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Prestige Hotel Sooke Nears Completion; Hiring For Jobs This Week!

 

 

It’s not hard to see when you drive by the spectacular waterfront site that this landmark property is nearing completion. I was contacted yesterday by Prestige to let me know that they will be hiring for positions at the new hotel and conference centre, with a hiring fair of sorts occurring this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – January 12, 13, and 14, 2011.

They will be accepting resumés and applications for all positions in person at the Sooke Harbour Marina Resort, 6971 West Coast Road (map| streetview), right next door to the hotel site from 10-2 on Wednesday, and 1-5 on Thursday and Friday.

Interested? They are hiring for the following:

Guest Service Agents:

Prestige Hotels & Resorts is currently seeking Guest Services Agents to join our team at our new resort, The Prestige Oceanfront Resort & Convention Centre Sooke. This position offers exceptional growth opportunities within the Prestige Hotels & Resorts chain.

As a candidate for this position, you must have excellent communication and telephone skills, a strong attention to detail, the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and the ability to relate to the public in a friendly and professional manner.

Catering and Convention Coordinator:

Prestige Hotels & Resorts is currently seeking an experienced Catering & Convention Coordinator to join our team at our new resort, The Prestige Oceanfront Resort & Convention Centre Sooke. This position offers exceptional growth opportunities within the Prestige Hotels & Resorts chain.

As a candidate for this position, you must have excellent communication and telephone skills, a strong attention to detail, the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and the ability to relate to the public in a friendly and professional manner.

Room Attendants:

Prestige Hotels & Resorts is currently seeking Room Attendants to join our team at our new resort, The Prestige Oceanfront Resort & Convention Centre Sooke.

As a candidate for this position, you must ensure hotel quality and guest satisfaction at all times, work as a team player, and be physically fit in order to fulfill this entry level position.

All interested candidates should check out the Prestige website for more information about the potential employer and download an application form to include with their resumé.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional


Prestige Hotel and Conference Centre in Sooke Takes Shape [Photos]

The Prestige Hotel is slated to open in February 2011

Every day I drive by the site of the new Prestige Hotel and Conference Centre on the waterfront in Sooke. It’s been fun and exciting to watch it all come together. This amazing facility is scheduled to open in February of next year, and since my last update, they’ve announced some more exciting features:

  • The restaurant in the hotel will be Sal’s Prime Steakhouse – just looking at their menu makes my mouth water!
  • A Bistro called The Mix by Ric’s (as in Ric’s Steakhouse) will feature tapas, martinis, and a lounge
  • There will be a coffee bar and bakery
  • Indoor pool, hot tub and fitness facility
  • Waterfront spa

I stopped on the way home last week and snapped a few pictures of the construction:

Work on the exterior cladding has started

Look at that view!

Immediately beside the hotel will be a public boat launch, whose construction is also underway. The District of Sooke recently updated the progress of construction and the project scope in their District Quarterly Newsletter.

I can’t wait to see what this place is going to look like when it’s finished!

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Mariner’s Village In Sooke To Include New Medical Centre

Mariner's Village, Sooke, Master Concept

Sooke is quickly becoming one of the province’s fastest growing communities. New neighbourhoods are under construction, new parks and trails being established, and new commercial developments are being undertaken. Perhaps the most exciting of these developments is the Mariner’s Village project. Mariner’s Village is a mixed-use, multi-phase waterfront development which will include condominiums and townhouses, a new marina, restaurants, shops, offices and more.

Much more than just a subdivision, Mariner’s Village is the first step in the re-imagining of downtown Sooke. The town’s official community plan calls for enhanced development south of Sooke Road (Hwy 14) to improve public access and sight lines of our spectacular waterfront of the Sooke Harbour and Basin.

For a few years, there has been talk about a new medical centre being built in Sooke – more comprehensive and modern than the town’s existing small clinics, scattered about the community. In the plan for Mariner’s Village is the “Sooke Professional Wellnes Centre,” a large (perhaps up to 10,000 sqft) facility complete with doctors’ offices, Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) space, lab space, x-ray clinic, and other medical and wellness facilities.

A more comprehensive medical facility is essential for our town’s growth, especially considering that the nearest hospital is 25-35 minutes’ drive away in View Royal. And for the communities further west of Sooke like Shirley, Port Renfrew and Jordan River, it will be even more critical.

The project is just getting started, with its sales office for the first residential phase having just opened a couple of weeks ago. While it will take some time for this facility to be built, it will be worth the wait. If you want more information about Mariner’s Village or any other developments or neighbourhoods in Sooke, please call me at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form.

Want to know why Sooke is the place to be? Contact me!

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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How Many Homes Are There At Sooke’s Sunriver Estates?

A beautiful home at Sunriver Estates in Sooke, BC

…And answers to other frequently asked questions about Sunriver Estates in Sooke – one of the most popular new neighbourhoods in the greater Victoria, BC area.

