Plans are moving forward on a townhouse development at Kingswood Park.
The project, first announced in late 2012, included a four-star hotel, a meeting and banquet facility, an apartment building, townhomes and an indoor water park.
It will be the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada. The townhouse development is phase one of the project. Ged Stonehouse, of the Stonehouse Golf Group, is a golf and tourism consultant working with Kingswood on the project. He said the townhome portion will be called Kingswood Village.
"More and more people are looking for this kind of lifestyle component that could be recreational, it can be social, can be sort of a gathering together of people," said Stonehouse.
"That's the whole concept of calling it Kingswood Village - it becomes a little group of people.
"We visited a number of these around North America and it's interesting talking to people who live in them. Often they are telling us they know their neighbours better there after six months than they did where they lived before in 20 years. It's because they are like-minded and they are there for a reason."
Stonehouse said components such as social gathering spots are included.
"For example, Kingswood Village will have a little parkette by the pond along with a fire pit, a deck and an outdoor amphitheatre. The people who live there can gather and have a get together, potluck, barbecue or whatever." Kingswood Village will include 42 townhomes backing onto the pond and the golf course. "If you're going up to hole No. 1, it'll be on the right-hand side," said Stonehouse.
"It's not far from the main lodge and the residents will have access to the lodge and the family entertainment centre." Stonehouse said for the most part these kinds of developments attract folks who are 50-plus. "It doesn't have to be, but it seems to be the empty-nesters, semi-retired or retired folks; they seem to really enjoy this whole concept."
Stonehouse said the approvals for construction are all in place and the developer is basically ready to start.
"We had an open house last Sunday and it was sort of our first formal presentation/selling session. We had a good turnout, we had about 40 or so people come out and they were very interested. And the only contact we made was through the Kingswood email package, so we haven't gone fully public yet, which we will shortly." Stonehouse said they're just trying to figure out at this point whether to build one model home or the first full building.
"That's just under discussion now. The main construction activity will happen for 2015. But we want to get a model home or possibly the first building for late summer or early fall this year so that we can have people come in while the weather's still nice and see what (the townhomes) are really going to be like." An announcement concerning other aspects of the project, including the hotel, will be made soon, he said.
"Plans for the rest are being finalized. The first phase for the residential is the town homes, the second is the apartment units. It's all very exciting." Stonehouse said the developer is Castle Hill Capital of Halifax. "We're trying to use local contractors whenever possible, the developer wants relationships with local people." The original plan announced in 2012 by Kingswood president Brian Johnson was for a $39-million resort hotel and indoor water park. Called Kingswood Resort Village, the plan was for a four-star, 125-room Radisson hotel, a meeting and banquet facility with capacity for 450 people, an apartment building with 48 to 60 two-bedroom units, an undetermined number of 1,700-square-foot townhomes and a 12,000-square-foot indoor water park.
At the time, Johnson said, it was all part of the goal to make Kingswood the No. 1 urban resort in Atlantic Canada. Kingswood Park currently employs roughly 200 people at its 18-hole Cooke/Huxham designed golf course, the nine-hole course, Sam Snead's Oak Grill and Tavern, the bowling alley, and fitness and gymnastic centre. The new components are expected to add another 100 jobs.
To learn more about Kingswood Village, visit kingswoodvillage.ca.
THE DAILY GLEANER