A flurry of sales in recent weeks has transformed Sierras Michener Hill from concept to construction site.
On Wednesday, Medican Developments owner Wes Reinheller presided over a sod-turning ceremony for the 248-unit condominium at Michener Hill Village. The decision to start work on the four-storey building was motivated by local sales staff closing 25 deals — the minimum required for work on the first 52-suite phase to begin.
“In Canada, to have 13 sales in two weeks is unbelievable,” said Reinheller of recent activity that pushed sales past the threshold.
“There haven’t been many construction starts in Western Canada. This is probably one of the first ones in a year.”
Sierras Michener Hill will be constructed adjacent to Extendicare Canada’s continuing care facility at Michener Hill Village, much of which has already been completed. The two buildings will be linked, allowing Medican residents to eat in the Extendicare building if they choose.
“This is a brand new vision, connecting our Sierras condos to a care facility,” said Reinheller, adding that the concept will now be duplicated elsewhere.
“We’re working with Extendicare in Edmonton and Lethbridge with a similar project, but this is the launch. This is the beginning of where people can age in place.”
The proximity of the two Red Deer facilities should appeal to many people, he said.
“The parents can live on one side and their kids can live on the condo side, or if a spouse gets sick, the spouse can move over to the other side and they can visit all day long.”
Glenn Marty, Medican’s local sales manager, confirmed that several buyers have bought units in Sierras Michener Hill with the expectation that their spouses will live in the Extendicare building.
Restricted to occupants aged 40 or older, the Medican condominium will contain suites ranging from 775 to 1,805 square feet. The first phase will include a fitness centre, billiards room, library, hot tub and sauna.
“We’ll try to get the people in by Dec. 1 on the first phase, and hopefully we’ll get going on our second phase here next year,” said Reinheller.
He said the budget for the entire project is about $50 million, a figure that’s been reduced by the building slowdown.
“Construction costs are down 10, 15 per cent, which helps.”
Reinheller led a delegation of about a dozen people from Medican’s head office in Medicine Hat to Red Deer for the ceremony. He said his company has enjoyed good success in the city, with Sierras Michener Hill its fourth adult condominium here.
“All of our products have done really well here in Red Deer,” he said, praising the city and its development department for their support over the years.
“We’re working in about 20 cities now, and Red Deer is just at the top of the list in terms of co-operation.”
In addition to the Medican condominium, townhouses are also planned for Michener Hill Village.