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New urbanism at the centre of Aragon’s Wadams Farm in Sooke

Designed as a walkable community, the property will offer 54 single-family homes, 78 rental townhomes

At Wadams Farm, Aragon Properties is designing the community to be walkable to embody new urbanism. (Courtesy PUBLiSH Partners)

Aragon Properties is embodying a "new urbanism" philosophy at its Wadams Farm community in the Vancouver Island community of Sooke, where it will offer a mix of for-sale and rental housing options.

Located outside the town centre of Sooke, a municipality about 38 kilometres from the provincial capital city of Victoria, it will offer 54 single-family homes for sale and 78 rental townhouses on an 11-acre site.

The design for the homes, which includes garages located behind the houses in laneways, is new to the community Luke Ramsay, a development manager at Aragon, told RENX Homes in an interview. The goal is to encourage walkability.

Sooke is a town where “people try to escape a little bit”, he said, noting it has a distinct identity and is not merely a far-flung suburb of Victoria.

“We were trying to fit this development in that context,”, he said, creating a walkable community where people prefer not to commute, that fits the feel of the town itself.

Based in Vancouver, Aragon is a developer, designer and constructor of residential and commercial projects in B.C., Ontario and California. Wadams Farm is its third project on Vancouver Island.

About Wadams Farm

Aragon acquired the homestead site from the Wadams family, which was already zoned for 133 housing units with a mix of four-storey buildings and single-family lots. Aragon kept the density the same, but rezoned it for smaller, single-family lots that are approximately 2,500 square feet, along with the townhomes.

“It was just to make that density fit for that site.”

Aragon could have opted for more townhouses and bigger lots, for example, but the chosen blend is a combination that, Ramsay said, best suits the needs of the community.

The 133-unit cap means Aragon “can get a little bit more density with townhouses than you can with single-family,” Ramsay explained.

The decision to opt for some rental housing was led by Aragon’s owner Lenny Moy, who sees rental housing as a long-term asset that makes the company resilient, Ramsay explained. Plus, Sooke is expected to grow, and residents will likely seek flexible, bigger units.

Mixing the two types of housing means Aragon can offer properties for people at different times in their lives. Some may be older buyers who can afford a single-family home; others may be young couples starting a family who want to start in a townhouse.

The single-family homes range from 2,700 square feet to 3,400 square feet, with three- or four-bedrooms variants. Prices start in the $899,000 range.

The rental townhouses will have three or four bedrooms per unit. Rents have not been set yet.

Aragon has started selling the first offering of single-family homes and expects occupancy in mid-July. A second set of single-family houses are being built and will be released at a later time.

The first set of rental townhouses are expected to be occupied in late 2024.

There was significant interest in Wadams Farm, Ramsay said, though many potential buyers are in the subject-to-selling stage. There has been one closed deal from a single-family home buyer in Sooke looking to upsize for their young family, he explained.

Interest has been split evenly from young families looking for a bigger home and older buyers who are empty nesters, Ramsay said.

Promoting new urbanism

New urbanism, a movement promoting walkable neighbourhoods, will be the guiding principle at Wadams Farm. Ramsay said it is an alternative to the typical suburban urbanism that is dependent on a car, instead fostering “a real sense of community.”

Laneways that allow the garage to be situated behind the housing mean narrower lots and more walkable front streets, he said.

The neighbourhood will be linked to Sooke’s trail network, and will have a dog park, a children’s park, a sports court and a mass timber amenities building.

It will be about a 10-minute walk from the Evergreen Centre shopping, and a short drive from the SEAPARC Leisure Complex and Whiffin Spit Park, a local realtor says.

Aragon’s other projects

Aragon’s Oakwoods in Esquimalt, B.C. is nearing completion, with expectations for units to be sold in the late summer to fall.

The company is enlarging and renovating the English Inn hotel, adding a restaurant, a wedding space and a spa. Behind the hotel, it is also building 180 one- to three-bedroom condo units and seven three-bedroom townhouses.

In its Victoria-based Cook Street Village project, which is under construction, Aragon has planned a 48-unit condo with three commercial units on the ground floor. Excavation started weeks ago, and Aragon hopes to finish the project and sell units in two years.

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