Jesse LaFrance, the owner and president of JL Developments, said West Hawk is an amenity-rich community of about 110 acres and located in the northwest quadrant of Cochrane.
“West Hawk is the largest hillside master-planned community in Cochrane . . . It’s rising in elevation approximately 70 metres from the lower lands located along Highway 1A to the uplands and it results in spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, foothills and then the Town of Cochrane to the west and south,” LaFrance said.
“What really differentiates this hillside community, aside from its topography, is that more than 50 per cent of all homes being constructed will be amenity. What I meant by that is they will be facing 27 acres of environmental reserve or park space which is really quite unique and that’s a derivative of the topography within the community,” LaFrance said.
“This concludes the last tract of land within the Heritage Hills neighbourhood. And we would be the third-largest landowner in the Town of Cochrane.”
Development schedule for the site
LaFrance said grading of the site will begin in fall of this year. The first phase of development, site servicing, will begin in the summer of 2024 and will encompass a school site that he believes will accelerate demand.
“We’ll also be dedicating two linear parks south of Heritage Boulevard which will provide direct access to the 27 acres of environmental reserve within the community, and that’s being done with the first phase of the development,” LaFrance added.
He said the community is designed to provide a variety of innovative housing opportunities – townhomes, duplexes and single-family, as well as estate homes.
“Those buildings are going to be styled under a Cochrane-modern motif with a colour palette that’s going to really inspire the natural hillside homes including stone accents and some key architectural elements,” he said. "We’re currently working through a detailed analysis of its architectural guidelines.”
Unique characteristics of the site
LaFrance said the land purchase was very attractive to JL Developments given the property had been entitled since 2017.
“And the topography offered the proposition for us as a developer of a really unique hillside community that was not available elsewhere in the region,” he said.
“Aside from us being privileged in playing a small role in developing the Town of Cochrane, it was also a very opportune time to unlock a new hillside community in west Cochrane with the construction commencing of Highway 22 and the Highway 1A interchange.
“This new overpass that’s replacing current traffic lights coincides exceptionally well with the grand opening of West Hawk, which is planned for summer 2025, and by doing so this provides new residents with ease of access and massive views of the foothills and the Rocky Mountains,” he added.
High Point at Clairview development
The company also has a development in Edmonton. A year ago, JL Developments acquired a 27-acre tract of development land, known as High Pointe at Clairview, which LaFrance said is now sold out.
“We have completed the development in its entirety. We’re just concluding the installation of a 2.5-acre park space. That development will welcome over 1,200 residential units and up to 100,000 square feet of commercial amenity,” LaFrance said.
He said JL Developments owns one of the multi-family sites on the development property, where it plans to bring online 215 apartment units over two buildings with construction expected in spring 2024.
“Some of our other buyers have varying start dates as early as this fall. We have one of our developers starting and they’re bringing online over 300 apartment units as well.”
About JL Developments
JL Developments, which was founded in 2020, actively pursues direct land development opportunities and strategic partnerships in low-density residential and multiresidential asset classes, with a focus on both the Greater Edmonton Region and B.C.'s Okanagan district.
LaFrance said the company’s bread and butter has always been land development.
The company’s first development took place in 2021 when it purchased 12 acres from the City of Edmonton. That was developed into 85 single-family lots for Schonsee Homes.