Toscana attracts Calgary snowbirds
Golf-loving couple ‘ blown away’ by Arizona project and bought a two-bedroom unit on the spot
The l ast t i me Calgarians Brenda and David Mowbray visited Phoenix, they came home with a very exciting souvenir — the title to a new vacation home.
“We hope to have it (possession) in the middle of January,” Brenda says. “We’re like kids in a candy store.”
David i s equally exci t ed about the two bedroom-plusden unit that’s nearing completion in Statesman Group’s Toscana at Desert Ridge in Scottsdale.
“We’ve visited Phoenix a few times and were watching advertisements for Toscana in the paper here in Calgary for quite a while. We thought ‘let’s see if we can stay there,’ ” says David, who is retired and waiting for his better half to step back from her IT job in the oil and gas sector.
The Mowbrays love to golf and be active. They’ve travelled across the Southwestern U.S. and briefly considered Hawaii, but Arizona caught their attention for one big reason: It’s only three hours away by air.
After a short vacation at Toscana, where they “test drove” the community and reviewed plans for the resort phase, the Mowbrays were “blown away” by the project and bought a unit on the spot.
“We never meant to do that, but that’s what we came home with,” Brenda says. “We were looking at the market and realizing it had already bottomed and was on the way back up. We thought if we were ever going to buy, this might be the time. Plus, we trusted Statesman, being a Canadian company with a good reputation. We had concerns about buying in the U.S., but the salesman answered our questions no matter what they were. He was remarkable.”
Toscana at Desert Ridge was launched in 2006 and even during the global market downturn, the property held its value. On the resort side, the first phase is 45 per cent sold out, with 115 units ready for occupancy in 2015. Eventually there will be 400 units, in a variety of one- and two-bedroom floor plans, spread across four buildings. Each suite offers luxury finishes such as quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and wine chillers and each will be completely furnished and accessorized down to the hangers.
On-site management is available to rent out units on behalf of owners to generate revenue when they’re away, but Alana Mann, president of the Statesman Group of Companies, says it is not a rental pool.
“We are offering full ownership with no lease restrictions. It’s a new concept that’s been on the vision palette for Toscana.”
Mann said residential accommodation that’s offered for rent by the night or week, like a hotel, is actually against zoning and usually, condo association rules.
Statesman was able to obtain an exemption permit and Toscana resort owners are free to offer their homes to travellers.
“Similar communities in places like Florida and California have lots of restrictions — you can only use it two months out of the year or just four weeks in the summer months. We don’t have that. It’s an individual rental program with each individual unit owner — opt in or opt out — the owners love that. No one else is doing this in Arizona,” she says.
In response to owner feedback, Toscana offers a higher level of personal service and security, including a 24-hour-a-day guard at the front gate and night managers. There is a gym, the pool is heated year round and there is a market place on-site for snacks, refreshments and sundry items.
“We ask our owners every year what they like about Toscana and they say that it’s the staff. They love having people serving people. It provides a level of customer service you don’t see in condominiums. And they value the extra security — they love that their asset is protected,” says Mann.
Brenda Mowbray appreciates the extra security at Toscana.
“You get a bracelet when you’re there so they know you belong on the property. And the 24-hour concierge desk was a big selling feature. They will do almost anything for you — arrange a bus trip, make a restaurant reservation, arrange pickup at the airport — they take care of everything,” she says.
Because Brenda is still working, the Mowbrays will likely get away to Phoenix just three or four times a year. They find it easy to get there from Calgary and with so many Canadians in the area, they feel very much at home. Eventually, they can see themselves spending the worst of the Alberta winter in Arizona.
“Maybe not for six months though. We’re still embedded Canadians,” says David.
David and Brenda Mowbray of Calgary are looking forward to taking possession of their vacation home in Arizona, which is only three hours away by air.
The Toscana of Desert Ridge Resort features an outdoor pool that’s heated year round.
Toscana of Desert Ridge offers an individual rental program.