MobileExxon’s shift near The Woodlands means a sea-change for Houston real estate
Premium content from Houston Business Journal by Jennifer Dawson, Reporter, Reporter Date: Friday, June 10, 2011, 5:00am CDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 4:49pm CDT
Related: Commercial Real Estate, Retailing & Restaurants
Computer-generated image showing several low-rise office buildings that will be developed on Exxon Mobil’s 385-acre campus.
Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 385-acre corporate campus north of Houston is expected to fuel commercial and residential development in the surrounding area, and cause some adverse consequences throughout the local real estate market. The Irving-based energy giant’s complex, acknowledged by the company this week, near the intersection of Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road is expected to create the foundation for Houston’s next energy corridor. Exxon’s impact on The Woodlands will be similar to the effect Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had on its hometown of Bentonville, Ark., said Patrick Duffy, partner and president of Houston’s Colliers International real estate firm. “Everybody that does business with Wal-Mart has an office in Bentonville,” Duffy said. Many oil, gas and petrochemical companies already operate in The Woodlands just north of Exxon’s development, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), Huntsman Corp. and Baker Hughes Inc. Consolidating 8,000 of Exxon’s 10,000 Houston-area employees near The Woodlands could encourage similar companies to follow. But only if they have a place to locate. Shell Oil Co.; Conoco Inc., the predecessor to ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP); and Exxon were the first majors to venture west in the 1970s to create what would become the Energy Corridor. But other energy-related companies did not follow until Houston-based Hines developed 1.7 million square feet of multitenant office space in Westlake Park in the early 1980s. Large blocks of office space in The Woodlands are hard to come by. Only 8 percent of Class A office space there was vacant in first-quarter 2011, according to CB Richard Ellis Inc. When Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX) said in April it would move its headquarters from the Greenspoint area to The Woodlands, it prompted The Woodlands Development Co. to queue up its next office project, slated to span 147,000 to 189,000 square feet (read more at http://bizj.us/b2ojp). Talisman Energy USA Inc. also said last month it would expand from 15,000 square feet to nearly 43,000 square feet in 4 Waterway Square in The Woodlands Town Center . In addition to companies following Exxon, employees may relocate to The Woodlands, a 28,000-acre master-planned community that has more than 30,000 single-family homes and 5,700 townhomes. The community has another 5,000 home lots planned, and is always looking to acquire land for expansion, said Alex Sutton, co-president of The Woodlands Development. Springwoods Village, an 1,800-acre master-planned community in the early stages of development adjacent to Exxon’s site, will compete with The Woodlands for new residents and businesses. Upon build-out, the community being developed by New York-based Coventry Development Corp. is expected to have up to 2,500 single-family homes, 3,000 residences for lease, 8.5 million square feet of office space, 1.2 million square feet of retail space and 500 to 600 hotel rooms, all of which would support 35,000 to 50,000 jobs. Coventry will work on infrastructure for the next couple of years and start working with homebuilders and commercial developers later this year, said Keith Simon with CDC Houston Inc., a subsidiary of Coventry. “Everybody’s been waiting on this announcement,” said L.S. Trey Halberdier, managing principal with Bandier Realty Partners. “All the real estate people are happy because we can move forward and conduct business.” Real estate investors could scurry to snap up available land to hold or flip to developers. Exxon’s deal will prompt a 10 to 20 percent increase in land prices, said Halberdier, who is marketing land in The Woodlands area. The ripple effect But not everyone is happy. Exxon’s exodus could adversely affect three areas of town — Greenspoint, the Central Business District and the Energy Corridor. Five local Exxon companies will relocate to the new campus: • Exxon Mobil Exploration Co. and Exxon Mobil Development Co. will leave approximately 2.2 million square feet of owned and leased space in the Greenspoint area; • Exxon Mobil Gas and Power Marketing Co. and Exxon Mobil Production Co. will vacate a 1.1 million-square-foot, company-owned building at 800 Bell St. in downtown Houston; • Exxon Mobil Chemical Co. will leave space at 13501 Katy Freeway; • Exxon Mobil Upstream Research Co. will move out of 3120 Buffalo Speedway. Greenspoint will bear the brunt of the damage, as well as a joint venture between Hines and General Motors Co. that owns four Greenspoint buildings Exxon will vacate. Hines declined to comment. Exxon will leave approximately 40 percent of Greenspoint’s 5 million square feet of Class A office space empty. The submarket is currently 96 percent leased. “It’s going to be a blood bath there at