Falling in love with Lakestone
Albertans attracted to British Columbia’s picturesque Lake Country properties
Last September, Calgarians Mike and Cynthia Tremblay were having a glass of wine overlooking Italy’s Tuscan vineyards.
“I said ‘this is where I want to retire,’” says Mike. My wife’s reply was: “Yes, it looks a lot like the Okanagan without the lakes.”
Right then, the eventual retirement plans shifted from Italy back to British Columbia.
And just last month, the Tremblays became owners of a lakeview lot in the Lakestone community.
It is no surprise Calgary is the “hottest postal code” for buyers in the new project in B.C.’s Lake Country, midway between Vernon and Kelowna.
Jason Koverchuk, director of sales and marketing for the 550-acre Lakestone development, says he expects more than 50 per cent of buyers in the newest phases of the project will come from Alberta — most from Calgary.
“The lake views are a big attraction and part of the whole Okanagan experience. When you have a place here you feel like you are on vacation,” he says.
“There are vineyards to the north and south and you can watch the sailboats going down to Kelowna.”
Macdonald Development Corp. launched Lakestone’s Waterside neighbourhood less than a year ago to test the market.
It had a target of $4.5 million in sales before servicing the land, and beginning construction on its $3.5 million resident-only Lake Club amenity. The Club will have a fitness centre, entertainment areas, outdoor swimming pool, lake access and storage for kayaks and paddleboards.
It reached the target in just over 90 days, Koverchuk says. It sold out Phase 1, has only six lots left in Phase 2 and has already sold 10 of the 34 lots in Phase 3, after launching that phase this June.
In 2006, Lakestone was proposed initially by another Vancouver-based company as a resort community with a vineyard, golf course, hotel, marina and half-acre lots.
When the financial crisis hit in 2008, more than $50 million had already been spent on the project.
Macdonald Development Corp., which has projects in B.C. and Alberta, including awardwinning Watermark in Calgary — ended up purchasing the property by paying the bank debt in 2011.
Under the new project design, there is no golf course or vineyard and the lots are a quarter acre in size.
Prices have also been substantially adjusted.
Developed on a sloping hillside, with winding roads leading down to Okanagan Lake, every current lot has an unobstructed lake view. Most range in price from $195,000 to $360,000, compared to $750,000 to $2 million in 2006.
All services are installed and lots are build ready.
The project’s theme is “Come Home to the Lake,” says Koverchuk. It’s apt because most potential buyers are looking at possibly retiring within five years and meanwhile, can still work and commute — especially since the Kelowna airport is only 15 minutes away.
“Most of the buyers we have seen are empty-nesters downsizing or are buying what for now will be a recreation home, and eventually a retirement home.”
The Tremblays, both in the transportation industry, take possession of their property next year and then have two years to build.
They plan to have a home built by summer 2018, when they are closer to retirement, says Mike, 51.
Until retirement, it will be a vacation home.
“We love the wineries, the warmer weather. We want to get away from the cold to where flowers are growing in April.”
Koverchuk says Phase 1 and two lots were snapped up mostly by local residents who were watching the economy recover, and wanted to downsize as their children moved out. Phase 3 has seen the influx of Calgarians.
Design guidelines for the West Coast Contemporary custom built homes will see houses averaging 3,000 to 3,500 square feet in total while bungalows with walkouts, will have an additional 600 square feet of outdoor living space. Natural colours and a mix of stone, wood and glass will be part of design features, along with lower pitched roofs.
A list of preferred builders is provided to buyers. Lakestone will have two showhomes available on site by next spring.
Koverchuk expects Phase 3 of Waterside could be sold out by Thanksgiving (late August and September are prime Okanagan selling periods) with Phase 4 of the project slated for release in spring 2015.
Residents of the Lakestone development get to enjoy this view of Okanagan Lake. Calgary is the “hottest postal code” for buyers in B.C.’s Lake Country.
Developed on a sloping hillside, Lakestone offers lake views from all of its lots.