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'Solana' development on track for seniors

Project set for completion in fall of 2015



Construction on a new seniors apartment complex in Rainbow is slated to begin next month, with 17 people expressing serious interest in the 20-unit project to date.

Council approved a development permit for the project at its most recent meeting on May 20. The project, which has been on hold in recent years because of the sluggish real estate market, is now "full steam ahead," according to its developer Rod Nadeau.

And while its name may have changed from "The Woods" to "Solana," its design is largely the same with minor tweaks to make it that much more compelling for buyers. Nadeau also intends to build one of the most energy-efficient buildings in B.C.

"We designed a building that works for the Whistler lifestyle," added Nadeau, of Innovation Building Group.

For example, each unit has an individual garage in the underground parking lot; there's a rooftop patio and community garden on the top of the building; ample storage inside each unit; and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the sunlight.

"Natural light is one of the most important things in the building," said Nadeau.

Sue Lawther, president of the Mature Action Community, said the project has been marketed to MAC's members and several MAC members have taken advantage of the opportunity.

It's not the typical kind of housing MAC has been lobbying for, as it will be initially sold at market value with the price restricted on subsequent sales through the Whistler Housing Authority.

Still, it fits a market niche, and that's a good thing, said Lawther.

"Anything that keeps seniors in the community, we're thrilled about," she added.

She said the feedback from MAC members is that the building is well designed for seniors, with amenities that keep them in mind.

As per the rules, if seniors don't snap up the properties, the units can then be marketed to anyone who is interested in buying. After 90 days, there are no age restrictions.

"It's open to anyone, now," explained Nadeau.

But upon resale, the units will first be offered to seniors — Whistler retirees in the first 30 days, seniors in the first 60 days, and the general public after 90 days.

"The theory is over time the Whistler seniors will always have first crack at the units in Solana," he added.

The units start at $439,000 plus GST and range to $575,900 plus GST for the larger two-bedroom plus den suites.

Purchasers can choose their inside finishing from a range of options in Innovation's showroom.

"We're really building 20 custom homes for people," said Nadeau.

The three-storey building will go up at 8300 Bear Paw Trail, close to the roundabout in the south side of the subdivision.

There was some concern at the council table about how the height of the building would impact the neighbours behind.

This week, Nadeau said there would be zero impact on people behind in terms of sunlight and impacting their views.

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