Greenspoint,” said a local real estate broker, who asked not to be identified. “It’s going to be soft for a long time.” The Energy Corridor also could lose out on new tenants that might consider The Woodlands market as a viable alternative. “The Exxon move over the next five years will cause other energy-related companies to look at that location as a strong competitor to the Energy Corridor,” said Stewart Robinson, principal with Stewart O. Robinson Commercial Real Estate Advisors. “Some companies that would have looked out west will look north,” agreed Colliers’ Duffy. Houston’s Central Business District, which had an overall vacancy rate of 14.4 percent in the first quarter, is expected to absorb the space left behind by Exxon. Built in the early 1960s, Exxon’s skyscraper is considered a Class B property because of its age and location away from downtown’s core, said Jim Adams, managing director of the Houston office for Grubb & Ellis Co. “I don’t see it affecting the A class buildings,” said Adams, predicting it will compete with other older properties. A company may acquire the building for its own use, he added, or an investor may buy it as a redevelopment project. “Whoever buys it is going to have to spend money on it,” Adams said. “They’ve got to convert it to multitenant.” Exxon (NYSE: XOM) notified its U.S employees by internal memo this week that the new campus will include multiple low-rise office buildings, a lab, conference and training facilities, restaurants, a child care facility, wellness center and retail space. The massive project will initially have space to consolidate 8,000 Houston employees, with room for expansion. Employees would begin relocating in 2014, and the campus will be fully occupied in 2015. The project is a result of Exxon’s study of its U.S. real estate needs, and the company is still examining whether employees will be relocated to Houston from elsewhere in the country, the memo stated. Exxon’s headquarters near Dallas and the Fort Worth offices of recently acquired XTO Energy are not being considered for relocation, Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said. Local sources say Exxon’s 2,500 employees in Fairfax, Va., will be joining their local counterparts at the new complex — a notion denied by Exxon. “They are not currently planned to move,” Jeffers said.
University of Texas MD Anderson Medical Cancer Center is one of the most prestigious, ground-breaking medical centers in the world. The Houston Medical Center boasts 45 medical institutions, 13 hospitals and 2 medical schools. We have been working with medical professionals new to Houston for many years and we have all of the knowledge and expertise concerning this area that you will need. There are many Houston Medical Center apartments to choose from ranging from very modest studio/efficiency units, high-rise luxury apartments and fully furnished and equipped homes . Each property will offer different ammenities and some offer transportation to and from the Houston Medical Center for their residents’ convenience or are a short walk or drive to the Houston Light Rail that runs directly to the Houston Medical Center. We can find you a fully furnished and equipped home near any medical institution including:
■ MD Anderson Hospital
■ Texas Children’s Hospital
■ Veteran’s Hospital
■ Methodist Hospital
■ St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital
■ Texas Heart Institute
■ Memorial Hermann Hospital System
■ Memorial City Hospital
■ The University of Texas Health Science Center
■ Ben Taub Hospital
■ The Woman’s Hospital of Texas
■ Park Plaza Hospital
Please visit our Houston Medical Center Apartments page to get more information on the area and some of the properties located there.
If you are visiting the Houston Medical Center as a patient, we would love to assist you in finding an apartment as well. We are able to locate apartments with leases as short as 1 month or as long as 14 months. We have been working with MD Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Children’s Hospital helping their patients there find housing for many years, so you can feel comfortable knowing that we have helped others in similar situations.
You may also find it helpful to check out our New to Houston Virtual Packet. There you will find lots of information about Houston and helpful links to get you settled here in town.
Houston, the oil capital of America, is the fourth largest city in the USA and the largest in Texas. It is a bustling economic center where fortunes are made and lost every day. Like other Texas cities though, Houston sees it’s share of bad weather, which makes having Houston Home Insurance even more important. Having the right kind of Houston Home Insurance, will give you piece of mind and more importantly home insurance coverage in case of accidents.
What Is Included In A Houston Home Insurance Policy?
Home insurance is a term used in insurance, to describe a policy consisting of extensive coverage for your household. It is a type of insurance that covers most of your needs on a day to day basis with a few exceptions such as auto-insurance, which must always be signed a separate insurance. Home Insurance does not only cover your house and property, but also your personal items and personal liability and accidents.
