Couple warms up to Desert Ridge
Albertans find right mix of easy access and amenities in Toscana project in Arizona
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 ridge.com. 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 corporation.com
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.
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.