People, wheels can come together

Put a group of guys together, and the conversation will often gravitate to cars, boats, motorcycles, ATVs, RVs and/or snowmobiles.

Put a group of guys together, and the conversation will often gravitate to cars, boats, motorcycles, ATVs, RVs and/or snowmobiles.

In Jason Volk’s neighbourhood, one of these group discussions evolved into an exchange concerning the lack of storage space for such items.

Talk turned to action, and now five local businessmen, including Volk, are developing Wheelhouse Garage.

Slated for construction in McKenzie Industrial Business Park, just south of Red Deer, Wheelhouse Garage will consist of 27 garage condominiums.

These will range in size from about 1,200 to 2,200 square feet, and give their owners an off-site option for storing vehicles and other prized possessions.

With features like electrical and gas service, roughed-in washrooms, heating systems, 24/7 video surveillance, large windows and semi-transparent overhead doors, the bays will be suitable for other uses, said Volk, who listed a private gaming area and a theatre room as possible options.

Volk, who is CEO of Chatters Canada Ltd., said the seed for the idea germinated on the street where he lives.

“Three of my neighbours that live at the end of my close, they are all into fixing up hot-rod cars. They’re always out on the street and meeting and going to show and shines.”

One of those neighbours described how he’d put a car lift in his garage and was adding a second to accommodate his vehicles. The group agreed that storage space elsewhere would relieve a lot of headaches.

“The four of us got talking about it and decided we’d form a partnership and see if we could put this together,” said Volk.

Three of those individuals, plus two other local businessmen, started Wheelhouse Garage. Those partners — Volk, Bill Robinson, Shannon Moench, Dan Jackson and Wade Michalenko — now expect to begin construction next month and have units available for occupancy before the end of this year.

Similar projects have been undertaken in Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds, but Volk thinks there is a strong appetite for another on Red Deer’s outskirts. Wheelhouse Garage will provide more than storage, he stressed.

“This is a little more of a community, where you go there on Saturday, and I suspect there will be 10 or 12 bays occupied and guys out in the parking lot working on their cars and visiting, and a barbecue going on.”

Community areas within the gated compound should promote such interaction, said Volk.

“We’re certainly trying to make it more of a lifestyle than just a place to store your boat.”

The bays will have 20-foot ceilings, allowing for plenty of vertical development.

“You can actually but in a mezzanine, and put in a vehicle lift under the mezzanine,” said Volk.

Prices range from $230,000 to $399,000, with 11 of the units already sold, including five to the partners behind Wheelhouse Garage. The prices, said Volk, reflect the quality of the development.

The builder will be Robinson’s company, Sorento Custom Homes.

Volk thinks Alberta’s economic prosperity is fueling demand for off-site garages. The men behind Wheelhouse Garage are already contemplating expansion elsewhere in the province.

“We see, potentially, a Wheelhouse Garage in other markets, like Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Okotoks.”

Additional information about Wheelhouse Garage can be found online at wheelhousegarage.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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