In general a home insurance package is made up from 4 different cover areas:
Homeowner Dwelling And Personal Property, Liability, Medical Payments and Additional Home Living Expenses.
Home Dwelling and Personal Property Coverage
This part of the home insurance package is the one that most people consider when they are looking to purchase home owner insurance. Home dwelling coverage covers any damages done to your house and property. It includes coverage for modifications and structures that are not part of your main house. This could be a garage, tool shed or other storage facilities, which are usually valued at 10% of the total insurance limit. Basically home dwelling covers your house and property against damage.
Personal property is a category that includes all your personal items and belongings on your property, such as furniture, electronics, valuables and personal effects. In case of fire, theft or other damage, this will protect your belongings. Personal property contains items on your property, as long as they are not a vehicle. The value of the personal property insurance, is usually set at 50% of the total insurance policy, but if you wish, you can get lower coverage limit. This serves to reduce your premium payments.
Personal Liability Coverage
Liability is a term used in insurance to describe a situation when damage or injury has been done to a person on your property, and there is a claim for compensation. Personal liability covers expenses to both legal fees and eventual compensation made out by a court. Automobile damage is not covered under personal liability. Your entire household and family will be covered under this, including pets, such as the family dog. There is no personal minimum deductible on personal liability, which means that you will never have to front any money yourself, if you accidentally injure or damage another person or their belongings. The usual limit for personal liability is 100.000$, but can be raised if you feel the need to do so.
Medical Payments Coverage
If someone is injured at your property and requires medical attention, they will be covered under medical payments coverage, regardless of your involvement, though some insurance companies will not compensate the full cost if you were liable, so it pays to study the fine print!
Additional Living Expenses
In the unfortunate event that an accident renders your home useless for living, then you will need temporary accommodation. Additional Living Expenses covers expenses for motels or apartments for up to 12 months, while your home is being repaired. The total amount you can receive is usually around 20% of the insurance limit.
Some parts of the country is more prone to bad weather, such as parts of Texas where there is an additional risk of fire and storm damage due to the environment. To protect yourself against damage that is not covered by the above, you can opt for additional coverage. Common additional coverage are:
After a storm or a flood there can be a lot of debris on your property, which can be costly or time consuming to remove yourself. This extra will cover you against the costs.
Trees, Plants and Shrubs:
If you have trees and other plants on your property and want to protect them, you can choose this extra. It covers damage to your green plants and threes for amounts up to 500$
Credit Card Coverage and Identity Theft:
Included in some home insurance policies and an optional in most. This policy will protect you against credit card fraud and identity theft, but only up to a certain amount, usually 500$.
Mold damage is rarely included in a standard home insurance policy, but can be purchased additional.
Main Types of Home Insurance Packages in Houston
Home owners insurance in Houston can be purchased as three general packages:
HO1, HO2 and HO3.
HO1 is a the most basic insurance policy. HO2 is an extensive coverage policy and HO3 is the most inclusive coverage. HO2 and HO3 are by far the most popular types of home insurance.
HO1(Basic Coverage) insures you against the following perils:
Lightning and Fire
Damages to Cars and Aircrafts from Earthquakes
Mischief and Vandalism
Riots and Civil Unrest
Windstorm, Hail and Hurricanes
Accidental Water Damage
HO2 (Extensive Coverage) insures you against the same perils as HO1 as well as:
Building and Home collapses
Water and Steam Damages Incurred From Plumbing and Water Heating
HO3 (All Risk Coverage) covers just about all perils. It is easier summarized by the things it does NOT cover:
Property Damage from Earthquakes
Vermin Infection (mice, rats, insects)
Freezing Damages While Your House Was Unoccupied (Except if you turned of water or turned on heating)
Wind or Hail Damage To Shrubs and Trees
Vacated Home Expenses (Expenses incurred while you were away from your home for over 60 days in a row)
Maintenance (Wear and Tear)
Water Seepage Damage.
Choosing The Right Insurance Limit For Houston Home Insurance:
Once you have decided on which overall coverage you want, you must choose the total insurance limit. This will affect you in several ways. First of all, it will determine how much you are eligible to receive, when you make a claim, and secondly it will determine how much you will pay in premium. Choosing the total insurance limit is a balance act, between making sure you are covered and lowering premium payments. Set the limit to high and you are overpaying. Set it too low and you will not have sufficient coverage.
