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Developer of Churchlea Mews sets sights on new projects in Orillia

Landen Homes' James Street development enters Phase 3; 'We are open to any infill opportunities,' company president says

A longtime local builder is eyeing new projects as residents snatch up his current homes.

Dennis Bottero, president of Landen Homes, and his wife, Bernadette Wainman, executive vice-president, purchased the former David H. Church Public School property in August 2017. Development on the site, which includes James and East streets, will include 65 units once it’s finished.

All 12 units built as part of Phase 1 and the 20 from Phase 2 have been sold, and Landen Homes is now taking reservations for its 13 homes as part of Phase 3. That will be followed by another 20 when Phase 4 begins. Those units will be for sale in the summer. A model home will be on site in the spring.

“This wasn’t the original plan,” said Bottero, who has built homes in the area for about 30 years. “We could have built 80 townhouses much denser, but we like to make it airier.”

The development is called Churchlea Mews (an homage to the former school on the site and to Stephen Leacock).

Given the demand for those homes, and how quickly people bought into Landen Homes’ Forest Heights development on Penetang Street, the husband-and-wife team is looking for another place to build.

“We are infill builders. We love to build in established neighbourhoods,” Bottero said. “We are open to any infill opportunities.”

“It is, for us, a very purposeful decision not to build 200, 300 homes a year,” Wainman added. “It allows Dennis and I to be hands-on through the whole process.”

That’s part of the appeal for potential buyers, she said, noting she and Bottero personally look after everything from sales to design.

“They deal with the owners though the whole thing,” she said. “Homeowners have our personal cellphone numbers, so they have direct access to the owners, which is almost unheard of in this business.”

They employ local tradespeople as often as possible but, given the province-wide shortage of trades workers, sometimes have to look outside of the area.

Bottero said the shortage hasn’t led to any major delays in the Churchlea Mews development.

“Our delays are more so from weather, but 2017 was a pretty bad year for trades,” he said.

However, once the housing market slowed in Toronto, more tradespeople became available to work in this area.

Six high-school co-op students are working on Churchlea Mews as part of their placements.

“It’s a way to encourage people that the trades are a wonderful opportunity for them,” Wainman said. “They get to see every trade at work.”

“We’re trying to get them involved in the different facets of building rather than just the grunt work,” Bottero added.

More information about the latest development can be found on the Landen Homes website.

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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