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Most affordable local homes

Last year, when Jason Pender and his development partners bought a five-acre stretch of land in the hills overlooking Okanagan Lake, they did so with the vision to build the most affordable new, single-family homes in the region.

Today, after subdividing the land into 29 new lots, they believe they have succeeded— and people are already starting to take notice.

The new subdivision, The Vines, is a 29-lot community on Inverness Road, resting between the lake and the mountains. About half the lots look out onto the lake, while the others will feature mountain views.

With the land already fully developed, Pender says the homes are quickly getting snapped up, due mostly, the developers believe, to how affordably they’ve been priced.

The Vines entry-level homes are two-storey houses with three bedroom, three bathrooms and a double-car garage, starting at just $499,000.

The entire development, Pender says, is structured to be as cost effective as possible, “without giving anything away on the quality side of construction and finishings.”

Pender says the homes are built with quality in mind, and feature an open concept layout, modern interior finishing and a five-piece appliance package.

“We’re not stretching to grab as much profitability as we possibly can, and just leverage out at the maximum price. We’re just looking to get quality homes built and sold at an affordable price,” he says.

With the average single-family home in the Central Okanagan now topping out at more than $700,000, Pender believes homes at The Vines will be the perfect opportunity to break into Kelowna’s real estate market (before it’s too late), or step up from strata ownership.

And options at The Vines extend beyond the three-bedroom starter home.

Pender says homes can be upgraded to be as big as a six-bedroom, four bathroom, 3,150 square foot house with a full finished basement, that still sells for well under $700,000.

Lots with future homes to be built at The Vines have only been on the market for about a week, but many have already been snapped up.

Realtor Taylor Musseau says she’s seeing incredible interest in the homes, and encourages anyone interested to get in touch as soon as they can.

Pender seconds Musseau’s call, saying if demand stays at this level he may be forced to up the prices of the units. Getting in early, he says, will be the best way to cash in on the value.

For more information, visit The Vines online, or contact Musseau directly at 250-878-2541.

1 night, 5 exclusive wines

Later this summer, a Kelowna restaurant will host a dinner unlike any the city has ever seen.

Only eight people will attend, but those eight attendees will be given an opportunity many wine enthusiasts can only dream of.

La Bussola’s First Growth Dinner will provide a rare opportunity for those people to taste all five of the famed First Growth wines in one night.

As Stephen Hart, the sommelier hosting the dinner, explains, the five first growth wines topped a classification list created at the request of Emperor Napoleon in 1855.

They gained widespread notoriety after appearing in a display of Bordeaux wines at the Universal Exhibition in Paris that year, and have since become some of the most sought-after Bordeaux in the world.

More than a century of demand has pushed their prices to dizzying heights, and the opportunity to taste one of the first growth wines is a rare treat.

Sampling all five in the same night, Hart says, is for many a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Nobody says ‘hey, let’s open up five first-growth wines.’ That’s like saying ‘today we’re going to drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley and Maserati all in one day,’” he says. “This is going to be a very unique event.”

Only eight seats at La Bussola’s exclusive event are available, with tickets selling for $1,500 each.

The night will see the entire restaurant given over the the private dinner, featuring exquisite food prepared by chef and owner Lauretta Coccaro, paired with the first growth wines.

Hart, already a certified sommelier and Bordeaux Master Level candidate, has been training for close to six months to prepare for the evening.

He will take guests through tasting each of the celebrated wines in “an enriching, educational and immersive wine-tasting experience,” explaining both the history and significance of each vintage.

The five vintages La Bussola will serve at the Aug. 28 dinner will be:

1998 Château Lafite-Rothschild;

1997 Château Latour;

1998 Château Margaux;

1996 Château Haut-Brion Pessac Leognan;

1997 Château Mouton Rothschild.

While the dinner promises to be a thrill for the eight lucky attendees, Luigi Coccaro says it’s also making an important statement about fine dining in Kelowna.

Coccaro is the general manager and wine director at La Bussola, and has his WEST diploma in wine and spirits, a designation he shares with less than 10,000 people in the world.

“Normally it would be places like Toronto, New York, Toyko and Beijing hosting this kind of dinner, so our first growth dinner says something about the culinary scene in Kelowna, that we are moving up and becoming more serious,” Coccaro says.

Coccaro points out that his father, Francesco Coccaro, founded La Bussola in 1974. It was the first Italian restaurant in Kelowna, and the fine dining establishment quickly became the largest wine destination in the city.