To better be able to choose insurance limits, here are some tips on how to prepare:
• Make a detailed list of your belongings. Be sure to include original receipts or make a good estimate where needed. This will help you get a realistic view of what you need.
• Decided on the how much personal risk you are willing to undertake. Your premium will be cheaper if you have a larger deductible.
• Get your house valued by a professional, including costs of rebuilding.
What Is The Cost of Houston Home Insurance?
The total cost of your home insurance policy will depend on several factors:
Type Of Coverage
Most of the price of home insurance is decided by your choice of HO1, HO2 or HO3 insurance.
House Construction and Property Age
The age of your house is a factor included in the calculation. Because building requirements were different in the past, some insurance companies will add an extra cost to older houses.
Insurance companies do in some circumstances add a credit risk premium to your policy if they think it is necessary.
Your deductible is the second most determining factor in the price of your policy. Deductible is the amount you are required to pay yourself when you have an accident. For example if you have damages worth $1000 and your deductible is $500 then you will only receive $500 in compensation. A higher deductible means a lower premium and vice versa.
Connect With Houston Home Insurance Agents Now By Filling Out the Quick Form At The Top Of This Page.
Culinary sophistication added to Kelowna’s list of attractions
Michelle Hopkins, For Postmedia News
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Nestled on the rolling hills of the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna has long been known as a popular retreat for retirees and Albertans.
In the last decade or so, it’s also become a destination for serious foodies and wine connoisseurs. It’s easy to see the attraction; some of the Lower Mainland’s most acclaimed chefs have been lured here, temperate weather and award-winning wines by some 25 wineries, and Kelowna has a winning recipe.
The Kelowna Farmer’s Market s is the largest farmers market in the province and at its height attracts more than 165 stands.
This city is waking up from its repute as a family summer vacation to a year-round destination that offers great accommodations, farm-to-table dining and unique boutique wineries as well as the world-renowned Mission Hill; while paying tribute to its natural playground and artistic residents. A few weeks ago, I spent a few days sampling the local cuisine and sipping on wines I’d enjoyed before, as well as a few new ones.
After settling into my lakeview room at the Manteo Waterfront Resort & Villas, it was time for a short walk along the water-front boardwalk. We then drove to Summerhill Pyramid Winery for its Chef Table Dinner, a seven-course wine paired meal. Both the executive chef Jesse Croy and wine maker Eric von Krosigk engaged us with interesting and witty repartee about the locally sourced and organic dishes as well as its organic wines. My favourite red was a toss up between the Zweigelt and the cabernet sauvignon. The Zweigelt is a bold, dark and intense wine that explodes with flavour, spices and fruits.
The carte du jour was an opportunity for the young rising star, Croy, to have fun and be innovative with his cuisine. He started us off with a palette cleansing Stinging Nettle tonic. We then noshed on this season’s first picking of asparagus, which was married with a soft poached egg, foie gras and Peace Ice Wine vinaigrette. It worked and was a delicious start to our culinary journey.
We then feasted on Haida Gwaii sable fish, Thiessen Farms quail, Ashcroft Bar M Ranch lamb and a small platter of local cheese. A chocolate flan with house made hazelnut ice cream rounded out this inspirational meal.
This was my first meal during my three-day trip to experience the culinary offerings of the farm-totable movement that is well established in this city of perpetual sunshine.
The next morning, after sleeping like a baby (the beds at Manteo are seriously comfortable), I checked out Monika Walker’s Okanagan Grocery, Artisan Breads location. The 28-year-old German-raised Walker was Voted Top 40 Foodie Under 40 by Western Living magazine last year. Walker owns two locations and sells her organic breads to some of the top restaurants in Kelowna. The Dubrulle International Culinary Arts graduate is as passionate as the other farm-to-table faithful and it shows in her artisan breads, scones, muffins, spreads, soups and other goodies.
She relies on the farmers for her fruit, Blackwell Dairy Farm for her dairy products, her organic flour (from Wolfgang’s Grain & Flour, which you can purchase at the Farmers’ Market), and other ingredients. (okanagangrocery.com).
Hundreds of people descend on the Kelowna’s Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market to buy organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, bread, coffee, pastries, plants, and little culinary delights such as crepes, paninis and smoothies, to name just a few. This is the largest farmers market in the province and at its height attracts more than 165 stands.
