First townhomes in Blatchford development now for sale, city says

Construction on the first 43 townhomes in Blatchford is slated to start this spring with residents expected to move in at the end of this year or beginning of 2020.

Construction on the first 43 townhomes expected to start this spring

A rendering of part of the future Blatchford development. (City of Edmonton)

Construction will begin this spring on the first 43 townhomes in Blatchford on the former City Centre Airport land, city officials announced Wednesday.

The new community's first residents are expected to move in by the end of the year, or the beginning of 2020.

Four builders joined city officials at the Growlery Brewery on Airport Road, across from the first stage of the Blatchford development, to announce plans for three- and four-bedroom homes.

Carbon Busters, Encore Master Builder, Mutti Homes and Ocheller by RedBrick are building four different styles of energy-efficient homes, all with secondary suites, in a bid to make the development more affordable for home buyers.

All have private backyards and garages with back-alley access.

Blatchford, Stage One

Stage one of the Blatchford development, on the west side of the former airport lands, will eventually have 250 units on the 536 acre-site. 

In addition to projects announced on Wednesday, the neighbourhood will have four condo-style townhouse developments and two apartment-style mixed-use buildings.

Tom Lumsden, Blatchford's development manager, said the city is building the roads and sewer and created parcels of land to sell to builders. Landscaping is next, he said. 

He said the city is reviewing proposals from other builders for the remaining parcels and expects to make further announcements later this year. 

Kim Gibbons, co-owner of Encore Master Builder, said the company will start pre-selling 20 townhomes on Thursday. (Rod Maldaner/CBC)

The city has plans for separated bike lanes, playgrounds, community fire pit, community gardens, skating area and summer event area and a plaza called 12-30 named after the former runway.

Kim Gibbons, executive vice president and co-owner of Encore Master Builder, said the 20 townhomes will go on sale Thursday.

"We do have a list of 68 people already that have requested information on and are ready to come pre-purchase," she said. "I do expect it will be a little crazy tomorrow."

She expects to start building in June. 

Called The Brooklyn at Blatchford, Encore's homes start at $598,900 and include landscaping, fencing and rain gardens.

The townhomes will have heat-recovery-ventilator systems, which recycle the air more efficiently. They'll be equipped with energy-efficient appliances and walls with high-standard design, she said. 

Net Zero homes

Carbon Busters is the only builder to offer net-zero homes.  

Godo Stoyke, president of Carbon Busters, said his seven three or four-bedroom townhomes will have super insulated walls, super windows, insulation in the attic and under the basement slab.

A heat-pump lifts or 'steals' the energy from district energy supply, called a geo-exchange system.

"The home is so efficient that it produces all its energy that it needs," he said.

Carbon Busters plans to build seven townhomes in the first phase of Blatchford development. (City of Edmonton)

Residents pay into a district energy system but can eliminate the energy portion of their bills, he added. 

His units may be the lowest cost net-zero homes in Edmonton, he said, starting at $527,000.

Coun. Bev Esslinger said she's been asked many times why it's taken so long to develop the land.

"We did have a pause when the market was quite soft a little while ago, so we kind of slowed down and got it ready for that," she said. "Because you want it you don't want to have a bunch of empty buildings. You want the timing to be right."

The view of downtown Edmonton from the defunct air traffic control tower at Blatchford. (Rod Maldaner/CBC)

She noted that it took some time to "recycle" the airport and runway to prepare the land for development. 

"Not many cites get this opportunity to develop over 500 acres in the proximity to downtown," she said. "Reality is you could walk or cycle downtown very easily. We're adding LRT." 

The LRT will be built on the east side of the development and is expected to open in 2024. 

The city first started talking about developing the 536 acres in 2008 and council passed the plan to redevelop the area in 2012.

The city has built the infrastructure for the first stage of the development, including sewers and roads. Landscaping work will be done in the coming months.