Toscana at­tracts Cal­gary snow­birds

Golf-loving cou­ple ‘ blown away’ by Ari­zona project and bought a two-bed­room unit on the spot

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - CINDY STEPHEN

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.

Adrian Shellard/For the Cal­gary Her­ald

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.

Pho­tos: States­man Group of Com­pa­nies

The Toscana of Desert Ridge Re­sort fea­tures an out­door pool that’s heated year round.

Toscana of Desert Ridge of­fers an in­di­vid­ual rental pro­gram.

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