Snowbirds flock to Scottsdale’s Sage

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Canal-front townhouses combine luxury living with an easy walk to Old Town Scottsdale. Canadian financing is available!

Contact Amy Koch to learn More about the Sage in Scottsdale.
Amy Koch


SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – What snowbirds enjoy the most — apart from wearing shorts in January — is the alternative lifestyle experience a second home affords. If they have to drive to buy milk at home, they want to walk to nice restaurants down here. If they downsized to a condo in Canada, they want their Phoenix backyard to open onto a desert wash.

“They want a counter experience to life back home,” says Brendan Mann, principal of The Solvere Group, the brokerage firm handling the sales and marketing for a newly-completed boutique condominium and townhouse community in downtown Scottsdale.

“People are looking for a different experience here,” says Mann, a Vancouverite who moved to the U.S. in 2002. “If they live in the suburbs, they want the urban experience here.”

He says Sage offers second homebuyers the best of both worlds, combining the privacy of spacious single-family living with the luxury of a maintenance-free lifestyle in a quiet, tree-lined enclave steps away from world-class shopping, dining and entertainment.

The director of sales and marketing says Canadians prefer the lock-and-leave ownership. “They want owning to be easy; just show up, open a bottle of wine, watch the sunset from the patio, and walk along the canal to the Old Town.”

Located near the intersection of Camelback and N. Scottsdale roads, Sage is an eight-minute walk from historic downtown Scottsdale, six minutes away from the upscale Fashion Square Mall and a 20-minute drive from Sky Harbor International Airport. Three, three-storey buildings stretch along the Arizona Canal, offering residents views of Camelback Mountain at either sunset or sunrise across the canal’s waterfront.

The high-end complex features 32 condominiums, 16 two-level town houses and two penthouses. Homes start from the low $300s US and range in size from a 1,598 sq. ft. two-bedroom condo to a 2,155 sq. ft. townhouse with attached two-car garage to the larger 2,760 sq. ft. penthouse. Residents can choose from three condo layouts and four townhouse floor plans.

Mann says Sage offers the only brand-new town houses in downtown Scottsdale. The well-known Arizona city of 233,000 was named the fourth most desirable city in which to live by in September.

Jeremy Ferdinands, who bought a two-bedroom plus den condo with a second-floor waterfront view in June, says Sage provided them the alternative lifestyle they wanted in a prime real estate location.

“We live in a very suburban neighbourhood in Surrey, B.C., and we wanted a totally opposite experience to Canada,” says Ferdinands, who’s been going to Arizona on business for the past 10 years. “Vancouver winters are dark and rainy and down there it’s warm and sunny.”

He said buying a turnkey home was important to him, as was living within walking distance of the nearby shops, restaurants, galleries and hiking trails, as well as vibrant Old Town Scottsdale. “We don’t even need a car. We can walk along the canal to have dinner in the Old Town every night.”

The housing market crash halted construction of the Sage project when it was near completion in May 2009, and the development was purchased by iStar Residential. Since sales reopened in February of this year, 25 of the 50 units have sold, four to Western Canadians. A two-bedroom condo, originally priced at $599,000 US, now sells for $299,000 US.

Compared to yesterday’s speculative real estate frenzy, Mann says the people who are buying today want to own the real estate and use the property. “They’re looking for a home that fulfils them now.” He says of the 25 homes sold at Sage, “there are no investors.”

Ferdinands says he’s still a few years away from retiring from the pharmaceutical business, but felt it would be hard to find this opportunity — a new property in a prime location for a reduced price — if they waited.

“Living in Vancouver, we’re really sensitive to how important location is,” he says. “We’ve seen how properties in desirable locations can quickly double and triple in price. Getting a good location here is going to be rare.”

After looking at eight or nine other developments, Ferdinands found the quality of the construction, appliances and finishings at the traditional-styled Sage “far and above what we saw elsewhere.”

Sage homes offer high-end cabinetry and finishes, including Dacor, Bosch, Grohe & Toto appliances and fixtures, granite and marble countertops, volcanic-stone gas fireplaces and hardwood floors. Sophisticated architectural detail and custom touches, such as solid cherrywood front doors with leaded glass accents, are standard throughout. Private oversized balconies and terraces overlook the mountain and water views.

The 3,400 sq. ft. clubhouse features an underground stone wine cellar with personal storage, a fitness area, a business and conference room and a canal-side social deck with lap pool, jetted hot spa and gas BBQ for outdoor entertaining.

Patricia Caffaro was down with her daughter in October to furnish the three-bedroom, 1,775, sq. ft., condo she purchased in June. She says the view of the canal off their second-storey balcony reminds her a bit of the long view she enjoys of the North Saskatchewan River from her condo in downtown Edmonton.

When she and her husband decided it was time to find a winter home, the retired couple rented a condo in North Vancouver where two of their four children live. But, she said, Vancouver’s weather and lofty real estate prices (“the HST on a $600,000 condo was $73,000”) led them to Phoenix.

“After looking at condos in Vancouver, Sage had a lot to recommend,” says Caffaro. “It’s a turnkey operation, nicely appointed, and move-in ready.”

She especially appreciates being able to walk to nearby amenities and services and stroll along the water canal because, as she confides with a smile, “when you get older, you want to keep moving.”

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

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