OLDS — The economic downturn may have curbed the public’s appetite for new housing. But the developer of a sizeable residential project on the west side of Olds is pushing forward.
Leaside Development owns 7.75 acres north and east of the Cornerstone Shopping Centre.
It’s already built a three-storey apartment condominium on the property — which is called Cornerstone Village — and is working on a dozen duplex “villa bungalows.”
“The show homes should be ready in about 30 days,” said Leaside vice-president Brian Honeywell, who operates the company with business partner Mike Page.
Honeywell said about three-quarters of the finished condominium’s 36 units have been sold.
Two similar buildings are planned, for a total of 108 units; as well as 38 villa bungalows.
“As we get contracts, we will continue to build them out.”
Also proposed is a community centre.
Leaside had expected to build some lower-priced townhouses as well, but has opted to dedicate that land to villa bungalows.
“The market simply wasn’t there,” said Honeywell, noting that the recession and downturn in the oilpatch deterred many of the young buyers that the townhouses were geared toward.
The villa bungalows, which will be maintenance free, appeal to buyers in the 40- to 60-year-old range, he said.
The condominium apartment, which is an adult-only building, has attracted an even older demographic.
“I would suggest that our average age there is in the 60s and 70s,” said Honeywell, describing how many people are relocating to Olds from throughout the region.
“There’s an inordinate number of people coming off the land, coming out of the smaller towns,” he said, listing Rocky Mountain House, Sundre, Water Valley, Cremona, Crossfield, Innisfail, Bowden, Three Hills, Trochu and even Calgary as among the communities from which buyers have come.
“Olds enjoys being the centre of a bull’s-eye, if you will.”
The town’s growing retail sector, particularly major stores now found at Cornerstone Shopping Centre, and other amenities — including a hospital with 24/7 emergency service — appeals to many seniors, said Honeywell. And the parents of many local residents are migrating to the community to be closer to children and grandchildren, he added.
Leaside, which is based in Olds, previously developed Legacy Village on the east side of town.