Opportunity in bloom: Developer went to buy flowers, and made deal for Saanich property.
By Michael Bernard
Aug 11, 2018
Marigold Lands, a $138 million project to build 250 homes on former nursery land on the Saanich Peninsula, had an improbable start, by developer Tim Hackett’s account.
“I went to the (former) Marigold Nursery to buy some African daisies for my wife,” says Hackett, “and I came back with the daisies and the (eight-acre) nursery.”
While there, he fell into a conversation with Ray Smith, the nursery’s owner, who had supplied plants to Hackett’s previous housing developments. While chatting, Smith said he wanted to sell the land. Hackett immediately made him an offer, they closed the deal with a hand shake.
Hackett, who has been developing land on Vancouver Island for more than 40 years, said he jumped on the sale because he knows all too well how hard it is to acquire developable land on the Saanich Peninsula. The resulting land shortage has driven up prices by as much as 40 per cent a year in recent times.
“Very seldom now do you get an opportunity to buy such a big site,” he says. “A lot of development today is in-fill, small lots with one building on them. But this an opportunity to do something really special.”
Named after the family-run nursery it replaces, Marigold’s first phase involves construction of 38 condominium homes in a five-storey wood frame building, eight townhouses and eight duplexes. The one and two-bedroom homes range between 537 square feet and 608 square feet and 912 and 972 square feet respectively. Prices for one-bedroom homes start at $329,000 while two bedrooms start at $499,000. The eight three-bedroom townhouses are 1,841 square feet while the eight three-bedroom duplexes measure 2,067 square feet with prices to be determined.
About 30 per cent of the 38 units have been sold to date to first-time buyers, local downsizers selling their larger single-family homes and people cashing in their equity in the Metro Vancouver area and moving to Vancouver Island, Hackett said.
The presentation centre in Sidney has a sample kitchen, living room and bath area and a touch screen panel that provides people with shots of the view from any given floor of the complex. Some homes have views of Georgia Strait including James Island, Sidney Island and D’Arcy Island plus Saanichton Bay Park.
Hackett said one feature of the property that particularly attracted him is that the site is relatively flat, making for a compact, walkable neighbourhood with featured public spaces and a mix of residential, commercial, retail and community buildings. Included in the centre of the site is a public park with a children’s play centre.
It is the largest residential project to be undertaken on the Peninsula since 2002, when Hackett developed 130 units of single family houses, townhouses and condominiums on what was called the Polo Grounds. The single-family homes, which sold in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, now fetch over a million dollars each, says Hackett.
Hackett credited the current Central Saanich Council for having the vision to see that it is through density that affordable housing can be created on Vancouver Island. Another part of the answer is building homes close to where people live. He retold a story he had heard from an engineer for nearby Viking Air, which employs more than 1,000 people, in manufacturing parts and servicing de Havilland aircraft.
“She said she can’t afford Victoria and drives to work from her home in Duncan. She also said there are employees who camp out in their cars during the week and drive home on the weekends.”
Inside the condos, there are nine-foot ceilings in the main living space and bedrooms and eight-foot ceilings in the bathrooms. Kitchens come with a KitchenAid steel appliance package that includes a full-depth 30-inch refrigerator, a 30-inch dual fuel gas and electric range with an overhead KitchenAid 30-inch microwave hood, a 24-inch dishwasher and front load washer and dryer.
Kitchen cabinetry is flat panelled and is available in light and dark options with modern straight-grained high-pressure laminated wood textures that model real wood. Countertops are quartz.
Ensuite bathrooms feature glass panel showers while guest bathrooms have a tub with a shower rod.
Marigold, Saanich, B.C.
Project Address: 7874 Lochside Dr., Saanich, B.C.
Project Scope: A total of 55 residences, 38 condominiums, nine townhouses and eight duplexes, on eight acres of land about five kilometres south of Sidney and 20 kilometres north of Victoria. Close to B.C. Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal and Victoria International Airport, five minutes to a beach. Long-term plan calls for as many as 250 homes in a walkable neighbourhood with commercial, retail and community buildings.