After 22 years in the Calgary office of a global commercial real estate firm, Steve Vesuwalla started his own company, Clearview Commercial Realty, in 2019. A year ago, he established Clearview Industrial Fund, with all capital raised though Alberta investors.
Dreams of owning a winery could take root in your own backyard.
It’s no secret that some parts of Canada have optimal conditions for grape growing. Be it the dry, sun-soaked climate of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, or the fertile soil that the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., sits upon, these regions are a well-known pilgrimage for oenophiles.
Some tourists might not want to leave, and they don’t have to. Homebuyers looking to elevate their appreciation for wine can do so on a smaller scale, within a supportive community, by purchasing a property with a vineyard.
Given one’s level of commitment to winemaking may vary, if pruning vines is unappealing, there are options to lease the grapes, or contract out the labour.
Regardless of what shape the investment takes, the thought of sitting outside, with a glass of cabernet franc that came from your own backyard brings a certain kind of satisfaction.
Here are four homes for sale across Canada with vineyards.
245 Swick Rd.
Asking price: $9,288,800
This waterfront estate offers the opportunity for the next homeowner to try their hand at winemaking with 1.25 acres of old-vine chardonnay and merlot grapes planted on-site.
The private vineyard, located on Okanagan Lake in world-class wine country, would yield about 130 cases a year.
Richard Deacon, real estate agent with Engel & Volkers Okanagan, said the current owner is happy to pass on what he knows about the craft, while knowledgeable neighbours at Cedar Creek Estate, Martin’s Lane and Summerhill Pyramid wineries are a short distance away.
“These smaller vineyards on estate properties are a labour of love,” Mr. Deacon said.
The size of this vineyard is manageable he said, and the site includes wine processing equipment.
The 5.4-acre site, listed at $9,288,800, has three buildings. Constructed in 1989, the main house is 7,874 square feet, with five bedrooms and four bathrooms and there is also a two-bedroom cottage and a boathouse that includes a studio apartment.
The property, which also features a saltwater pool and sandy beach, is a rarity when you consider the privacy, overall size and lake frontage – in combination with the vineyard, Mr. Deacon said.
8949 122nd Ave.
Asking price: $3,500,000
Situated along the Golden Mile, this southern Okanagan home rests in Canada’s only desert climate, surrounded by mountains and close to Osoyoos Lake.
The property is 4.65 acres. The on-site vineyard has 2.5 acres of organic sémillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle white grape vines, with room for another acre of planting.
“It would be perfect for someone [who’s] always dreamed to be a winemaker, or they could lease back the vineyard to the current owners, as well,” said Marnie Perrier, a sales representative with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.
And if the homebuyer wants to grow their wine business, the property is zoned to accommodate a storefront. In addition, the current homeowner is willing to share what they’ve learned about cultivating grapes, though wine processing tools aren’t available on-site.
There’s also a turnkey opportunity for a bed and breakfast, complete with furniture, linens, etc. Ms. Perrier said the hospitality business is well established in the area.
Each of the seven bedrooms in the 5,334 square foot home has an ensuite bathroom. “They’re big, deep bathtubs – it’s very luxurious,” she said.
The home was built in 2006.
1385 Larkin Rd.
Asking price: $3,800,000
Eight of the 10 acres of this Niagara-on-the-Lake property are bursting with riesling, cabernet franc and merlot grapes.
Located on Larkin Road, less than 10 minutes from the historic downtown, the two-storey, brick home is 2,500 square feet and includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, fireplace and large dining room.
The farm is home to ducks, sheep and chickens as well Frogpond Organic Farm and Winery, a name inspired by the private, on-site pond.
The property also features a barn with production tanks as well as a boutique wine shop.
Peter Fischer, a broker with Engels & Volkers Niagara, said everything is operational should the homebuyer wants to keep the wine business going. And, of course, the current owner would assist in the transition.
If you look out from the kitchen, Mr. Fischer said, the true vastness and beauty of the property is in full view. He described the land, a popular spot for bicycle tours, as peaceful and “engulfed in nature.”
Upper Falmouth, N.S.
602 Sangster Bridge Rd.
Asking price: $3,100,000
The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia is another renowned area for winemaking in Canada. This working vineyard is teeming with old-world charm and a dozen grape varieties, including pinot noir, muscat, riesling and chardonnay, spanning 32 acres.
This Sangster Bridge Road property is less than an hour from Halifax, Wolfville and Windsor, and is 49 acres in total.
The centrepiece is a fully restored, New England Planter house from 1763. The building is more than 6,800 square feet, has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and five fireplaces. Among the many unique features of the structure is the finished basement, lined with the original, 18th-century stones.
