"Intrawest isn’t in the business of family homes, but we do feel that it is warranted both to protect the investors in Phase I and at the same time be a catalyst for the remaining lots," said Eric Gerlach, VP of development for the Northwest with Intrawest Resort Development Group.
In Phase I, in 2001, Intrawest sold 19 lots at Kadenwood, each of which could hold a home 4,000 to 7,500 square feet. To date only four homes are under construction in the upscale ski-in ski-out subdivision above Creekside.
This latest decision, hopes Gerlach, will get the development ball rolling in the area just above Creekside.
"(In Phase I) we had wanted to sell to end users who would be building their homes," he said.
"But they have fallen into a situation where they saw the market flatten out a little bit so it was hard to put a couple of million into their homes until they saw a tendency for the market to go up.
"So that is where you have a few who have started and a few who have held back.
"What we are trying to do is just build a few more homes and get some critical mass going. Then at the same time when we announce the (proposed) Four Season product… that will establish the critical mass which will put that neighbourhood on the ground."
The proposed Four Seasons development, Phase IV of Kadenwood, is still under discussion and few details are available.
This current development, Phase II, will see 14 homes built and seven lots offered for sale.
The estate homes are unique in that they offer a custom home but at a fixed price – no cost over-runs.
Each of the homes will sell for between $5 million and $7 million. And they come with chic names: The Lookout, Canyon House, Owl in the Woods, Sundial and so on.
According to a brochure each home will exude, "an individual soul, each home will be unique in every detail, with signature features and an unparalleled connection to nature.
"Architect, interior designer, builder and developer have each committed to a collaborative process that guarantees sophistication and attention to every detail. Each extraordinary home is a genuine response to its site, born out of the ground and sympathetic to the landscape."
All the homes in this phase will be pre-sold before they are built.
"I think the strongest selling aspect of this offer is offering a custom built home but at a fixed price," said Gerlach.
"What we have found… in talking to purchasers in the past is that they are trying to find a product where they don’t have the angst or the headaches of building a custom home or new recreational home.
"So we said let’s see if we can do it for them with a design team and provide them with a fixed price so there is certainty.
"And hopefully what we can do is move a few houses in that price range and that will spur on that particular high-end market too."
The homes will be designed by Spearhead Timberworks out of Nelson. Bradner Homes out of West Vancouver will build them, and Ledingham Design Consultants will design the interiors.
Gerlach said the team was put together with the destination buyer in mind.
"We thought the brand concept would be very, very important," he said, adding that Spearhead has built several high-end homes in the U.S. and has been featured in magazines, and that’s important to the clientele these homes are being marketed to.
The building crews will be local.
This thinking also lay behind the decision not to go with a local designer and builder for this phase.
David Erickson of Playground Real Estate, the marketing arm of Intrawest, said the homes are priced to sell.
"We saw an opportunity to deliver a product not being served in the market place," he said.
"The expectation is that next Christmas season and spring it will be very active for this product."
There is no doubt the market is down said Erickson but well-priced, good value products are still selling.
Earlier this month three people bought into At Nature’s Door. Each of these 22 ski-in, ski-out resort homes are sold in deeded one-tenth ownerships for about $300,000. That allows an owner to use the home for five planned weeks per year, plus "space available" time, in the $2.8- to $3.3-million homes.
Erickson is also expecting the condos, which will come up for offer in the proposed conversion of the Delta Whistler Resort to a Hilton will also sell well for Intrawest.