Okana­gan dream for sale

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties -

At one point dur­ing the sum­mer, Jim Wilkin of Ed­mon­ton had 14 peo­ple stuffed into his three­bed­room cot­tage at La Casa Cot­tage Re­sort in West Kelowna.

“That’s just the way we like it,” says Wilkin with a laugh.

“When­ever we can get three gen­er­a­tions to­gether to en­joy the lake and weather, it’s a good time.”

To bring the head count to 14, Wilkin and his wife had all five of their grown chil­dren vis­it­ing with their sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers, plus their two grand­chil­dren.

“That’s why it’s im­por­tant to us to have our own fully de­tached cot­tage,” says Wilkin.

“Plus, it was af­ford­able and there’s no main­te­nance. My wife came out here in late June and I don’t know when I’m go­ing to be able to drag her back to Ed­mon­ton.”

So far, 65 per cent of the buy­ers of the 250 cot­tages sold at La Casa are from Al­berta.

They are at­tracted by the fa­mous sunny, hot and dry Okana­gan sum­mers on 160-kilo­me­tre-long Okana­gan Lake.

La Casa has a prime piece of that lakeshore with a 40-hectare moun­tain­side prop­erty that in­cludes 630 me­tres of beach on the west side of the lake half­way be­tween West Kelowna and Ver­non.

The Wilkins passed the La Casa site ev­ery time they’d come to the Okana­gan to use their time share at nearby Lake Okana­gan Re­sort.

“We de­cided to buy and have our own cot­tage at La Casa be­cause the two weeks at the time share just wasn’t enough,” ex­plains Wilkins. “We’re al­ready us­ing it a lot and will prob­a­bly spend six months a year here when I re­tire.”

The 250 cot­tages al­ready built and oc­cu­pied at La Casa in­clude lake­front beau­ties worth as much as $900,000 and cot­tages around the pool and on the hill­side with lake views start­ing at $349,000.

So far, five cot­tages are built and for sale for im­me­di­ate oc­cu­pancy.

They are three-bed­room 1,076-square-foot mod­els priced at $349,000, which is $120,000 less than the orig­i­nal $469,000 ask­ing price.

“Like most de­vel­op­ers who went through the re­ces­sion, we had a lot of in­ven­tory and we’re try­ing to clear it,” says Trent Black­well, the di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing at La Casa de­vel­oper Azura Man­age­ment Corp. in Van­cou­ver.

“These are in­cred­i­bly well­lo­cated and well-built cot­tages that be­cause of the cir­cum­stance just hap­pen to be dis­count priced. Re­ally there will never be a bet­ter time to buy.”

Black­well isn’t just mak­ing a sales pitch.

He also bought a cot­tage at La Casa and he and his fam­ily spend as much time in the sum­mer there as they can.

He’s from Van­cou­ver, where about 20 per cent of La Casa buy­ers are from, but both his neigh­bours are from Ed­mon­ton.

The other 15 per cent of buy­ers at La Casa are from the Okana­gan, mainly Kelowna and Ver­non res­i­dents who want a nearby lake­side get­away.

As the recre­ational prop­erty mar­ket re­bounds, La Casa will con­cen­trate on sell­ing its re­main­ing in­ven­tory and build­ing new cot­tages as buy­ers com­mit with a down pay­ment.

With 250 cot­tages, La Casa is al­ready B.C.’s largest cot­tage re­sort. And it will only get big­ger be­cause full build-out calls for a to­tal of 473 cot­tages.

How­ever, most of the ameni­ties are al­ready built, in­clud­ing an out­door pool, ten­nis court, minigolf course, sand volleyball court, 150-seat movie the­atre, gro­cery and liquor store and two restau­rants — La Cantina and Deli Zoca­los.

A sec­ond out­door pool is go­ing in next year.

And what is a cot­tage devel­op­ment with­out a ma­rina? La Casa has a 70-boat ma­rina with slips avail­able for rent by the sea­son or week and a boat launch.

Own­ers at the re­sort can also put their cot­tage into the rental pool when they are not us­ing it.

Rates range from $225 a night for a lake­view cot­tage and $550 a night for one right on the wa­ter.

Own­ers also get mem­ber­ship in the In­ter­val In­ter­na­tional

Vacation Ex­change Net­work which gives them the op­tion to swap time at La Casa for stays at any one of 2,300 af­fil­i­ated re­sorts in 79 coun­tries.

WEL­COME TO THE CLUB

The out­door pool is just one of the ameni­ties at La Casa, which also in­cludes a ma­rina and a 630-me­tre beach front.

So far, 250 multi-coloured cot­tages hug the lakeshore and moun­tain­side.

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