Predator captures heart of Calgarian
Buyer makes Predator Ridge, B.C., main residence, with condo in city
WVERNON, B.C. hen oil and gas analyst Morgan Grant started looking for a second home two to three years ago, he thought his main base would continue to be in Calgary, with his vacation property in the Okanagan. All that changed last fall. “I had a nice home in Calgary, but it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I had it backwards,” says Grant, 51.
The oil industry veteran had already narrowed his search for an Okanagan place to Predator Ridge resort near Vernon. “I had a 2,500-square-foot, four-bedroom home (in Calgary), but my twins were ready to move out,” he says. “So, I thought I should have a primary house at Predator Ridge and, if I wanted, a condo in Calgary.”
So, last fall, he purchased an openplan villa overlooking Birdie Lake on the Predator property, taking possession this past April.
The now “semi-retired” Calgarian says he loves it at Predator Ridge, which is just a 15-minute drive fromVernon or a 20-to 30-minute drive from the Kelowna airport.
“The people are friendly and they did a great job on my house — they did everything the way I wanted,” says Grant.
Also high on the Calgarian’s wish list was access to golf — and that he has certainly found at Predator Ridge.
The development has two courses — the year-old Ridge course (which was named best new course in Canada by SCOREGolf ) and the links-style Predator course, designed by Les Furber, which has been given a 4.5-star rating by Golf Digest, the highest designation given in Canada.
Grant is by no means unusual in this Okanagan Valley resort. Thirty-eight per cent of buyers to date have come from Albert.
Most buyers are purchasing with the intention of retiring to Predator and making it their principal residence, says Brad Pelletier, vice-president for the Okanagan region for Predator Ridge developer Wesbild.
Fifty-four per cent of buyers come from B.C. itself, with eight per cent coming from out of country or from the rest of Canada.
The fact B.C. residents just voted to repeal the dreaded Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which had added taxes to recreational property, may also help sales to Albertans who had backed away from buying in B.C. during the economic downturn.
The resort community, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has myriad housing options in its 10 neighbourhoods — from townhomes and fractional condo ownership to golf villas, view lots (of mountains, lakes, and golf courses) and estate homes.
One of the newest options is Falcon Point Estates with 10 view lots of about an acre each.
The most secluded of the housing areas in Predator Ridge, at the top of Falcon Point, the estate property lots start at $429,000 and there are options that offer views to either Lake Okanagan or Kalamalka Lake, through the whole Coldwater Valley, and over the two golf courses.
The project also recently opened a show home on site for the Longspoon Ridge neighbourhood, the first in Predator to have views of Okanagan Lake.
The Preston show home floor plan has four bedrooms, three bathrooms at 2,582 square feet of living space, that includes the walkout basement.
Pelletier says while the market slowed in the Okanagan with the recent economic downtown and with the B.C. government’s controversial HST, that market is coming back.
Wesbild Holdings Ltd. was formed in 1981 and is a privately held real estate development company. It is a subsidiary of Inwest Investments Ltd., which founded and owned Future Shop until the retail chain was sold to Best Buy in 2001.
Wesbild’s three residential land development
As Albertans look toward inexpensive properties in Arizona for second homes, he says Predator Ridge is a complement to those purchases, not a competitor.
“Arizona is about golf; the Okanagan is about golf, wineries and water. You can spend the summers here with your children and grandchildren and winter in Phoenix.”
Pelletier says Predator continues to dominate the resort category in the
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“A lot of high end projects have gone into foreclosure; this one is growing. I have gone coast to coast and this absolutely leads in the golf, resort and community categories.”
And, he says, most people are buying at Predator with the intention of retiring there and having it as their principal residence.
He says Wesbild continues to invest in the project now and during the economic downturn.
It spent $10.5 million over the last several years on infrastructure, including the Ridge golf course, along with an expansion of the 12 kilometres of walking, hiking and biking trails, to allow 365-day use with crosscountry ski trails.
This was added to the already existing amenities of the resort lodge, the Predator golf course — complete with a clubhouse area that includes the Range restaurant (with a full patio overlooking the courses) and the Cup Cafe and Market, as well as the 10,000-square-foot f itness centre complete with a 25-metre lap pool.
Smaller outdoor pools are located throughout the resort.
Predator is only a quarter of the way to completion.
It will have more than 2,100 homes at full build out, which will likely be more than 15 plus years down the road, depending on the market.
Alberta, Pelletier says, will continue to be a prime market for Predator buyers, but he expects southeastern Ontario, with its seven million people, will also be interested in what is a destination resort.
“We make magic here. You can be sitting on the restaurant patio at dusk, and the golfers are spread out laughing. It’s the resort, the environment — the whole package.”
For Morgan Grant, Preda- projects in B.C. are Predator Ridge, Turtle Mountain in Vernon and Burke Mountain in Coquitlam.
It also owns and operates seven shopping centres, and develops and manages condo projects and rental apartment buildings.
Visit tor is somewhere his kids can come to happily visit and where the amenities he enjoys — the golf course, the fitness centre, the hiking trails — are already in place, instead of something a developer is still promising to build.
Above, one of the show homes in Predator Ridge. The resort project is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Its 10 neighbourhoods offer everything from townhomes to golf villas. Left, the view overlooking Hole 6 of The Ridge golf course in the...
Morgan Grant, who had his main home in Calgary, decided to live in a villa in Predator Ridge, B.C. — and in a condo when he visits the city.
PLENTY OF IRONS IN THE FIRE
Brad Pelletier, vice-president for the Okanagan Region for Predator Ridge developer Wesbild.