Courtesy of La Vita Land

SAM Awards celebrate the best in the housing industry

La Vita Land receives nominations for Fireside and The Willows communities

While Calgary’s economic downturn has provided its share of challenges to builders, it did not stop the best of the industry from competing for the 2016 SAM Awards.

After receiving 800 entries, BILD Calgary Region has announced their 2016 SAM Awards finalists featuring 78 companies spread across 10 categories, competing for some 60 different awards.

“The awards are proof that BILD Calgary Region members have the drive and ability to create outstanding communities, homes, renovations, marketing collateral and so much more, even in the face of economic adversity,” said Shane Wenzel, the chair of the SAM Awards Committee and president of Shane Homes Ltd. “This perseverance shows the dedication and determination of our industry, which makes winning a SAM Award that much more of an accomplishment.”

One of the nominees is La Vita Land, a company that has secured six nominations for this year’s SAM Awards.

“This is the most nominations we’ve ever had,” said Justin Mauro, senior development manager for La Vita Land Inc., the land-development company behind Fireside and The Willows of River Heights, both located in Cochrane.

“To our investors and owners, Cochrane was showing potential to be the next hot satellite community,” said Mauro, noting that La Vita Land also undertook one smaller development in Arbour Lake, with another in Rocky Ridge in the works.

The awards are proof that BILD Calgary Region members have the drive and ability to create outstanding communities, homes, renovations, marketing collateral and so much more, even in the face of economic adversity.

La Vita Land has received SAM Award nominations for both its communities in the Community of the Year – Calgary Region category. La Vita Land also received nominations for two of its print ads, one of its radio ads, and a nomination in the Show Home Parade of the Year category.

Fireside, a 300-acre development, was released to the public in 2011 and Mauro speculates there will be another eight years left in that development. Willows – a much smaller development at 60 acres – was released to the public in 2013. Currently, Mauro estimates both communities are about 50 per cent sold.

Mauro attributes this year’s nomination success to the fact that “we saw a good share of the market come to our developments, and that the amenities in those developments are being completed and people are moving in.”

He characterizes both developments as “similar but different.” Mauro says, however, Fireside is the more family oriented one, with its numerous parks, pathways, playgrounds and a public school set to open in September.

“What has attracted people to The Willows is that the community has a cozy feel. It’s tucked away. It’s attracting empty-nester types, more so than in Fireside. It’s close to everything, but still maintains a sense of quiet and privacy,” explained Mauro.

Mauro says the architectural styles selected for both Fireside and The Willows was guided, in large part, by Cochrane itself. “They have Western Heritage guidelines … Our homes honour Western styles and values,” he said.

As La Vita Land is a small developer with a staff of only five, Mauro says the company is able “to pay attention to small details in communities.”

As for whether those details will secure La Vita Land a win, it remains to be seen. Industry peers volunteer to judge submissions and award points in each category.

“Once the judges have assigned their marks to the various criteria selected for the different categories, an accounting firm ensures the integrity and authenticity of the judging process, and winners are selected based on averages of votes selected for categories,” said Wenzel, adding that many consumers look at the latest SAM Awards finalists and winners when making decisions about their next home-buying or renovation decision.

The winners of the 2016 SAM Awards will be announced at this year’s April 8 gala at the Telus Convention Centre.

 

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