Heritage Crossing finally breaks ground
$7.5-million high-end condominium project expected to be open by early fall in 2013
More than six years after Morris Monk envisioned his dream he can now finally see it coming into shape.
On July 19, Monk, president of Custom Homes by Ashbury Design, hosted the official groundbreaking for his ambitious $7.5 million Heritage Crossing condominium complex, a project that will feature 48 high-end suites on an acre-sized lot at 21 Avenue and 21 Street.
“It was a relief and a bit of ‘I can’t believe this day has come,’” said Monk. “People have told me I sure have persevered to see this through. It has been suggested to me others would have given up a long time ago.”
There is now a huge hole dug out at the site, the former location of the historic Missionary Church. Monk expects the west part of the 19, 177 sq.-ft., four-storey complex to be open for residents by late summer or early fall in 2013. The rest of the building is expected to be finished by March 2014.
Meanwhile, the road to the July 19 groundbreaking ceremony was a challenging one for the local homebuilder. After purchasing the property in 2006 for $400,000, Monk encountered stiff community opposition. Opponents objected to the proposed building’s height and potential shadowing.
“They (opponents) didn’t want it higher than the bell tower of the museum,” said Monk. “It is not higher.”
He was forced to appear twice at local Municipal Planning Commission meetings, and then before the Didsbury Subdivision and Development Appeal Board late last summer. Along the way he was granted several relaxations but those were taken away on appeal.
“There are some folks in town who still think I got those relaxations,” said Monk, who was also forced to scale back the original number of suites to 48 from 51. “I had to go back to the drawing board. It cost me at least $10,000 in redesign and drafting time. I also lost profit on those three suites because they pulled the relaxation on the side yard and we had no room on the site.”
But those troubles are now over. On July 6, Monk was granted a foundation site for the project. He is expected to get a full building permit to go above ground once the town finishes its review of the building’s architectural drawings.
Monk has a sales office on 20th Street that is now busy selling units, which go from $260,000 to $280,000.
The design of the building, its suites and amenities take on a distinctly heritage architecture style, said Monk.
The project’s 48 suites will include 33 two-bedroom, two-bath suites – 11 on each of the first three floors, as well as nine custom luxury two-bedroom, two-bath suites on the fourth floor. Each of these suites will also have a den.
There will also be a library on the second floor, and a multi-purpose room on the fourth floor that will have a kitchen and enough room for up to 50 people. There will be a balcony that will allow residents to see all the rooftops of Didsbury, said Monk.
As the project finally moves ahead, town officials said they are pleased an exciting new housing opportunity will be available to local residents, as well as those thinking of moving to Didsbury.
“This project is saying there is still plenty of opportunities for growth here,” said Mayor Brian Wittal. “It is meeting a need in the community, a higher end one that is fairly close to downtown and all the amenities.”
As for Monk, there is greater optimism now that all the challenges are behind him.
“Frustrating? I understand you have to go through it,” said Monk. “I’m here to play by the rules.”