Lots of “firsts” in city’s rapidly developing west hill

Tyler Clarke
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The ground broke on 24-unit Lakes Edge Condominiums in the Lake Esates gated community in Prince Albert on Tuesday.

While a pile driver drove poles deep into the ground to support a 24-unit condominium building’s foundation, several groups of sweaty workers framed nearby houses and prepared yards for grass.

“What another great development for our city,” Mayor Greg Dionne said, punctuated by the pile driver’s loud thuds.

“What I like about it is that it’s done by all these local developers who’ve come together to do this project, and it’s just great.”

Things are busy at Lake Estates.

Only a few years in and 24 villas (attached bungalow-style condominiums) have been constructed, of which about half face the city’s first artificial lake.

About 65 per cent of the 1600 to 1300 square-foot units, advertised at $399,000 and $499,000 (plus GST), have sold thus far.

Tuesday’s ground breaking ceremony marked the beginning of a year long construction project called Lakes Edge Condominiums.

The units are far from “just the basic,” RE/MAX sales associate David Harradence clarified, noting that the building boasts a number of Prince Albert firsts.

In addition to is proximity to the city’s first-ever artificial lakes, the building is the first condominium to have an acrylic stucco and stone exterior.

Its windows are triple-pane with argon gas and low-E film, which deflects ultraviolet rays.

Each unit has hardwood and ceramic tile floors, stainless steel appliances, nine-foot ceilings and their own forced air heating and central air conditioning units.

This level of finesse is a first, Harradence said, noting that the building’s additional hotel room-style unit for guests is another Prince Albert first.

“If you have family to come and visit you, they can have supper with you and go back to their hotel room suite for the night where they can stay comfortable and not really live with you,” Harradence explained.

The condominium has another Prince Albert first on its hands within the Lake Estates gated community it was constructed within.

“This is the first planned community,” Harradence said. “Of course, the lake is a centerpiece, but the nice thing is that you have a consistency of price …  You’re not getting into a situation where you have condo units worth $300,000 and then you’re surrounded by houses worth $250,000.”

Of course, the lake is a centerpiece, but the nice thing is that you have a consistency of price … You’re not getting into a situation where you have condo units worth $300,000 and then you’re surrounded by houses worth $250,000. David Harradence

As of Tuesday, six of its 24 units have already sold, he said -- very unusual for Prince Albert.

“Typically, people have to see construction occurring before they believe that the project is actually going to go ahead,” he said.

To its benefit is the fact that the project’s group of four developers -- Curtis Lemieux, Glenn Wozniak, Scott Bridge and Chris Knutson -- are all local, which adds a level of trust, Dionne said.

Called a “10 to 15” year project last year, Wozniak’s latest estimate for the Lake Estates development is “10 to 12.”

This development presently includes the 24 villa-style bungalow homes (65 per cent sold), the 24-unit condominium (under construction, six sold) and 40 lots (five left to develop).

An additional 19 lots pend city council approval.

Sharing a laugh with developers at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Dionne said that he has no doubt city council will support the addition.

Beyond that, they expect to fit in another 90 lots within Lake Estates’ 70 or so acres of land.

“We’re trying to keep up with demand,” he said, noting that demand has continued to boom -- even for the luxury-grade buildings and lots up for sale at Lake Estates.

Back in 2007, the average Prince Albert residential selling price was $93,000, Harradence said.

A couple years later it had risen to $180,000 and it has continued to bump up every year.

At his most recent count, the average house price in Prince Albert has jumped seven per cent since the beginning of 2014, bringing it to between $240,000 and $250,000.

Harradence said that he has no doubts regarding the success of Lakes Edge Condominiums, citing a persistent demand over the past couple decades for such units, and an increasing demand for higher-scale units such as the ones being offered.

“For the last 20 years what we’ve seen in Prince Albert is that … 24 units is about the standard for most developers, and we’ve probably had one built every four years since about 1994.”

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Lake Estates

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