Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mike Holmes Puts His Name on Edmonton Development

It's becoming more and more clear that building communities is the next step in the evolution of the Holmes brand. Since 2008, Mike Holmes has been planning and playing around with the idea of Holmes Communities, that is, developments consisting of new homes or condominiums built to Mike's stringent standards. These homes would stand out as beacons of old school craftsmanship combined with new and innovative building technology. Building such a community is just at Mike's fingertips as he puts his name on a development, the Creekside Ravine at Cameron Heights in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. As the article below points out, this is not Mike's first effort in building such a community. The Wind Walk community in the Okotoks has been Mike's pet project since 2008, but has yet to break ground due to legal setbacks. Even so, Mike insists that the project still has the green light to move forward in the spring (of 2014). A home in the Creekside Ravine development in Edmonton is set to be priced at around $800,000.
For more information about the Creekside Ravine development in Edmonton, please refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entries:
From the Edmonton Journal:
Mike Holmes puts his name on Edmonton development

Mike Holmes, TV personality and contractor, will be launching his latest project in Edmonton on Friday called Creekside Ravine at Cameron Heights. It is part of his Holmes Communities initiative which is based in Calgary and is the real estate development division of The Holmes Group.

Photograph by: Stuart Gradon, Calgary Herald

EDMONTON - Contractor Mike Holmes built a reality television empire on variations of a valuable mantra — Do it right the first time. Make it right. Build it right.
That promise of quality is probably what underlies the relative popularity of Creekside Ravine, a 16-lot housing development on Edmonton’s south side that booked four reservations in its opening weekend, Oct. 4-6. His company, Holmes Communities, has partnered with three Edmonton builders — The House Company, Effect Home Builders and Dolce Vita Homes — to build high-quality, energy efficient homes in a complete, compact neighbourhood.
“Mike Holmes’ name on the front of the community will set it apart as a house of a higher standard,” said Dale Rott, part-owner of Effect Home Builders, who added that his company will have no trouble meeting Holmes’ demanding standards.
“We start off at a higher level than standard housing stock, that’s why we mesh with the Holmes group.”
Holmes, who was on-site during opening weekend, said this Holmes Communities project — like those planned for Winnipeg, Okotoks and Toronto — represents the culmination of an eight-year plan.
“I realized this was a necessity and eventually everybody would want me to build them a home. So the first goal I knew was important was to start Mike Holmes Inspections and retrain all these guys to my standards. What I was looking for was an army of guys who could oversee Holmes Approved Homes and Holmes Communities.”
The inspectors make six site visits before, during and after construction and take pictures of the project each time to create documentation for the homeowner, builder and Holmes’ companies. Holmes said the inspections add a layer of quality control that augments the partnerships he seeks with builders and companies that produce high quality building materials.
“Finding the best builders on the market was pretty easy because I know there are builders out there who want to make it right, they want to make a difference.”
Rott said the quality upgrades in materials and processes might add eight to 12 per cent to the cost of a home, and that a Creekside Ravine lot/home combination is likely to be priced at a minimum of $800,000.
“This is the perfect opportunity for the people of Edmonton to buy a home that makes sense, that’s good for the environment and good for the environment of the people living in it because we’re about very clean air,” Holmes said.
If Creekside Ravine proceeds smoothly, it will stand in stark contrast to Holmes projects in Okotoks and Stavely. Wind Walk is a high-density, 457-unit mix of housing planned for a quarter section of land inside the Municipal District of Foothills, immediately south of the Okotoks town limits. Plans for the community, which is intended to produce as much energy as it uses, have been on the drawing board since 2008 and in the courtroom since 2010. Okotoks council is fighting the development in its current form, saying it will put too much strain on the 12 wells in the Sheep River aquifer that supply the town’s water. In July, council voted 5-2 to petition the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its case against the MD of Foothills, which approved the area structure plan. Mayor Bill Robertson said their case will be heard in November or December.
In the interim, town council has sought to annex the Wind Walk site, and if successful, council would be likely to approve a scaled-down version of the community, as it would be served by town water and sewer infrastructure and would, of course, be subject to property taxes.
“They have many laudable goals for it — sustainability, green homes, fire resistant homes,” said Robertson, who is seeking re-election on Oct. 21. “Our contention is, if you’re going to develop a town, it should be a town inside our town, not beside our town.”
He said the project cannot proceed because the developer, Alberta Foothills Properties Ltd., has been refused a water licence. The developer’s appeal is scheduled to be heard by the provincial government in November.
Holmes is nevertheless adamant that Wind Walk will go ahead.
“The green light is lit and we will be breaking ground this spring. It’ll be a testament to everything that I believe in. That community will change the country.”
But Holmes doesn’t always get things done right, or at all.
In 2008, Holmes partnered with Calgary-based Bland Investments on an eight-unit condominium development on the shore of Clear Lake, east of Stavely. Holmes told the Calgary Herald that the development “is for more of the elite, for someone who wants that dream house in that dream community.”
Lots were subdivided and some topsoil was moved around, but five years later there has been no construction on the site and the Municipal District of Willow Creek remains in possession of the security bond posted by Drew Atkins, principal of Bland Investments.
Atkins, who is working with Holmes on the Wind Walk project as president of Alberta Foothills Properties Ltd., did not return a call seeking comment on Friday.

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