“It’s a quintessential family estate,” said Richard Matheson of Country Real Estate Brokers, noting all the craftsmanship that went into the repairs.
Currently operating as Johnston Vineyards, a family business, Mr. Matheson said the property could be transformed into a winery.
Other structures on the property include a two-storey workshop, three-car garage and a vineyard building, which is a restored community hall.
The south-facing, elevated property looks across the Martock ski hill and Avalon River in the distance, Mr. Matheson said, adding, “It’s like a work of art.”
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Bank of Canada comments offer light at the end of the tunnel for real estate, mortgage markets, experts say
Canada’s struggling real estate sector is breathing a sigh of relief, but it wasn’t so much the size of the Bank of Canada’s Jan. 25 rate hike as the language that came with it that was cause for optimism.
That’s because while the central bank boosted its benchmark overnight interest rate by 0.25 basis points to 4.5 per cent, its eighth consecutive increase, it also signalled it would put the hiking cycle on pause — at least for now.
“A 25-basis-point increase or no increase was what we needed, along with the kind of language … that indicated we were essentially where we needed to be” Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper said in an interview. “What’s important at this stage is that we’ve clearly come to a point where interest rates aren’t going to be in the news.”
Soper said the realization that rate hikes will be stopping or slowing should draw what he called the “missing transactions” — those with the capacity to buy but who have remained on the sidelines — back into the market, though it may take some time.
Those buyers, he said, have been reluctant because they understand the link between rising rates and prices, and “they don’t want to buy a house today that will be worth less tomorrow.”
Having some price certainty will make it easier for them to enter the market, but they’ll still need to be comfortable knowing they are paying five or six per cent on their mortgages while others are locked in at two per cent.
“There’s still many, many people out there with two per cent mortgage rates. Your sister or your cousin might have a two per cent mortgage rate but you’re going to have to pay five,” Soper said. “This will harm consumer confidence until the market has more time to adjust to it.”
As a result, he said he saw a “muted recovery” in the cards for the spring.
The pause also signals a light at the end of the tunnel for variable-rate holders, according to James Laird, Co-CEO of Ratehub.ca and president of mortgage lender CanWise, even if it means another dose of short-term pain.
Clearview Commercial Realty’s investment funds help expand portfolio
Mission 19 is a luxury 67-unit apartment block that will welcome tenants this fall, designed by Gravity Architect and being built by Triumph Construction in the trendy Mission District at 320 19th Avenue S.W.
Last month, Vesuwalla embarked on a fourth — the Clearview Alberta Opportunity Fund — with a goal of raising a pool of equity that will allow his company to act quickly when commercial real estate opportunities arise.
Acumen Capital Partners handled the equity raise and the first round of financing closed last month. A second round is scheduled to close at the end of this month.
The first purchase — in cash — by the new fund is the former Economy Glass building at the corner of 17th Avenue and Centre Street S.W. in the Beltline district.
The 11,500-square-foot building on a .33-acre site has drive-in overhead/roll-up doors, existing office and retail showroom improvements, and highly usable and accessible lower level space.
Vesuwalla is working with a restaurant group and fitness operator to take over the spaces, but the location is ideal for future development as a multi-storey commercial-residential building. That will be planned on the completion of the extension of 17th Avenue across Macleod Trail, giving direct pedestrian and vehicular link access into the Stampede grounds, the BMO Convention Centre expansion and the Victoria Park/Stampede LRT station redevelopment.
Doug Johannson, executive vice-president at Clearview who joined the company in 2021, has also been busy completing some commercial real estate deals.
Explosive growth in development of commercial real estate in the Balzac area has continued with the sale of 33.85 acres on the south side of Highway 566.
Located between the successful developments of High Plains and Wagon Wheel industrial parks, it was sold by Johannson on behalf of the Abbotsford, B.C., owner to a local developer for $8.8 million.
He was also the broker for the sale of a 17-acre parcel in Frontier Park to Remington Development, and has an unconditional contract to close on the sale of a 43,500-square-foot building on Enterprise Way, between Stoney Trail and the eastern city limits.
Vesuwalla and Johannson continue to look for interesting value-added opportunities to increase Clearview’s rewarding portfolio.
President and CEO of Bow Valley College, Dr. Misheck Mwaba, has been appointed to the board of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for a three-year term. “I look forward to working closely with the board on strategic initiatives to address the evolving needs of the Calgary business community,” says Mwaba. “I am acutely aware of the urgent need to develop and retain a world-class talented workforce, nurture a diversified economy and grow our digital ecosystem. Mwaba is a champion of Workforce Integrated Learning (WIL), re-skilling and up-skilling, and takes pride in liaising with Calgary businesses to understand their labour demands.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at email@example.com.
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