Courtesy Dream Development

When Dream Development rolled out Vista Crossing, it didn’t just bring new housing options to the town of Crossfield – it completely changed expectations of what residential development could look like in the town.

“They’ve raised the bar for anyone else coming to Crossfield,” said Kenneth Bosman, chief administrative officer of the Town of Crossfield. “The next subdivision that comes in behind them will have a much higher standard to hit than what came before.”

Crossfield, which is located about 15 kilometres north of Airdrie, has had area structure plans in the past, but Vista Crossing is the town’s first large-scale, master-planned community.

At completion, the community will be home to 1,000 residences across 64 hectares (160 acres).

“It’s global-class planning,” said Bosman. “It raises the bar in terms of the standard of amenities, the standard of the fit and finish, the quality.”

Dream is also the developer behind a handful of Calgary communities, such as EvansRidge, Wentworth and Castle Keep.

“They’ve raised the bar for anyone else coming to Crossfield. The next subdivision that comes in behind them will have a much higher standard to hit than what came before.” – Kenneth Bosman, Town of Crossfield

“Master planning is really just considering a lot of things at a very high level before putting any shovel in the ground,” said Michael Tandara, Dream’s director of marketing for Western Canada land and housing.

“I think being able to look at that across a 160-acre parcel, rather than doing a little bit here and there, allows you to think about how all those developments weave together.”

In Crossfield, Dream saw an opportunity. Airdrie continues to be a desirable option for house hunters looking to live near, but not in, Calgary. However, the satellite city’s growth – the population now sits at 70,564 – has prompted buyers who want more of a small-town experience to look elsewhere.

“When we looked at Crossfield, the commute was very comparable (to Airdrie),” said Tandara. “You don’t deal with the traffic coming back on to Yankee Valley Boulevard (in Airdrie), but it really was an opportunity to get that smaller-town feel again.”

Affordability is a major part of Vista Crossing’s appeal. New laned models featuring large front porches start in the $280,000s, while front-drive, single-family homes that back on to the community’s primary park start in the $340,000s. In both cases, prices are lower than comparable product available in Calgary or Airdrie.

However, the appeal of a community can’t begin and end with price, says Tandara.

“It should always be secondary to lifestyle,” he said. “As long as it’s a perk, it’s great.”

Vista Crossing has a community garden, eight hectares of green space, two hectares of protected wetlands and four kilometres of walking trails. The community’s Amery Park boasts an ice rink, barbecue pit, soccer field and playground.

“What I’ve been really excited by is the number of young families that are coming back, having their kids and setting down roots there,” said Tandara.

He adds that many of their homebuyers have come from Airdrie and other small centres in the area, such as Carstairs and Didsbury – to maintain their small-town lifestyle, while moving a little bit closer to the conveniences of the big city.