An artist’s rendering of the McMillan Villas proposed for the corner of Morison Avenue and McMillan Street in Parksville.

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHT: Downsizing to a $680,000-plus condo in Parksville

Proposed development is only a block or two away from Parksville beach

Sticker shock is a relative term, says the man behind a proposal to build 18 luxury condos a stone’s throw away from Parksville’s famous beach.

The McMillan Villas project received a development permit from city council in April. On July 24, the   Financial Institutions Commissions informed the developers that their disclosure statement has been filed with the B.C. Superintendent of Real Estate so they could now begin pre-sales.

As of Wednesday, the development’s website (mcmillanvillas.com) had one sale pending for a third-floor, 2,760 square foot condo (697 square feet outdoors). The price: $785,000.

Jim Hilsenteger is the president of the numbered company set up for this project (0981329 B.C. Ltd). He said the 18 units — six in each of three buildings, two units to each floor — have a starting price of about $680,000.

“That’s exceptionally low relative to Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria,” Hilsenteger said in a recent interview with The NEWS. “And there are million-dollar homes in the Parksville area too.”

Hilsenteger said the condos will appeal to aging boomers.

“Their kids have left the house and they are ready to downsize,” he said, adding that he believes it’s a complaint of some people in this area that there’s not a place like McMillan Villas to experience that downsizing in a luxury setting.

Hilsenteger called the Villas “an aging in place design” that fits with the concepts of the city’s official community plan for density in the downtown core.

“The people who have expressed interest want to be close to downtown and the beach,” he said. “Right now, there isn’t a product for them to buy in that location.”

Hilsenteger hosted a public information session about the project. He, and the city, have heard from neighbours who would live beside (northwest side) of the proposed building who fear a loss of light and privacy. Right now, the property between the McMillan Arts Centre and Morison Avenue is a vacant field.

“For the most part, we’ve had very supportive response from the public,” said Hilsenteger. “And I can understand why the residents right behind it would have concerns.”

Parskville Coun. Sue Powell voted in favour of granting the project a development permit. She’s currently council’s liaison to both the downtown business association and the chamber of commerce.

“It certainly isn’t for people who don’t have an income,” Powell said this week. “The development itself is pretty nice — it will have green on top, a garden.”

Powell also said she is pleased with what the city has done with McMillan Street. Works, services and lighting have been upgraded there in recent years.

“If you look down that street, it’s one of our nicest,” she said.

Powell said she also heard the concerns of the people who currently live close to the project.

“I think the developer tried to mitigate that, but he couldn’t do much,” she said.

Hilsenteger said his company has nine months to get firm financing (pre-sales) and a building permit. If all goes well, he said, construction on the first building — or all three if the units are sold — could start in the spring of 2016. He said construction of all three buildings would take about 13 months. Local enquiries should go through Jill Tuggle of Royal LePage Parksville-Qualicum,

(250-927-8688).

City councillor Powell was asked to comment about the starting price of the units. “They’ll probably get away with it, $680,000,” she said. “But it’s not for me.”

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