Preda­tor cap­tures heart of Cal­gar­ian

Buyer makes Preda­tor Ridge, B.C., main res­i­dence, with condo in city

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - BARB LIV­ING­STONE

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

MVisit our web­site un­der the head­ing, ‘Rec Prop­er­ties,’ for more sto­ries and photo gal­leries. Okana­gan.

“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.

Pho­tos, Barb Liv­ingston, Cal­gary Her­ald

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

Barb Liv­ing­stone, Cal­gary Her­ald

Brad Pel­letier, vice-pres­i­dent for the Okana­gan Re­gion for Preda­tor Ridge de­vel­oper Wes­bild.

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