Condos sell despite market
Yellowknifers demand garages

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 22/97) - A new set of townhomes, called Diamond Pointe, is going up on Woolgar Avenue and a showhome should be ready in the next two weeks, says its project manager.

Keith Wilson is project manager for Urbco Inc., the builder responsible for Diamond Park, Diamond Ridge and the Gardens in Yellowknife.

Diamond Park's 47 condo units sold out in five months and Diamond Ridge sold 28 units in four months last year.

This time around, Diamond Pointe will include 46 new stick-built condos, prices ranging from 123,900 to $155,900 plus GST. Two dozen of the higher-priced units will have garages and sub-basements. So far, 21 units are sold.

"We felt the market would be challenging this year," said Wilson, referring to the housing market in Yellowknife.

"In doing research, we want to ensure people get what they want. Garages are really popular because people don't have to plug in their cars," he says.

According to Northland Utilities, it costs about $30 a month to power a 400-watt blockheater 24 hours a day. A 600-watt interior heater is $44 for the month for the same plug-in period and a 50-watt battery blanket costs $4 a month. Multiply this by two vehicles and it's not difficult to see why people prefer garages.

The prices vary depending upon the type of blockheater, interior car warmer or battery blanket used.

"We're always looking for additional opportunities in Yellowknife. We feel there's potential for Yellowknife of steady, comfortable growth," says Wilson. "We are looking at other opportunities here."

The Diamond Pointe development features six-inch-thick Styrofoam with an insulation rating of R-30 to R-32, says Wilson, referring to other subtle changes made from other developments.

Urbco has an office located in the Garden apartments but is based in Calgary.

The company has worked in the North for 30 years, starting as Wilson Realty. It merged with Urbco in 1988, says Wilson. Last year, Urbco was named one of Canada's top 100 hottest companies by Profit, a magazine for Canadian entrepreneurs.