Cou­ple warms up to Desert Ridge

Al­ber­tans find right mix of easy ac­cess and ameni­ties in Toscana project in Ari­zona

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - CLAIRE YOUNG

Vir­ginia and Danny Wong wanted a warm spot to es­cape from the cold Al­berta winters — an easy-to-ac­cess des­ti­na­tion with plenty of en­ter­tain­ment, din­ing and shop­ping.

While the Ed­mon­ton cou­ple had friends with prop­er­ties in Palm Springs, Calif., it didn’t hold quite the right vibe for them.

They de­cided to take a close look at the bright desert lights of Las Ve­gas, Nev.

“We were in­trigued by Ve­gas,” says Vir­ginia.

“Las Ve­gas has a lot of things go­ing on — flights are easy to get to, lots of shows and lots of restau­rants. “But it didn’t quite work out.” As he was read­ing the week­end news­pa­per, Danny saw an ad­ver­tise­ment for Toscana of Desert Ridge in Ari­zona.

“My hus­band said, ‘Let’s go check out Phoenix. ’

“It’s easy to get to — it’s a di­rect flight; three hours and you’re there,” she says.

The cou­ple booked a four­day va­ca­tion to visit the area in 2010 and checked out a va­ri­ety of hous­ing types with a real­tor, from sin­gle-fam­ily homes and town­homes to con­dos.

“We got to Toscana on the se­cond day,” says Vir­ginia. “We saw the show suite and liked what we saw, so we bought in right then.”

The build­ings, land­scap­ing, heated pools and on-site man­age­ment — along with prox­im­ity to shop­ping, restau­rants, golf and en­ter­tain­ment — made Toscana an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion.

The Wongs bought an Athena unit, which of­fers a twobed­room-plus-den floor plan con­tain­ing slightly less than 1,400 square feet.

The cou­ple en­joy the place so much dur­ing the eight to 10 weeks per year they are us­ing it that they re­cently pur­chased a se­cond unit as an in­vest­ment. It’s in the Toscana Re­sort Con­dos, a new sec­tion of Toscana that re­cently be­gan sales.

The Re­sort Con­dos con­sist of four build­ings of apart­ments to­talling 115 units. There are plans for a small re­tail space, too, in­clud­ing a min­i­mart.

The Wongs bought a three­bed­room unit in Toscana Re­sort Con­dos to di­ver­sify their in­vest­ments.

They use their first condo for them­selves and plan to use the three-bed­room unit strictly for rental through a va­ca­tion rental man­age­ment pro­gram run on-site, al­though they could oc­cupy it at any time for their own use.

The fact that the project was de­vel­oped by Cal­gary-based States­man Group of Com­pa­nies was a de­cided plus to the Wongs.

“We wouldn’t have gone ahead un­less we knew the peo­ple, be­cause it’s a States­man project,” says Vir­ginia.

They were im­pressed with how States­man took care of any con­cerns they had with their first unit.

“When you’re deal­ing with good peo­ple, it makes all the dif­fer­ence in the world,” says

MVisit our web­site un­der the head­ing, ‘Rec Prop­er­ties,’ for more pho­tos and sto­ries. Vir­ginia.

“We feel very re­laxed. It’s al­ways well-main­tained and well-kept, and the team of peo­ple they have re­ally takes care of the res­i­dents.”

While in Ari­zona, the cou­ple en­joys shop­ping, din­ing out and vis­it­ing with friends.

“We have a lot of friends who own prop­er­ties down there,” says Vir­ginia. “We don’t get to see each other a lot in Ed­mon­ton be­cause we’re all busy, but when we’re down there, we get to­gether.”

Con­struc­tion started in Novem­ber on the first of the four Toscana Re­sort Con­dos build­ings. A fully fur­nished show suite re­cently opened, al­low­ing visi­tors to see and feel what the units will look like.

Be­sides the warm desert cli­mate, Cal­gar­i­ans love Ari­zona in part be­cause the cost of liv­ing is af­ford­able and it’s a rel­a­tively short and di­rect flight away, says Alana Mann of the States­man Group of Com­pa­nies.

“In Ari­zona — un­like some of the other va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tions in the U.S. — you al­most have guar­an­teed sun­shine,” she says. “Even when it’s a lit­tle brisk out­side, the sun shines. Last year, we had al­most 330 days of sun.”

The Toscana Re­sort Con­dos build on the pop­u­lar one-, twoand three-bed­room plans of the res­i­den­tial units in the ear­lier sec­tion of the de­vel­op­ment, which sold out last year.

States­man took com­ments from own­ers in the ear­lier build­ings and made al­ter­ations for the Toscana Re­sort Con­dos. An ex­tra half-bath­room with a shower was in­cluded in the one-bed­room plans, the kitchen was made a lit­tle larger in some of the two-bed­room units, and the raised eat­ing bar was low­ered, mak­ing it an ex­tended ledge on the kitchen is­lands.

