Sandbanks Summer Village to sell its last cottages this year
A decade ago, the prospect of hundreds of cottages on East Lake was, for some, the ruination of the County. Now as the development nears completion, Sandbanks Summer Village has proven to be an attractive addition and contributor to the East Lake community, a welcome boost to the local economy and a major addition to the County’s tax base.
From the outset the developer, Cottage Advisors, was intent on contributing to the County—using local suppliers, local trades and local know-how to build and market its product.
The company overcame stiff resistance by folks wary of how the cottage development might transform their community. That resistance largely dissipated as the project took shape.
Sandbanks Summer Village has welcomed the community to use its resources, including pool and tennis courts. It was the primary sponsor of a study that looked at the health and sustainability of East Lake. It has contributed to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation. Currently, the developer has begun marketing excess capacity in its fibreoptics line to neighbouring businesses and organizations in the Cherry Valley and Sandbanks region.
Cottage Advisors was in some respects pioneers, enduring the hardship of being first, blazing a trail for others to follow. Principal Howard “Chip” Hall says he was likely five years ahead of the market.
Sandbanks Summer Village began marketing cottages in the midst of the biggest global financial meltdown since the Depression. Similar projects in Maine and Massachusetts had sold out in a few years. It has taken a decade in Cherry Valley.
“We were a little bit ahead our time,” acknowledged Hall. “This has been a very long journey. Ten years in the making—five years too long.”
The last two years have made up for a slow start.
“Last year we had the best year we ever had,” said Hall, “and currently we are 150 per cent ahead of where we were last year. Things are moving. Looking at finishing up this year, which is great.”
Hall says that while just 32 cottages remain to be sold, there is still a selection of cottages remaining in all three neighbourhoods: the meadows, the woodland and the water’s edge offering a range of price points.
Hall is looking at ways to lever this company’s expertise and capacity in the County— but that likely doesn’t mean a new cottage development. Over a decade, Cottage Advisors has formed a strong building team along with an effective network of trades and suppliers.
“It is something we were looking for when we began to develop this project,” said Hall. “If we can find someone who wants to do a larger project in Prince Edward County, our development company can support that. Perhaps this is how we can leverage our expertise and capacity.”
His company has also formed Sandbanks Telecommunications as a way to market excess capacity in the fibreoptic line Cottage Advisors had installed from Picton to serve the residents of Sandbanks Summer Village. There is certainly unmet demand for broadband Internet from Cherry Valley to Sandbanks Provincial Park.
“We’ve got a lot of assets to leverage: physical, process, expertise and people. I don’t want it cast into the wind,” said Hall.
In any event, Hall has made a five-year commitment to the residents of Sandbanks Summer Village, agreeing to manage the property and the rental business and facilitating owners in renting of their units to a population eager to spend a relaxing holiday on East Lake.
Sandbanks Summer Village is hosting an open house this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Even if you aren’t in the market for a cottage, this may be the last, best opportunity to see how the project turned out.