Because I write a lot about Sooke, I get plenty of questions about living here, working here, and of course, about the neighbourhoods. Sunriver Estates is a huge master-planned community on the banks of the Sooke River, sloping up the Sooke Hills with various creeks and other natural features. It’s a very nice looking development, so it’s no surprise that it’s very popular. Also, the lots are larger than most other new developments in our area, so you can have a real back yard instead of a postage stamp. People move out here for the natural beauty, recreational options, quiet lifestyle, and of course the value. It amazes people when they visit Sooke what you get for your money, and how much more a similar house would cost (usually on a tiny lot) in Victoria, or even Langford, just 20-25 minutes’ drive away. Below are some answers to some frequently-asked questions about Sunriver Estates in Sooke.

Q. Is Sunriver Estates a strata development?

A. No, all homes in Sunriver are freehold, fee simple titles (except for the townhouses). Read details in this post.

Q. How many homes have been built at Sunriver?

A. There have been 371 houses built at Sunriver since it broke ground in 2004.

Q. How many homes are planned?

A. There will be 715 houses at Sunriver when construction is completed.

Q. How many more years will construction be taking place at Sunriver until it’s built-out?

A. At the current pace of construction, all homes will be sold and construction complete in approximately 5 years.

Q. What about the building scheme? I’ve heard that boats and RVs, etc are not allowed? Who enforces it?

A. The building scheme at Sunriver allows boats and RVs, etc, but stipulates that they must be behind a fence, lattice, or other sort of screening so that they don’t clutter up the character of the neighbourhood. The developer has sent out letters to offending properties asking them to comply. To date no one has been fined or needed action beyond the letter.

Q. Are any condominiums planned for Sunriver?

A. No, condos are not being built at Sunriver Estates. There are some very nice townhouses at The Pointe, and there may be a few more built.

Q. Will there be any commercial space built at Sunriver? Neighbourhood shops, cafes, etc?

A. When construction is completed, the sales centre will be sold off as commercial space. It will be up to the buyer (and Sooke zoning and business bylaws) what goes in there. Anything is possible – cafe, restaurant, pub? Who knows!

If you have any more questions about Sunriver Estates or other areas in Sooke or would like information about homes for sale in Sunriver Estates and Sooke, give me a call at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form!

Do you live in Sunriver? What’s your favourite thing about living there?

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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New Canadian Mortgage Qualification Rules Announced Today

Flaherty Puts The Squeeze On Mortgages

Following a couple months of speculation, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brought in some new regulations designed to tighten up lending practices and cool off the housing market in Canada. The government didn’t go so far as to reduce maximum amortization from 35 to 30 years, or increase minimum down payment requirements higher than 5%, but did take the following three actions:

  • Borrowers must now qualify for a five-year fixed rate, even if they are applying for a variable rate mortgage. Variable rate mortgages are based on the prime rate, which is at a rock-bottom 2.25% currently, and is expected to rise over the next 12-18 months. By qualifying buyers at the higher 5-year fixed rate, it is hoped that a cushion will be created such that borrowers can still afford the payments when the prime rate increases, as it will inevitably do.
  • Home owners who want to take out some equity from their homes when they refinance their mortgage will no longer be able to take out up to 95% of the lending value of their homes, only up to 90%. This is designed to prevent home owners from using their homes as an ATM and getting in over their heads if their property value declines. Probably not a bad idea, but it will prevent some home owners from paying off high-interest debt with low-interest mortgage funds. Overall, I’m happy about this one.
  • Purchasers of non-owner-occupied real estate, ie, investment properties, will now need 20% down instead of 5%. The government says this is to prevent speculation by investors. I’m of two minds on this move. It will certainly put a squeeze on buyers of investment properties, which may in turn lead to fewer rental properties available and hence a corresponding rise in rents.

The reader needs to bear in mind that the above rules are for CMHC-insured mortgages only. Private insurers like Genworth and AIG Guaranty may be more flexible. Mortgage insurance is mandated on all mortgage loans in excess of 80% loan to value ratio, which offers the lender protection should the borrower default. This way, lenders are able to offer borrowers lower rates because they do not have to compensate for the additional risk of a high-ratio mortgage.

Also, most lenders qualify a buyer on a 3- or 4-year fixed rate already when applying for a variable rate mortgage, so this won’t be a huge change for most institutions.

The new rules are set to come into force April 19th. I would expect a surge in activities in the market as buyers and investors try to get in under the deadline, even though most residential, owner-occupier borrowers won’t be too affected by the changes. All they will hear is “harder to get a mortgage” and they’ll rush out to get pre-qualified and then go shopping.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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A Tour Through Sooke’s Sunriver Estates Subdivision [Video]

Check out this video I shot the other day of a drive through Sun River Estates in Sooke. It’s a little shakey at times – sorry – but will give you a good idea of what the neighbourhood looks like, and I also provide some information about the various amenities in Sunriver, the prices, sizes, and features of the homes and lots.

If you’re reading this through a feed reader or via e-mail subscription, you may need to click the title of this post to view the video.

As always, if you have any questions about selling or buying a home (new or resale) in Sun River Estates, please give me a call at 250-885-0512, email me, or fill in my contact form – I will help you promptly.

