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February 01, 2013

Hope at large – Hunting the big one

Albi Homes aims to nab Grand SAM Award

Marty Hope

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An alcove in the lobby of Albi Homes’ headquarters proudly displays the numerous housing awards won by the company — but there is something missing.

Since being founded in 1982, the Calgary builder has laid claim to industry awards at the local, provincial, and national levels. Although it has been nominated in the past, the Grand SAM Award as Canada’s top single-family builder has eluded Albi.

Come March, company president Allan Klassen hopes to bring that elusive dream to reality. Albi is named as one of two finalists for the prestigious award that will be presented during the national conference of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association being held in Lake Louise. The other finalist is Maric Homes of Winnipeg.

“It would be a nice feather in our cap,” says Klassen. “We’ll definitely make a prominent spot for it in the display if we win it.”

In addition to claiming a Grand SAM spot, Albi is also a finalist in three other categories. Its 2,432-square-foot Carrara bungalow in Artesia at Heritage Pointe garnered a spot in best single-family home over 2,200 square-feet; the Armento model in Riverstone of Cranston is vying for best single-family home between 1,500 and 2,200 square-feet; and Albi’s sales centre in Aspen Summit Park is a finalist in that category.

It has never been Albi’s goal, says Klassen, to be the biggest builder or to be the answer to everyone’s housing question, but winning national recognition that comes with the CHBA awards does open some doors.

“We want to be the most desired brand name in luxury housing in Canada,” says Klassen. “We want to stand out, to differentiate ourselves from others, and raise our profile. Those are our goals.”

Klassen has high praise for the Carrara, which Albi is using as its show home in the final phase of the award-winning Heritage Pointe golf-estate community by Heritage Pointe Properties Inc.

“It’s possibly the nicest house we’ve ever built,” says Klassen. “Our design team did a great job of blending contemporary, modern and traditional styles with some Frank Lloyd Wright detailing.”

Priced at $1.7 million, the walkout bungalow is in Albi’s “sweet spot,” says Klassen. The company has 60 homes in progress with price tags of more than $1 million.

Referring to his comment about not wanting to be the biggest, Klassen says the company limits its monthly start quota to a maximum of 15 each month, just so it can keep a handle of customer service and its high level quality control.

“I think what gives us an edge is our attention to detail in every home we build, and the Carrara is a great example of that,” he adds.

For more information of Albi Homes, its models, and communities, visit

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