I was lured to the Sunshine Farm stand, where its owners John and Sher Russ sell certified organic plant seeds. My partner’s son, Kylo Hoy, is a chef and grows his own produce. He was thrilled when I told him he was going to have Indigo Rose and Fargo Heirloom tomatoes seeds.
I left, my arms filled with organic carrots, organic cheese from Jerseyland Organics, and baked goods from Quail’s Farm.
The farm-to-table movement is growing here and its chefs are embracing this movement that our country’s pioneers did naturally.
At the Wild Apple Restaurant in the Manteo, the journey from seed, to plant, to table could be called an obsession for award-winning executive chef Bernard Casavant. He is a passionate proponent for fresh and local produce; offering his patrons an ever-changing menu that is both unique and has a strong community connection. (FYI: If you love tomatoes, Casavant creates a number of mouthwatering dishes using Heirloom tomatoes).
The affable chef likes having a menu shaped by the seasons. Casavant is on first-name basis with most, if not all, the farmers who grow food for his guests to enjoy. That fastidious nature shows in the plates that come out of his kitchen. I was able to enjoy both of my breakfasts and lunch here, and each mouthful was sheer culinary pleasure – from my morning egg-white omelette with fresh spinach, heirloom tomatoes and kale covered with warm goat cheese, to my roasted carrot brie soup and spiced lentil quinoa falafel at noontime.
My last night, I dined at the Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar in Kelowna’s cultural district. Its owner/chef/sommelier, multi-award winning Mark Filatow, is another Western Living Top 40 Foodie Under 40 winner. The seasoned chef has long undertaken the same philosophy, emphazising the best artisan producers of the Okanagan region and surrounding areas, using the restaurant to showcase farmers and their product to its guests. Our threecourse meal began with seared Quadra Island scallops and ended with a chocolate mousse that was divine.
A visit to Arlo’s Honey Farm
The sun was shining and there was a light lake breeze that cooled the air.
Here we were at Arlo’s Honey Farm, rows of plants poking through the sculpted mounds of soil, nurtured by owners Helen Kennedy and her husband Rick Appel’s hands.
This 14-acre farm is another farm-to-table movement devotee. Although Arlo’s is well-known for its selection of honey, the couple also grows fruits and vegetables for some of the city’s finest restaurants, such as Summerhill’s Sunset Bistro and the
Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar.
But it’s the bees that Kennedy can speak about for hours. A selftaught bee-keeper, her honey has won numerous awards.
P.S.: Arlo’s will be celebrating International Day of the Bee (May 29th) on Sunday, May 27 with a tour, free wine tasting, a barbecue, honey samples and live entertainment. This free event runs from 11 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Last year, it attracted nearly 500 people.
Besides Summerhill Pyramid Winery, which is Canada’s largest organic vineyard, I had a chance to check out The View Winery. A relative newcomer to the Okanagan, it opened in 2007. However, the family has a long rich history in the region. Proprietor Jennifer Turton-Molgat is a fifth generation Turton/Ward. The family has lived on this property since the 1920s. Historically, it was an apple orchard but in the mid-90s, the rows of apple trees were replaced with vines. Initially, Turton-Molgat was going to build a new wine shop on the hillside but she opted to revamp the historic packing house built by her great grandfather Ward in 1922.
The tasting room has exposed original bricks on the walls, rough hewn wood floors and a sliding old farm door she found thrown into a pile. The View has already garnered awards since its inaugural vintage in 2007. I was especially taken by the 2009 Reserve Pinotage and the 2009 Pinotage, silky, elegant and fairly robust reds. You can’t miss this winery, located on East Kelowna’s Fab Five Wine Trail; just look for a large red shoe above the sign!
Finally, the food, wine and craft spirits here are a great complement to the area’s other tourism attributes such as its beaches, nightlife, golf courses, boating, and other outdoor activities.
For more information about Kelowna’s Wine Trails and for the Farm to Table Restaurants, visit tourismkelowna.com.
AT A GLANCE
Manteo Resort, Waterfront Hotel & Villas, 3762 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna Toll free: 1-800-445-5255 Website: manteo.com.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery’s nest Chef Table Dinner, a seven-course wine paired meal in its lakefront Sunset Organic Bistro happens on May 31. It is limited to 24 people so if you are interested, call toll free 1-800-667-3538 or visit summerhill.bc.ca.