“We got so many peo­ple ask­ing for a lit­tle wine/ bev­er­age cooler cen­tre that we added that in the is­land, which is in­cluded in the pur­chase price of ev­ery one of the units,” says Mann.

“That’s nice be­cause peo­ple are com­ing here to re­lax, so at night, they may want to have a glass of wine or a cold bev­er­age on the pa­tio.”

The one-bed­room units start at about 800 square feet and sleep four peo­ple com­fort­ably.

Such units in­clude one-anda-half baths, with a shower in­cluded in the half-bath. This gives guests some pri­vacy when vis­it­ing.

The rate of re­turn is high­est for this type of unit, which starts at $219,990 US.

The two-bed­room, two full­bath­room units range from 1,230 to nearly 1,600 square feet and com­fort­ably sleep six peo­ple. As the most pop­u­lar unit, they also in­clude a king bed and two twin beds, along with a queen pull­out bed in the great room.

Such units start at $269,900 US. Prices in­clude all fur­nish­ings, in­clud­ing all kitchen ware.

The three-bed­room plans are close to 1,800 square feet, but are sold out. These units are pop­u­lar for group get­aways, says Mann.

“They’re for ‘man-cations’ or ‘girl-aways,’ where you have the men who want to come down golf­ing or the women want to shop or go for a spa trip,” she says. “It makes for a more friendly va­ca­tion suite.”

Like all the units, the three­bed­room mod­els fea­ture five- star-rated fur­nish­ings.

The in­te­rior de­sign of the Toscana Re­sort Con­dos presents a fresh look.

“We went with a more con­tem­po­rary style, which is more de­sir­able to the Cal­gar­ian,” says Mann.

“It has changed over the years. Peo­ple re­ally used to like the Tus­can, but now I think the clean lines have a per­cep­tion of value. We’ve seen that trend­ing more over the past cou­ple of years over the South­west style.”

Through its VIP ven­dor pro­gram, Toscana has ar­ranged a va­ri­ety of dis­counts for res­i­dents and visi­tors in­volv­ing more than 400 ven­dors, in­clud­ing dis­counts on nearby golf, din­ing, spas, en­ter­tain­ment and car ren­tals.

Mann ex­pects the re­sale value of the units to re­main high, con­sid­er­ing that the de­vel­op­ment has at­tracted buy­ers from across the United States and Canada.

“Other than lo­ca­tion, prob­a­bly one of the top rea­sons peo­ple choose Toscana Re­sort is be­cause of our 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, on-site, full-time prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany,” says Mann. PROJECT: Toscana of Desert Ridge — Toscana Re­sort Con­dos. BUILDER/ DE­VEL­OPER: States­man Group of Com­pa­nies. LO­CA­TION: Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Ariz. PRICES: One be­d­rooms are from $219,900 US, while two-be­d­rooms are from $269,900. To­tal as­so­ci­a­tion fees are about $440 per month. Units are man­aged on-site to gen­er­ate rental in­come. DI­REC­TIONS: Di­rect flights are avail­able from Cal­gary. IN­FOR­MA­TION: Visit the web­site at toscanaofdesert Danny is re­tired and Vir­ginia is an accountant and a part­ner in a money man­age­ment firm. They bought a two-bed­room­plus-den unit in Toscana of Desert Ridge in 2010 as a get­away. They liked the de­vel­op­ment so much that they pur­chased a three-bed­room unit in the new Toscana Re­sort Con­dos as an in­vest­ment prop­erty. The States­man Group of Com­pa­nies, founded in Cal­gary by Garth Mann, has been de­vel­op­ing prop­er­ties around North Amer­ica for al­most half a cen­tury. The com­pany de­vel­ops and builds con­dos and re­sorts. It also does manor vil­lages, which cater to se­niors. In Cal­gary, the Cougar Ridge and Groves of Var­sity de­vel­op­ments are cur­rently un­der­way. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit states­man cor­po­ra­

States­man Group of Com­pa­nies

Toscana of Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Ariz., — which is be­ing de­vel­oped by Cal­gary-based States­man Group of Com­pa­nies — is lo­cated close to golf and shop­ping.

Pho­tos: States­man Group of Com­pa­nies

Toscana of Desert Ridge near Phoenix, Ariz., in­cludes ameni­ties such as heated out­door pools and 24/7 on-site prop­erty man­age­ment.

The kitchen in a unit shows how the de­vel­oper’s de­sign has shifted to more mod­ern lines.

One of two golf cour­ses at the Toscana of Desert Ridge project.

Pa­tios are pop­u­lar in a desert area that’s al­most al­ways sunny.

Above, res­i­dents get to en­joy the gym. Right, the in­te­rior of a unit in the project.

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