HOMEFINDER PENINSULA: Peninsula market provides opportunity

Grant Rogers builds furniture as a hobby. He has been doing it for years and admits that, as a child, the building bug really bit him.

Construction is well under way at the Dunmora Estates in Central Saanich

Grant Rogers builds furniture as a hobby. He has been doing it for years and admits that, as a child, the building bug really bit him.

“I was the kid with the Meccano set,” he said. ”It was my therapy as a kid.”

And when it came time for him to consider a change in careers (he spent 14 years in the high-tech sector), Rogers gravitated to building once again. Real estate was the field he eventually chose, moving back to his home on the Saanich Peninsula from the U.K. He began building houses and condos for the high-end market, as well as what he calls more price-point-driven market housing. Then came what he calls his most complex project — the Sidney Pier Hotel.

Rogers said he chose real estate and development as a lifestyle. He found a mentor in Mike Cronquist and formed his company The Marker Group. Rogers said he was looking for a career that would afford him more time with his family and enable him to work when and where he wanted to. Building homes allows that, to a certain extent and he admitted getting past the negative stereotype of a developer was his first step.

“I can understand that perspective,” he said. “In our case, I generally provide all of the (project) funding myself, so I treat a project very carefully. I live here. I grew up here and no matter what I do, I have to live with it.”

Asked if land development is easy money these days, Rogers said the business does have some of the best returns of any industry he’s worked in. But to get to that point, relationships and trust have to be built on solid foundations. To that end, Rogers said he tries to be as open as possible with his business partners and the municipalities he is working with on any particular development.

In Central Saanich, for instance, Rogers has a proposal before the District, a small lot subdivision near the Keating Elementary School. The 10-lot proposal, he said, includes what he called ‘experiments’ — two units on very small lots, almost like stand alone townhouses, of 1,100 square feet at a price of around $300,000 or less.

“These are very unique and are what I would call attainable. This is something that could be a product to offer the market something it needs.”

To that end, he added Central Saanich has been helpful and willing to work with him as the project works through the approval process.

In the meantime, work progresses on The Marker Group’s Dunmora Estates project, a nine-lot development of larger properties off McPhail Road.

In the future, Rogers sees a changing market and demands for different styles of homes.

“As the market moves around, I’m glad,” he said. “I enjoy thinking about how we get the right projects for people for the right price point.”

He foresees the Peninsula facing more change than it has in the last 20 to 25 years when it comes to housing demand.

“As a developer who lives here, I feel the future holds potential for more commercial properties to meet the demand from new residents. But first, we do need that attainable housing.”

Rogers said it’s an opportunity.