Arlo’s Honey Farm, 4329 Bedford Lane. Phone: 1-250-764-2883 or visit arloshoneyfarm.com. Tours run all summer long.
Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is open Saturdays and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit kelownafarmersandcraftersmarket.com.
© Postmedia News 2012
Matt Crowell came up with the idea of getintheloop.ca, a partnership between local golf courses and golfers using the communication tools of the Internet.
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By Barry Gerding – Kelowna Capital News
Published: May 07, 2012 12:00 PM
Updated: May 07, 2012 12:38 PM
Many Okanagan residents like to golf and the numerous local courses want their business.
So a former Kelowna pro hockey player has come up with a partnership initiative to bring those two elements together.
Called Getintheloop.ca, the website was started up in the spring of last year by Matt Crowell to create an avenue for local courses to contact local golfers and make them aware of potential discounts and other tee time information on a daily basis.
The website started out as a text messaging service for club members, who joined for a $29.99 fee, which included a two for one package at The Harvest Golf Club and a deal every day of the week at one of the getintheloop.ca partner courses.
“We also hosted our first ever Golf Loop Night at The Harvest with prizes for everyone. All of our prizes were donated by local companies and it was a huge success,” Crowell said.
“We sold out. For a first year company and a totally new concept, we felt it was a successful season.”
Entering the 2012 golf season, the website membership is expected to double this year, and members are now contacted on golf deals daily by either email, text message or checking getintheloop.ca daily.
Part of the membership package this year includes a membership card, again a two for one deal at The Harvest, golf booklet savings valued at $89 and other service discounts.
“Our big focus now as a small company is helping local golfers and our partner courses,” Crowell said.
When Crowell returned home to Kelowna after playing pro hockey for a season with a team in Holland, he had his sites set on finding a job.
“I just came across the idea for a concept of bringing golfers and local golf courses together and I think what getintheloop.ca offers is a unique idea for that,” said Crowell.
The marketing side of his website business came naturally to Crowell, who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a marketing degree, earning a scholarship after playing in the BCHL.
“My plan was to start a business at some point but not right away,” Crowell said. “But this idea came to me and I thought it was worth a shot.”
Crowell has some long-term idea for expanding the services available through the website to beyond the links, but for now the focus is on golf and expanding the membership base.
“I was a little overwhelmed last year with the many different options that can be done with a program like this. I just wanted to start small and get the service up and working for our golf partners and members, and then see where we can take it from there.”
For now, Crowell has a job as an account manager for commercial business at the Business Development Bank, and he works on his website during his off-hours.
While he has now moved on from his hockey playing days, Crowell said the sport has offered tremendous opportunities in life for him, calling his one-year stint in pro hockey in Europe as “the time of my life.”
“I still have friends over there who will be lifelong friends, teammates and people I got to know, some who will be coming to visit me this summer. I played in Holland but I actually lived in Belgium, and I visited nine different countries during my time there.”
Why are people choosing Kelowna?
by Contributed – Story: 75366
May 18, 2012 / 1:00 pm
Photo: Contributed – Stone Sisters
We were out showing homes yesterday to a family moving here from overseas. They have two young children and are moving to Kelowna for the lifestyle. They want to raise their family in a safe community, yet give their children access to cultural and sporting activities that may not be available in smaller communities. They like the fact that Kelowna has an international airport, as he will be travelling quite a bit with work. Having a university here in Kelowna (UBCO) – especially one with such a well-respected reputation – was another bonus.
But they are most excited about the quality of life that Kelowna will give them. They are looking forward to enjoying Okanagan Lake this summer and Big White ski resort this winter. They are impressed with the quality of our public and private schools. They love the beauty of the Okanagan and the friendliness of the people here.
This family was able to choose anywhere in the country to live – and they have chosen Kelowna! This makes us proud to be from this beautiful area, and to be able to share the wonder of our community with people moving here.
When someone is only visiting Kelowna for a short period of time, it can be stressful making a major decision – such as which neighbourhood to choose. We first got together with them to find out what their needs, wants and preferences were. We asked questions like what activities the children will be involved in (dance, hockey, swimming?) and if they want a view of the lake, or room to kick the soccer ball around in the back yard after dinner.
