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November 01, 2014

Estate of the art

Artesia gives rise to ultra luxury living south of Calgary

Marty Hope

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The sun had no intention of showing itself, staying put behind deep gray clouds that spit periodic drizzle on the 200 or so in the park.

No problem. The guitarist and singer moved their show under cover, the lineup at the food truck was steady, and kids climbed the playground structures while grownups chatted — all in all, the party carried on.

"Pretty good crowd for a day like this," says Ted Stack, vice-president of land development for Heritage Pointe Properties Inc.

Party central was the community park at Artesia, the final segment of a triumphant triumvirate of communities by the Heritage Pointe folks on the occasion of Wish to Connect — a special event hosted by Heritage Pointe to say thank you to those choosing to live in Artesia.

But it could also have been a celebration of the phenomenal appeal — which has turned into sales success — of a development that puts as much thought and effort into high architectural standards as it does stewardship of the land it is working with.

All of this culminated in Artesia being named the New Community of the Year by the Canadian Home Builders' Association – Calgary region this past April, and a national finalist in a similar category.

Plain and simple, sustainability shares the spotlight with impressive, eye-catching good looks. And it's a continuation of the Heritage Pointe way of doing things ó differentiate themselves and their product from everyone else by going that extra mile.

"Artesia is set apart from other communities because it offers true estate lots from 65 feet and up, because 50 per cent of the 137-acre community has been dedicated to open space, linear parks and trails, environmental reserve, and water features; and because we have integrated sustainable development and water conservation practices into every element of this community," says Stack.

And, by the way, every home in Artesia backs onto one of these amenities.

If you're not familiar with Artesia, it's east of the Deerfoot Trail off Dunbow Road right on Calgary's southeast boundary. Turn onto Artesia Boulevard and go around a couple of roundabouts and the single-family homes by Albi Homes, Astoria Homes, and Calbridge Homes come into view drifting away along the deliberately narrow streets with charming names like Waters Edge Drive, Whispering Springs Way, and Morning Mist Lane.

What will also be noticed at the entrance to the community is the cute pump house with operating water wheel and rock bubbler sitting on the shore of Stillwater Bay — the heart of the community's intensive water conservation and water management program.

Bioswales deliver overland water to the three water features in the community where it is recycled and used to irrigate lawns and gardens and common green areas.

"We estimate that we reduce potable water treatment by about 60 million litres of water per year," says Stack.

The water conservation program has been a focal point of the 280-home community since planning started in 2005. Heritage Pointe started moving dirt around in 2011 and at that point ponds were being carved out of the prairie lands so that they now peacefully and unobtrusively co-existed with the homes that have been built.

Another key element in the design of Artesia is space — the separation between homes. "That was always a key element for us as we moved forward," says Stack.

The residences — 40 per cent of which are semi-detached villas built exclusively by Calbridge and the remaining 60 single-family estate lots — are large. The villas have 1,700 square feet on the main plus another 1,000 on the lower level. Detached bungalows have a minimum 1,750 square-feet on the main while two-storey homes have 1,400 of main-floor living space with a minimum total area above grade of 2,400 square feet.

Villas are priced from the mid $800,000 range while detached homes start in the high $900,000s.

And all of the varied styles of homes have their demographic bent, says Stack. For the most part, the detached homes are being bought by those 35 to 50 years old, with children of all ages.The villas have grabbed the interest of the older, lock-and-leave set, predominantly those 50 and older. "But for both groups, it's ultimately about having a prestigious address and home that fits their lifestyle."

For Bill and Dianne (no last name at their request), Artesia offered the opportunity to find the style of home and lifestyle they had been looking for since their retirement. They have purchased a villa in the second phase.

"We were in an apartment condo but always had the goal to have a bungalow villa in a community with low density and high-valued properties — that is what Artesia offers," says Bill.

They like the quiet of the rural setting, the natural feel of the community, the sustainable aspects, and the neighbourliness they have been greeted with.

"Our first impression of Artesia was great, it's really well done and it meets all our needs," he adds.

Stack says that due to demand, the second-phase is selling out quickly. Phase three is now available and servicing for the fourth and final phase is now under way. Third-phase possessions will begin in the fall of 2015, about the same time show homes will be opening for the fourth phase.

And Stack continues to be excited about what's going on in Artesia.

"Most people find it difficult to get excited about dirt, but for us, this is special," he says looking out at what has been created.

Fast Facts
Community: Artesia at Heritage Pointe
Developer: Heritage Pointe Properties Inc.
Builders: Villas exclusively from Calbridge Homes Single-family estate homes from Albi Homes, Astoria Homes, and Calbridge Homes
Prices: Villas start from the mid $800,000s; Single-family homes starting from $900,000s
South on Deerfoot Trail and exit on Dunbow Road and follow the signs
Hours: Monday to Thursday 2 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays noon to 5 p.m.

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