Housing, condos on track near Langford Lake

The latest phase of Kettle Creek Station is a muddy work in progress, a contrast to small manicured lawns that hem in polished rows of houses in one of Langford’s newest neighbourhoods.

Turner Lane Development president Les Bjola stands amid the first phase of homes in Kettle Creek Station. The project expects to move on six-storey condominium buildings this year.

The latest phase of Kettle Creek Station is a muddy work in progress, a contrast to small manicured lawns that hem in polished rows of houses in one of Langford’s newest neighbourhoods.

In the past year and a half, the development coined as “condos on the ground” ignored the recession and barreled forward with an experiment to offer cottage-style homes as small as 400 square feet.

Nobody has bit on a house that size, but 107 houses from 650 to 950 square feet are populating the ever-growing Kettle Creek Station neighbourhood. A handful of lots remain unsold and 42 more are being prepped in the next phase.

“This project has worked out even better than I hoped. They are cute little places. It’s small lot, but it doesn’t feel closed in,” said Les Bjola, president of Turner Lane Developments, who is developing Kettle Creek Station with Vance Walle. “Our goal was selling six homes per month. We’re averaging 6-1/4, so we are ahead of target slightly.”

People have a hard time conceptualizing the 400 square foot micro-homes, Bjola said, so he plans to build a couple in the next phase.

“Because it’s a new product, people can’t wrap their minds around it, they don’t realize how roomy they are,” he said. “It’s one of those things you have to show people.”

About 30 home buyers have plugged into geothermal heating and cooling, an option for some of the lots in the development. Houses go from $269,000 to $420,000, but in a recovering economy, paying $20,000 extra is often too much for buyers, despite the long-term incentive.

“It tells you that people are struggling. An extra $20,000 is expensive,” he said. “But geothermal is so effective in small homes. Once it’s in they aren’t paying much in utilities.”

Early this year, Bjola expects to start the project’s first of three six-storey condominium buildings, which will also act as the commercial hub of the area. The first steel and concrete building is planned as 54 units, part of about 200 units total between the buildings.

“We believe the market is there,” he said. “You have to find that magic match between parking, structure and cost. Because it’s broken into three buildings we can do it. If it was a 200-unit building, we’d never do it.”

Next door to Kettle Creek on a four hectare wedge near the E&N rail line, Turner Lane Developments plans to break ground early this year on Landing at Langford Lake — a project now split between single family lots, townhomes and condominium buildings. When zoning was passed a few years ago, the Landing was initially envisioned as all condominium units.

Bjola is now looking to build 17 house lots, 36 townhouses and possibly four buildings going up to 12 storeys, although that’s not set in stone. If the market is strong enough, the towers would still be five years out. A strip of treed parkland abutting the lake will remain in place, setting the development back from water.

“We’re designing for four buildings, but that can change,” Bjola said. “We’re thinking five years from now, which is a long time. The world can change five times in five years.”

Bjola said trying to gauge the Greater Victoria real estate market takes a lot of research and listening to what price points and features buyers are looking for. For Kettle Creek, the developers build systematically and don’t build before houses are sold.

“This is a tough business. You have to have a good team that knows what they are doing,” Bjola said. “You also have to have a bank that believes in you.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Colwood field lacrosse camp aims to get more kids involved

Victoria Field Youth Lacrosse hopes to inspire future athletes

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read