We then gave them a good map, with highlighted areas and got them to drive all over Kelowna. We suggested they stop for lunch and talk to the staff about what they love about living in Kelowna. We even suggested that they take a quick stroll through the neighbourhood grocery stores.
All of this helps people get a sense of what Kelowna has to offer and which area will be the best fit for them and their family’s needs.
They’ll call us tonight with a list of homes they want to see and a few of their favourite neighbourhoods. And tomorrow we’ll begin the hunt in earnest.
Tamara Stone Personal Real estate corp.
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Video: Airport hotel to open in 2013
by Castanet Staff – Story: 74076
Apr 18, 2012 / 5:43 pm
Perspective of a Four Points by Sheraton
Construction on a brand new hotel near Kelowna International Airport (YLW) , is well underway.
Argus Properties of Kelowna and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide unveiled plans to introduce a new 120 room Four Points Sheraton hotel off Highway 97N and Airport Way, on Wednesday.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Canon, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, and a several city councillors were in attendance for the announcement.
The new hotel will open with 120 guest rooms and suites in the spring of 2013. The Four Points by Sheraton has allowed for an additional 100 rooms to be built in a future second phase. Construction will provide 170,000 hours of work and the new hotel will employ 65 people full time.
Brian McGuiness, Starwood Senior Vice President, says Starwood is happy to provide a new hotel option for Kelowna.
“At Four Points, we offer a compelling blend of comfort, style and affordability, plus the award winning Starwood Preferred Guest Program.”
Ted Callahan, President and CEO of Argus Properties says the Four Point by Sheraton will be a great addition to business and tourism travels going through YLW.
“Our hotel is in a perfect location to take care of airport travellers and will provide another social or business choice for nearby residents of Quail Ridge and UBC Okanagan.”
There are 161 Four Points by Sheraton hotels in 27 countries.
Tax rules can work for and against you.
Homeowners and landlords beware
by Contributed – Story: 52970
Mar 2, 2010 / 5:00 am
Anyone who owns a house, or is a landlord, should be aware that the use of your home may create an unexpected income tax liability.
Normally when you sell a home you will not have to pay taxes if it was your ‘principal residence’. The ‘principal residence exemption’ rule gives you a break by not requiring you to pay taxes on the portion of the gain eligible for the exemption.
So what if you lived in a home for a period of time, then decided to rent it out? Or what if you move into a home that you had previously rented? How do the principal residence rules apply in these situations?
Consider the situation where you have been trying to sell your home unsuccessfully and decide to rent it out. This would be considered a change in use of the property from personal use to income producing rental property. For tax purposes, this ‘change in use’ results in a ‘deemed disposition’ and has the same tax consequences as if you had sold it. If the fair market value of this home at the time of this ‘change in use’ is greater than the amount you purchased it for, the difference would be considered a capital gain. One half of that gain is taxable. If the principal residence exemption applies it can eliminate all or a portion of the tax on the gain. But relying on the principal residence exemption to shelter the tax on the ‘change in use’ may not be the best course of action.
For example, in the event that you own another property, such as a vacation property that has appreciated more in value than the home you have begun to rent out, you might prefer to use the principal residence exemption to shelter gains on the eventual sale of the vacation property. The result of not using the principal residence exemption to shelter the gain on the home that you have begun to rent out is that it will create a tax liability now. In this case you may consider an election that can be filed to deem the disposition on the ‘change in use’ to not have occurred. By filing this election you will defer having to pay the tax until the rental property is actually sold or you rescind the election.
Now let’s assume you decide to move into a property that you own but was previously rented out. In this case you will again have a ‘change in use.’ The change will be from income producing rental property to personal use. This will trigger the same ‘deemed disposition’ rules if the ‘deemed disposition’ results in a gain, the gain likely cannot be sheltered by the principal residence exemption. Under certain conditions a similar election can be filed to deem the disposition not to have occurred and defer the tax on that gain.
Another common situation is one where you have begun to rent out a room or suite in your current residence. This is also considered a ‘change in use’ but the Canada Revenue Agency will generally not apply the ‘change in use’ rule provided certain conditions are met.
It is important that you, as a home owner, appreciate the complexity of these rules. If you are in a situation similar to any of the scenarios discussed above it is important you discuss these issues with your accountant. A failure to comply with these rules could result in a substantial tax bill. Conversely, with sound advice ahead of time, these rules present a planning opportunity that can provide significant tax savings.
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