Click for information about Sun River Estates and other neighbourhoods in Sooke.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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New Waterfront Hotel, Convention Centre, Public Marina Coming Soon To Sooke

sookeprestigelogosmall

What a difference a good council can make. Since being elected last November, the new Sooke Municipal Council has been busy. They’ve arranged for several provincial government grants for public projects, installed nearly three kilometres of new sidewalks, pushed ahead with plans for downtown revitalization, and now, finally, Sooke is going to get its hotel.

Sooke has long been known for its fabulous bed and breakfast facilities, and the Sooke Harbour House, a world-famous high-end seaside inn, but has always lacked a modern, middle-of-the-road hotel for everyday tourists. That’s all going to change.

Last year, three waterfront parcels along West Coast Road just before Whiffen Spit were put up for sale. The District of Sooke bought one, and the other two were acquired by Prestige Hotels. The District and Prestige have proposed an agreement to build a 122-room hotel, with a 400-person convention centre, full service marina, gym, spa, pool, lounge and restaurant and two ‘bistro-style’ eateries. Construction could start as early as this fall. The District will agree to build a public boat launch and pier on their property, and will pay Prestige $300,000 for five years, which will entitle the District to 12 rent-free days per month in the convention centre, for a total of nearly two years of free usage for the District.

A similar deal was reached in the community of Salmon Arm. District representatives traveled there last year to meet with Prestige representatives and talk to local politicians. While the idea of paying the hotel company was controversial at the time, it has worked out very well for Salmon Arm. Conventions and tourists are coming to town, and the building of the hotel attracted another new hotel to build in the area, and caused another one to undertake a major renovation.

As I see it it, there is no downside to this. A major commercial operation like this hotel will generate a lot of revenue for the District in property taxes, not to mention the ability to host conferences and conventions, weddings, tournaments, and all other events that will generate spending in our town. It takes a lot of people to build a hotel – the jobs will be welcome as residential construction has slowed in the past year. After the hotel is built, there will be jobs for people to work there. Finally, there will be a publicly-owned boat launch in the centre of Sooke and another marina right next to the mouth of the harbour. The fitness facility will be open to public membership, and the convention centre will be available free of charge to community and non-profit groups.

More details can be found in this article from the  Sooke News Mirror. Sooke’s council has accomplished much in their first ten months. They should be applauded for taking the initiative to attract this deal rather than waiting around for some hotel company to eventually find their way out the winding Sooke Road.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Exciting New Ocean View Condo Development for Sooke!

Late last month,  I was invited to a lunch event at the fabulous Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant to learn about two new development projects that will soon be breaking ground in Sooke.

Harbour View Center is the most exciting of the two. I’d venture to say it’s probably the most important development in the last 5 years, besides perhaps Sunriver Estates. It’s been at least a decade since the last condominium complex was built in Sooke, and I believe the market is desperate for some new, quality condos in Sooke.

The building will be located at Dover Street and Sooke Road on Sooke’s southern slope, just east of the town centre. This is an area that Council has designated as the major growth centre for the town, and for good reason. The gentle slope from Sooke Road down to Sooke Harbour is ideal for building beautiful ocean and mountain view homes and commercial space.


View Harbour View Center Location in a larger map

The development will feature 32 suites, most with spectacular ocean views. The non-view suites start at a very affordable price – $189,900 for 555 sqft, and prices range up to a very reasonable $399,900 for a top-floor, 1012 sqft ocean view unit. All units will feature 10 or 11 foot ceilings, granite countertops, hardwood floors, private balconies, and the complex will have underground parking – as yet unheard of in Sooke due to lack of storm sewers.

This is the first of what I hope are many affordable, quality condominium projects that will be coming available in the next few years. If you’ve been waiting for a chance to have a brand-new condominium in Sooke to live in, rent out, or as a vacation property, this is your golden opportunity. With only 32 units available, I’m fairly certain that this will sell out, and sell out fast.

For more information on how to register to reserve your unit, please contact me at 250-885-0512, Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bell’s New “ER” Ad Campaign is Confusing

A Slimmer, Trimmer Ma Bell

A Slimmer, Trimmer Ma Bell

Telecommunications giant Bell has recently ditched their two spokesbeavers, Gordon and Frank, in lieu of a slick new advertising campaign where everything is better. Their logo has been stripped down to just the Bell name in a slim blue typeface, and now every ad you see for them with any word containing the letters ‘er’ has the pair of letters in blue, making them stick out:

From Bell.ca

From Bell.ca

From Bell.ca

From Bell.ca

Since I saw the ads during the Olympics, I’ve been mystified as to what exactly the emphasized “er” was all about. I Googled around a bit and managed to snuff out that it’s all about being easier, better, faster, and so on, but they don’t stick to that theme in their ads. They just throw in the blue ‘er’ whenever they please. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I even Twittered about it and was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who was confused. Then I logged into my facebook page this afternoon and saw this:

Should Bell Bring Back The Beavers?

Should Bell Bring Back The Beavers?

Bell seems to be testing the waters on this issue. Not surprisingly, most people polled said they didn’t care, but taking those out of the equation, a good proportion just don’t get the ads.

And to think, some ad agency probably got millions to dream up that campaign.

What do you think?

-Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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