Chris Clement at the site of Phase 1 development homes off Chapman Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Houses in new Chemainus development selling like hotcakes

Market demands ensure there's plenty of buyers at the ready for the Artisan Village project

  • Apr. 17, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Buyers are snapping up houses in the first phase of the Artisan Village residential development in Chemainus faster than they’re being built.

Developer Chris Clement indicated more than 50 per cent of the first 22 available units off Chapman Road are sold. And work has already begun on the second phase of 18 lots — 17 for single-family homes and a larger lot that will comprise 20 patio homes and townhouses.

“We just started clearing our third phase by the arch,” Clement added. “We’re going to start working on some engineered drawings for the road and start some design work on the road and for the buildings.”

The project has been a long time in the making for him and resulted in some revised plans along the way.

Clement made the switch to predominantly single-family homes for the development, partly due to a change in the marketplace. Demand is currently extremely high and supply very low in Chemainus; thus, the quick sales.

Locals are seeking properties, but Clement noted the price is also right for people from “Victoria, Vancouver downsizing, putting some money away for retirement, and some from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, too, and some other provinces.

“For houses, it’s somewhat in the mid-to-lower end of the pricing,” he indicated.

The cost of houses in the first phase ranges from about $485,000 to $650,000 plus GST.

After a considerable delay, work finally got going on the project on Jan. 1, 2017 with blasting and crushing rock. It’s been full speed ahead ever since and many houses can now be seen taking shape over the landscape while plans toward constructing other portions of the approximately 34-acre parcel that Clement originally obtained from the Oswald Smith Foundation are proceeding.

Changing the zoning to allow more single-family homes has worked out for the better for Clement.

“It’s more what I like to build and more of the market,” he said.

And it always comes down to location, location, location which is proving ideal with the Village Square shopping complex nearby.

“Having the mall right across the way is very beneficial,” Clement conceded.

“To me, I think this is a more saleable property. How many townhouses would Chemainus absorb? I think the mixture has worked out really well.”

Clement expects the third phase of the project will actually even wind up being divided into smaller phases.

The contentious issue of the famed Hermit trails on the property has also been factored into the development.

“All the Hermit trails will remain as they are now,” Clement emphasized. “That was really important to me. I ended up staying about 40 feet away from it.”

That portion of the land has been dedicated as park space.

“As soon as we get on the other side and so far along at that point it gets turned over to North Cowichan,” explained Clement.

The archway originally built for a Pacific Rim Artisan Village proposal on that site will eventually be taken down for public road access from the Elm Street side into the development.

Work will likely continue at the site for a few years, Clement expects, to complete the project and meet the needs of the growing number of people who want to relocate here.

“Chemainus is a nice community,” he summed up. “It’s off the highway, near the water. It’s quite attractive to a lot of people.”