model of The Brownstones.