Francesco has been buying fine wines since the beginning, and La Bussola now boasts a collection of more than 600 wines often garnering awards from publications like Wine Spectator.

The collection is the largest between Vancouver and Calgary, and the retired Francesco still actively helps guide the restaurant’s wine program.

Coccaro says it was his father’s foresight that today gives him the opportunity to uncork all five first growth wines in a single dinner.

For more information on La Bussola, or the first growth dinner, visit www.labussolarestaurant.com.

New homes at The Rise

Things are finally happening at The Rise.

The prime real estate, perched on a sun-drenched slope on the edge of Vernon, has sat more-or-less stagnant for years. But a local developer is about to bring life back to the area, with the release of 14 stunning new villas.

Fresh off his success creating the City of Kelowna’s first “green street,” at Parkside at Clifton Road, developer A.J. Hazzi is on the verge of bringing The Rise lifestyle to 14 new homeowners.

His Vista Villas development features two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot units starting at $299,000, and four-bedroom, semi-detached walk-out villas starting at $499,000.

That kind of pricing, Hazzi says, combined with a unique zoning that makes it entirely legal to rent the homes out through vacation rental sites like Airbnb, make the homes perfect as both an investment property, or for downsizers who want to retain their lifestyle without having to buy a massive home.

“We’re really the only game at town,” Hazzi says. “We’re bringing these homes in at a price mix that’s never been done before. Having two-bedroom units from $299,000, we’ve never seen anything like that up here.”

Hazzi says Vista Villas will be unique to the Rise because he’s been allowed to buck the Tuscan style mandated for the original development, in favour of contemporary modern homes.

“One of the exciting things about Vista Villas it is it doesn’t fall under the design guidelines of the original development, so we get away with a modern, contemporary design, which is way more on trend for this decade,” Hazzi says.

Interest in Vista Villas is beginning to mount, but on July 15 units go on sale at their early bird prices.

Anyone who buys one of the homes this weekend will be gifted a membership to the prestigious Fred Couples signature golf course at The Rise, or $3,000 worth of upgrades to their future home.

Homes at Vista Villas don’t come with any strata fees, and new owners will be able to move in by December.

For a sneak peek at what the Vista Villas homes look like, more information on the development, or for sales inquiries, visit www.vistavillas.ca.

Development battles nature

The developers of the groundbreaking complex set to go up at 2169 Pandosy had started, but Mother Nature has dealt them a painful blow.

The project’s lead designer, Alana Marrington, says the team has been checking the site every few days to see if any work can progress, but complications from Okanagan Lake’s near-record rise this spring continue to stand in their way.

With forms and foundation work ready to go, an excavator is sitting at the site awaiting authorization from the City of Kelowna to be able to put in temporary dewatering pits for construction.

“Right now we can’t dig holes, put services in, continue with formwork, or pour any concrete,” Marrington says.

As of July 5, Okanagan Lake sits 342.949 metres above sea level, and remains substantially higher than full pool.

“Yes, it is going down, just not fast enough,” Marrington says.

This has resulted in a five-to-six month delay getting 2169 Pandosy off the ground, meaning the development permit has now expired. This means the team had to reapply for their development permit.

Marrington stresses that nothing has changed with the project—it will still look exactly the same—but a technicality with the municipality means a new permit was the easiest option moving forward.

“Re-application was our only choice after many months of preparation, but after discussing potential alternatives with the City of Kelowna and our consulting team, we are resigned to the fact that Mother Nature won this round,” she says.

Garry Tomporowski, the principal architect at GTA Architecture Ltd., acknowledges there are a number of sites around Kelowna being affected by the high water tables.

Cody Shantz, a project manager at Sawchuk Developments Ltd. echoes the fact that this is not the only construction site that has been delayed.

Now, the timelines for 2169 Pandosy will have to be evaluated, and trades realigned.

With a sales disclosure statement ready in hand to file, “we had to hold it back and not sell,” say residential realtors Joe Uhearn and Mary Hamman.

Commercial realtors Bill Raine and David Delorme say businesses are calling and ready to commit, but interested parties will have to wait a few more weeks for a chance to purchase.

“We have informed everyone on our registration list, and they are very understanding of the situation, and are willing to wait for the opportunity to purchase in a healthy building,” Marrington says.

With 36 condominiums and 30 commercial and medical ancillary spaces available, demand has been very high.

“While the delay has thrown us a curveball, like many other businesses and developments in the Okanagan, we only hope the summer, fall and winter seasons will be kind to all of us who have to recover from losses and setbacks,” Marrington says.

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