Housing developer eyeing Grey Highlands for attainable housing development

A housing developer has set its sights on Grey Highlands, with the goal of bringing attainable homes to the municipality.

LC Development Group announced to council on Dec. 1 that it will soon submit its application to develop 469 freehold lots off of Highway 10 in Markdale.

The proposed project will be rolled out in eight phases, including 313 single-detached homes and 156 town homes.

Of those, 61 single-detached homes have been proposed to be sold at market value, while the remainder of the development will be sold at attainable prices with measures to encourage local purchasers.

“We’re creating a very strict approach to who can buy those homes,” said LC Development Group president Suresh Singh, regarding a similar development in Meaford. “They have to work in Grey County or Simcoe County, it has to be, generally speaking, a local person who’s working and has never owned a home, or they can be a retired person who had previously worked at least 10 years in Grey or Simcoe County.”

“We take people through a very, very diligent and strenuous approval process,” he said. “We’re not just selling to investors or people that want to have a second home or Airbnb rental, we’re trying very hard to avoid that type of buyer.”

Speaking about the pricing of the company’s previous housing developments, Singh said that the company sold its 1,200 square foot town homes in Jasper, Alberta for around $280k, with comparable housing reaching prices of $450k.

The company’s 1,300 square foot town homes in Bracebridge sold, on average, for $212k.

Singh said that the company’s success lies partially in stringent cost-control measures, as well as efforts to streamline the application process.

“Prior to us making our application, we work with all of the agencies that are going to be reviewing our development,” he said. “We make sure that we satisfy all of those concerns, so that when we actually put the application in, it’s a relatively fast-tracked process.”

“What that means, though, is that staff and council need to buy into what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Councillor Tom Allwood questioned whether people considering moving to Grey Highlands would be eligible to purchase an attainable home.

“I’m hoping there’s room in there to accommodate people that are moving to the Grey Highlands and looking to work and establish their families,” Allwood said.

“We always like to see letters of offer for employment from businesses,” Singh responded. “Every case is taken on a case-by-case basis – if it were somebody who’s not living in the community or sort of working in the community already, we just really need to make sure that one of these homes is not taken by an investor.”

Mayor Paul McQueen supported the proposed development, and pointed out that the municipality has lost people who have moved to other communities over the years.

“Your price range, I think speaks for itself,” he said. “To be able to afford to live in the community that you work, … I think that’s so key.”

“This looks like that could also be an opportunity for those older retiring couples or families, or whoever, … because I know they’ve left [for] other communities,” he said.

LC Development Group has not yet submitted its application, but has been in discussion with Grey Highlands staff regarding the proposed development.

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