The Rebirth of Master-Planned Communities

There was a time when master-planned communities were thought of as “cookie-cutter” and belonged in the boonies. Today, buyers are looking at innovative developers who are creating the perfect combination of amenities to suit their specific lifestyles. These master-planned communities feature everything from organic farming to wine tasting, artists in residence programs to cooking demonstrations, health and wellness components and everything in between. Right Sizing introduces you to some of the neighbourhoods that are changing the face of master-planned communities

By Michelle Hopkins

Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley

Rooted in farming, Southlands’ 437-acre parcel has dedicated more than 80 per cent to a mix of forest and agricultural land. It will be home to a Market District showcasing craft-style businesses, including restaurants, artisan shops, a fresh produce market, open-air performance space and community gardens. VISION: When Southlands is completely built out it will comprise 950 homes over the next nine years.

Construction begins this spring and continues until 2024 on this historical settlement, which will incorporate eight live/work spaces and 14 rental units among 73 town homes. Nine of the existing heritage buildings will be repurposed into commercial and community amenity space to create a unique small town, connected to the past while looking forward to the future. VISION: A subsidized daycare, community gathering space, playground and fitness facility are among the planned amenities.

Right now, there are just shy of 2,000 homes available–single-family, non-strata row homes, town homes and condos with more to come over the next seven years. Set against a backdrop of mountains and surrounded by 17 acres of luscious parks, Latimer Heights offers families space to grow and downsizers maintenance-free living. VISION: Residents will enjoy access to an elementary school, central pond and walking trails as well as boutique-style shops, services, trendy restaurants and cozy cafes within the Latimer Village.

This neighbourhood is the final evolution of Garrison Central: a 9.5-acre mixed-use development consisting of 54 town homes, 400 condos and retail space. Within this vibrant walkable community, enjoy local shopping and two parks. VISION: Located in a hub of career development, Canada Education Park and University of the Fraser Valley, this enclave will feed off the energy of the thriving atmosphere, offering unique continuing education and lifestyle opportunities.

The 24-acre family-focused, walkable master-planned community, consisting of 144 row homes and detached homes, boasts value-oriented entry-level new homes. Its hub is two-plus acres of parkland, and a location with quick access to Mother Nature’s best: the Vedder River, trails at Mount Cheam and Lindeman Lake plus Cultus Lake’s beaches, water slides and attractions. VISION: Phase 2 to be fully completed in the next five to six years, while future phases are in the planning stages.

Vancouver Island

The draws of living here include the Westin Bear Mountain (and its Amatista Spa) and two Niklaus Design golf courses. Currently, 15 single-family home sites in The Riviera are for sale (from $439,900); coming soon are more vilas in the Cypress Gates community and units in the 18th-hole Elevate golf course condos. VISION: Developer Ecoasis creates innovative, sustainable communities; Bear Mountain will eventually house more than 10,000 people in around 4,000 homes, served by a commercial village.

More than 3,000 residents call Westhills home, whether it’s a condo or a duplex, starter or carriage home. Westhills is an expert at integrating all of the great factors buyers want in a masterplan: healthy lifestyles, community interactions, top amenities such as the Westhills Y, library, schools, playgrounds and park trails. VISION: Zoned for 8,000 homes, the community plans to add another 1,800 residences, including multi-family housing, over the next 5 to 10 years. Residents will also have a local grocery store and other shops.

Right now, Royal Bay is launching 83 town homes and 16 villa ranchers. In about 15 years, there will be 3,000 residences in this seaside community, combining the majestic beauty of Royal Bay with a 30-acre park and the new state-of-the-art branch of the Royal BC Museum. VISION: To service the single-family home and multi-family unit community, Royal Bay will be complemented by shops and services as well as an elementary school.

Adjacent to Lantzville Bay, this neighbourhood already holds around 100 single-family home sites (including 26 currently for sale high on the bluffs of Broad Ridge Pass, from $389,900). More than 700 acres of pristine forest make up the Foothills Park Lands, with hiking and biking trails. VISION: More than 700 homes will eventually stand on this 9000-acre site, along with a mixed-use village.

To date, there are 1,300 homes in this stunning golf community. Attracting boomers and escapees from the city life, the developer promotes social interaction through special events, waterfront walks, two restaurants and more. VISION: When fully completed in 15 years, this 831-acre site will house 2,800 units: a blend of residential real estate lots, new and resale single-family homes, condominiums, low-rise patio homes and businesses, like a Costco and Thrifty’s Shopping Plaza.

Crown Isle, Courtenay.

Okanagan and Interior

Nestled on 15 acres in a park-like setting, and in the heart of Canada’s first Gary Player Black Knight-designed course (Wildstone Golf Course), Legacy Lookout offers both single-family and luxury condo homes. VISION: The plan is to be fully built out by 2024, combining three condo buildings with 69 homes and 61 lots.

Situated alongside Canada’s Best Golf Course 2020, Tobiano stretches across 1,000 acres above the shores of Kamloops Lake, with 17,000 acres of backcountry and the Bruker Freshwater Marina. Tabiano has Fairway Homes, an exclusive gated community of 21 luxurious homes nestled between holes five and six, as well as 29 single-family lots in Ranchlands 3. VISION: Long-term plans include a community amenity space, fire hall, commercial/retail shops and a hotel. In addition, multiple new neighbourhoods and housing types will be developed over the next 15 years.

This luxury 12.5-acre lakefront gated community of estate condominiums features top resort-style amenities: an amphitheatre, a residents lounge with expansive waterfront terrace, outdoor pool with bistro and bar service plus walking trails. The lifestyle perks include art seminars, organic gardening and investment clubs. VISION: With five years left to build out, Ariva will encompass 209 residences within three buildings. Phase 1 has broken ground and is expected to complete this summer.

The community ethos here promotes what masterplan residents want today: health, wellness and balance. Its tranquil setting above Okanagan Lake and Valley offers panoramic views, while the award-winning Tower Ranch Golf Course and walking trails integrated throughout the community presents a plethora of opportunity to commune with the great outdoors. VISION: Over the next 10 years, Solstice could add another 250 homes to the estimated 160 homes (107 are completed).

Created in 1996 on the principles of new urbanism, a movement promoting environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighbourhoods, the 260-acre parcel with 1,028 single-family homes features an elementary school, parks, and a village centre with a water park and music venue.

More than 30 per cent of the 2,000 units (homes and town homes) expected are already built. Of the 1,500-acre property, half will remain green space, either as a natural area or city park. An extensive trail network, with valley and lake vistas, leads through Wilden’s forests inviting residents to hike, trail run and mountain bike. VISION: This established community continues its expansion and growth into 2040, by introducing new neighbourhoods every year.

Overlooking Okanagan Lake, vineyards, orchards and nearby mountain sides, Hunters Hill attracts those yearning for that laid-back, nature-fueled lifestyle. This neighbourhood has a strong focus on sustainability; preserving the wetlands, meadows, bluffs, grasslands and forested slopes. VISION: Its long term build out is expected to be seven to 10 years. The current phase (1 of 7) is now selling 27 large-sized lots.

Built to embrace the small-town concept with homes for first-time buyers, move-ups and move-down buyers alike, this neighbourhood has constantly evolved over the past 25 years. The 1,200-acre resort boasts cooking and cocktail classes, events, a racquetball club and the Commonage Market with grocery and liquor stores, two restaurants and of course world-class golf. VISION: There are 800 residences with another 1,300 (single-family home lots and duplexes) to be built over 10+ years.

Ariva, Kelowna.