Make a new life in Okana­gan

Sonoma Pines the ‘new’ va­ca­tion home

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - STEVEN THRENDYLE JOHN ROBINS

If you’re fa­mil­iar with va­ca­tion prop­er­ties in the Okana­gan, you might be for­given for think­ing that you’ve seen the Santa Fe-style ochre, tan, mus­tard and rust-hued homes of Sonoma Pines else­where in the val­ley.

The daz­zling colour scheme is rem­i­nis­cent of the Man­teo Re­sort across the lake from Sonoma Pines. De­vel­oped by Kelowna’s Adrian Block and his Rykon Group, Man­teo Re­sort Vil­las helped re­vi­tal­ize the Okana­gan va­ca­tion home mar­ket when they first ap­peared in 1996 as a key com­po­nent in a top-notch ho­tel and des­ti­na­tion re­sort.

Block’s team is be­hind Sonoma Pines, which sits on a 92-acre prop­erty on the “lake side” of High­way 97 as it me­an­ders through the new com­mu­nity of West Kelowna.

At Sonoma Pines, an ex­pan­sive hous­ing de­vel­op­ment that it is now in its sixth phase, the sales team is pro­mot­ing what sales man­ager Shane Styles calls “the new Okana­gan va­ca­tion home.” Now that some of the froth has been taken out of the Okana­gan real es­tate mar­ket, Styles says that “peo­ple are re­ally get­ting back to the ba­sics.”

Sonoma Pines of­fers at­trac- tively priced (and land­scaped) de­tached houses and town­houses which of­fer a level en­try to the main floor and mas­ter bed­room, a two-car garage, an un­fin­ished base­ment, as well as main­te­nance-free land­scap­ing and snow re­moval.

Prices for a 1,386-square-foot home start at $329,900, with size, lo­ca­tion and the amenity pack­ages among the boost­ers. For peo­ple who have trou­ble visu­al­iz­ing where their dream home will be in a waste­land of dirt and scrub brush, it’s im­por­tant to note that Sonoma Pines has been a vi­brant, ac­tive com­mu­nity since the first phase of sin­gle fam­ily homes was com­pleted in 2002.

Though Sonoma Pines has been ag­gres­sively pro­moted through­out West­ern Canada, Styles says that well over half of the clos­ings are due in some way to re­fer­rals from cur­rent res­i­dents.

“We put on a com­mu­nity bar­be­cue back in June on a Fri­day af­ter­noon and over 165 peo­ple came out for it,” he says.

If you va­ca­tion south of the bor­der in the win­ter months, Sonoma Pines al­ready has one ded­i­cated RV stor­age lot and is con­sid­er­ing build­ing an­other.

Sonoma Pines is ad­ja­cent to the Two Ea­gles golf course, but not ac­tu­ally part of the de­vel­op­ment. It’s close to Okana­gan Lake, sev­eral re­gional parks, and some of the re­gion’s most renowned vine­yards, but prices don’t re­flect the pre­mium paid for water­front prop­erty or lux­ury golf prop­er­ties found else­where in the re­gion.

Styles says, “Many of the peo­ple pur­chas­ing here are fairly cost-con­scious; they might live on a fixed in­come of some kind and might have had their RRSP in­vest­ments re­cently com­pro­mised.”

Sonoma Pines of­fers well­built homes — many with out­stand­ing views — in a quiet, con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion.

But not all of them are the clas­sic near-re­tire­ment baby boomers. “We’re also at­tract­ing some younger pro­fes­sion­als looking at their very first home pur­chase. There are no age re­stric­tions at Sonoma Pines — th­ese are peo­ple who looked around and couldn’t find bet­ter value in new home real es­tate,” Styles ex­plains.

Re­gard­less of age, sales at Sonoma Pines have bucked trends else­where in the In­te­rior — 37 homes have been sold so far this year, and that has come without any dis­count­ing.

John and Jean Robins moved into their Sonoma Pines town­house back in April. John, a re­tired sales ex­ec­u­tive from Wal­nut Grove in Lan­g­ley, and his wife Jean looked at a lot of sec­ond home com­mu­ni­ties in the Okana­gan and on Van­cou­ver Is­land be­fore choos­ing Sonoma Pines.

“It’s just a 3.5 hour drive from Lan­g­ley to West Kelowna, so it’s easy to see our chil­dren and grand­kids, who still live in the Fraser Val­ley,” John ex­plains.

“We re­ally thought it would be more ex­pen­sive than it is. It has more than lived up to our ex­pec­ta­tions for value.”

The Robins also ap­pre­ci­ate Sonoma Pines con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion in the new West Kelowna com­mu­nity. “It’s close to ev­ery- thing that you could pos­si­bly want . . . and it’s in­cred­i­bly quiet, too.”

The town homes at Sonoma Pines might of­fer the ba­sics, but there’s an enor­mous amount of value in the stain­less steel ap­pli­ance pack­age, stained, flat panel style kitchen cab­i­nets with lam­i­nate counter tops, and the floor­ing com­bi­na­tion of both ce­ramic (kitchen, en­try foyer, all baths and laun­dry) and car­pet (liv­ing room, bed­rooms).

Other ameni­ties in­clude air con­di­tion­ing and nine-foot ceil­ings. The spa­cious open plan can also ac­com­mo­date a home of­fice. Heated walk­out base­ments can be fin­ished to add ex­tra space, and there are con­nec­tions for a gas bar­be­cue on the deck and an in­te­rior cen­tral vacuum sys­tem as well. While the ba­sics for a great sec­ond home are there, op­tions ex­ist to add gran­ite counter tops, hard­wood floor­ing and fin­ished base­ments. All Sonoma Pines home pur­chasers are of­fered a pri­vate ap­point­ment with a lo­cal in­te­rior de­signer to cre­ate their ver­sions of the per­fect va­ca­tion get­away.

Sonoma Pines sits on land leased from the lo­cal West­bank First Na­tions band, which has helped to keep prices af­ford­able. “Over 250 Sonoma Pines home­own­ers have looked very closely at the lease agree­ment and are happy with the ar­range­ment,” Styles com­ments. The de­vel­oper will be­gin sell­ing Phase 7 res­i­dences in Septem­ber.

The liv­ing room of the Mon­terey model within the de­vel­op­ment.

Pho­tos, Van­cou­ver Sun

Sonoma Pines is a multi-phase, new home com­mu­nity in West Kelowna on Okana­gan Lake that’s lo­cated on West­bank First Na­tion land. The town­houses the de­vel­oper is now sell­ing start at $329,900 — an ask­ing price that re­flects the lease­hold sta­tus of each...

The el­e­gant yet func­tional kitchen within the Del Monaco model.

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