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Soods hope to bridge Walkerville, Ford City with hundreds of homes

The Sood family was trying to keep quiet its plans to build hundreds of heritage-style homes on derelict former industrial lands bridging Walkerville and Ford City, but already half of the 12 brownstones proposed for Walker Road are pre-sold.BRIAN CROSS Updated: June 13, 2017

Anuj Sood, manager with Champion Products, holds an architectural rendering of a proposed townhouse development along Walker Road. There will be between 200 and 250 units, including condos, townhomes and houses on 15 acres. JASON KRYK / WINDSOR STAR

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The Sood family was trying to keep quiet its plans to build hundreds of heritage-style homes on derelict former industrial lands bridging Walkerville and Ford City, but already half of the 12 brownstones proposed for Walker Road are pre-sold.

“Just people we know, friends and relatives who are so anxious to get in there,” Ashok Sood said Tuesday, as he described in broad strokes his plans for land he has held for 20 years and believes is now ripe for development.

The cat was let out of the bag Monday night when the city’s Planning, Heritage and Economic Development Standing Committee gave its blessing to fund half the cost (up to $55,000) for several environmental studies required to assess possible soil contamination and suggest solutions for two properties:

  • The burned-down Seagrave Fire Apparatus Company  factory on the west side of Walker, where the Soods plan to build a dozen brownstone-style units.
  • And 17 acres of largely vacant industrial land south of Edna Street, west of St. Luke Road and north of Richmond Street, where the Soods’ long-term plan is for condo buildings and townhouses. They’re hoping to build between 200 and 250 units. The first building would probably be a five- or six-storey condo building.

Sood said he wants to make the units affordable, less than $200,000, insisting he’s no developer  he’s simply looking to find a good use for his land that’s sat vacant for decades.

“My goal is to put people in a house cheaper than they can rent, a mortgage payment of $700 a month,” he said in a telephone interview from Toronto. Sood, who two years ago opened the City Market on the east side of Walker, thinks his initial pricing for the Walker Road brownstones might have been low at $300,000. He said people are jumping at the chance to live and work in the popular urban area.

What he envisions is having young professionals living in the brownstones, operating their offices on the ground floor and living in the space above. 

The Sood family was trying to keep quiet its plans to build hundreds of heritage-style homes on derelict former industrial lands bridging Walkerville and Ford City, but already half of the 12 brownstones proposed for Walker Road are pre-sold. JASON KRYK / WINDSOR STAR

His son Anuj Sood said the brownstones will be designed to emulate the historic townhouses directly behind them on Monmouth Road. 

Architect Chintan Virani said the brownstone design is based on the Seagrave building. Though it burned down in 2007, the city provided photographs to help replicate the heritage look.

The Sood projects, he said, “will definitely stimulate the market in the area, economically as well as a lot of opportunities for more development.” 

Coun. Chris Holt, who represents the Walkerville area, said the Soods own “an incredibly important piece of property,” because it bridges Walkerville with Ford City. “It’s two growing and strengthening neighbourhoods,” he said Monday night.

The grants will come from a $1.2-million Brownfield Strategy/Remediation Account set aside by the city to encourage people to develop brownfields — previous industrial and commercial lands that have sat vacant for years due to contamination fears. The city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Community Improvement Plan aims to spur development of these lands which numbered 137 sites totalling 559 acres in 2009.

A city report says most of these sites are located in built-up areas where services and infrastructure — roads, schools, community services and public transit — already exist. Cleaning them up and using them prevents having to expand into rural areas and take over farmland, and reduces the cost of providing roads and other services. “The redevelopment of these sites also removes the negative stigma often associated with some brownfield properties, which increases the value of the subject property and adjacent properties.”

City planner Thom Hunt described the Soods’ land as remnants from the area’s industrial past that have become a sort of no-man’s land separating two neighbourhoods. “You don’t get the feeling they’re connected.”

Putting housing there will help connect them, hopefully with a walkable neighbourhood for people who’ve been priced-out of living in Walkerville, which has experienced rising real estate values. The projects still have to clear some hurdles, including resolving any possible soil contamination.

Hunt said he’s pretty optimistic any required clean-up won’t make it too costly for the Soods to develop the properties. 

bcross@postmedia.com

Modest home price growth forecasted for 2019

Home prices across the country are expected to rise in 2019, but only at a moderate pace compared with recent years, according to two of Canada’s largest residential real estate brokerages.

Royal LePage is anticipating the national median home price will increase by 1.2 per cent in 2019, with prices in Toronto and the surrounding areas expected to rise 1.3 per cent to $854,552.

Prices in Toronto and the surrounding areas are expected to rise 1.3 per cent, while homes in Greater Vancouver are forecast to increase by just 0.6 per cent according to the annual outlook by Royal LePage.
Prices in Toronto and the surrounding areas are expected to rise 1.3 per cent, while homes in Greater Vancouver are forecast to increase by just 0.6 per cent according to the annual outlook by Royal LePage.  (GRAEME ROY / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Home prices in Greater Vancouver are forecast to go up by just 0.6 per cent to $1.29 million, while home prices in Montreal and the nearby region are expected to see the largest rise out of Canada’s biggest cities, with home prices anticipated to jump three per cent to $421,306 in 2019.

Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper said the national housing market is expected to remain in a “correctional cycle” that began this year, with home prices appreciating at a “snail’s pace.”

“Markets aren’t perfect. They overshoot and then they must correct,” he said in a statement.

The Royal LePage report blamed the “tepid pace” of price growth on a number of factors including rising interest rates, global trade risks and the low price of Canadian crude.

It noted that would-be buyers who had for years been shut out of hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver may have a bigger opportunity to purchase in 2019. It says it expects a jump in sales activity come spring.

Meanwhile, in a separate report Tuesday, Re/Max said it expects average home sale prices to go up by 1.7 per cent in the new year.

It also anticipates housing markets across the country will stabilize as Canadians feel a bigger impact from higher interest rates.

“Demand isn’t as strong as it was in the past but it is still very, very strong,” said Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director of Re/Max of Ontario-Atlantic Canada.

FIX n FLIP. IN THIS MARKET?

YES! If we can do it, so can you… Even in this market. 

Recently I’ve partnered and become great friends with a client of mine. We’ve been in and out of hundreds of properties. fighting multiple offers and simply pounding the pavement! We decided to switch gears and found a fix and flip property in Windsor. Together, we calculated this project. It made sense so we ran with it. We purchased, renovated then sold it all in 2 months. 

In this market, you have to be a full time Buyer or work with a full time dedicated Buying Agent to find the deals. You must be prepared and ready to strike. You have to be ready to close the deal within a few hours from the moment you first saw the listing pop up. 

That’s half the battle. Then you must be sure you can profit once you fix the property and sell it. For this, either yourself or your agent must be experienced with this type of investment. If you’re working with an agent who’s never done it, move on! 

PURCHASE PRICE: $100,000.00

RENOVATIONS: $10,000.00

SOLD PRICE: $147,000.00

Here’s the listing we PURCHASED

Here’s the listing we SOLD

Real Estate Down November 2018

A down month for the real estate market in Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors reports listings were down in November by 1.74%, compared to November 2017.

The number of homes sold also dropped in the same time period with 458 homes exchanging hands in November 2018, compared to 488 properties sold in November 2017, representing a 6.15% decline.

The average sale price in November 2018 was $292,619, up from $261, 607 in November 2017.

The most popular style of home was a bungalow.

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