HUNTSVILLE - A proposed development for Huntsville could have some international flavour to it.
Chinese real estate investor Yan Wang ( in green jacket) listens intently with her interpreters to Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty as he talks to them during the BrightStar Corporation presentation on Friday regarding the construction of a seniors’ residence.
Representatives from the BrightStar Corporation of Toronto met with town officials and local dignitaries Friday to welcome Yan Wang, a major Chinese real estate investor who may become a partner in the corporation’s first project in the region, called View Pointe.
The corporation, which bills itself as “a fully integrated real estate development company, involved and committed to the development and utilization of technologies related to the environment and recycling,” is working toward creating a 120-unit retirement condo-style community overlooking Fairy Lake, located on a four-acre property behind the Farmer’s Daughter market on Highway 60.
Wylie Freeman, who is the managing director for BrightStar, said Wang has worked with the corporation on previous projects, and was in town last week to see the opportunity the group has planned for the region.
“We want to bring her in, see the potential of our project, see the site and see why we are excited about bringing it here,” he said. “She wants to invest in Canada and she has chosen BrightStar to work with, and has worked with us before. It’s very important to the project if she works with us on it and we have a number of projects we have in mind with this investor.”
Wang and BrightStar officials were treated to a luncheon at the University of Waterloo building prior to taking a quick tour of the community and the site planned for the construction of View Pointe.
The project is currently in the final site planning stages, said Freeman, with work projected to start on the building late next summer, if everything goes well.
“There are no zoning issues, and we are just going through the final approval stages,” he said. “What sets our project apart is that we want the folks who are retiring at a slightly younger age and want to own their own unit. We will also have an amenity building, some 4,000 to 5,000 square feet … we have talked to agencies in the Huntsville area that are providing various kinds of services to seniors and retired people and we will provide those kinds of services in our project and our idea is to have this space available to the broader public as well.”
This is the first Huntsville development for the corporation, Freeman said he has been chatting with his sister and her husband, who live in the region, over the past few years about doing a project in north Muskoka.
“They live in the Limberlost area and they really want a place they can go in the Huntsville area. I had been looking for months for a property to do this project and a former mayor (Len Clarke) put his finger on that property. It was ideal and he introduced me to the owner and that was it.”
As for the visit, Daniel Choi and Crystal Bian from Universal Investment Alliance, a group that represents Yang and other Chinese investors, were at Friday’s meeting to act as guides and interpreters for Yang.
She said, through the interpreters, that she learned some things about the town through reading about its hosting of the G8 Summit back in 2010.
“We are very excited about being here,” she said. “We have the honour to come here with mayor, the senior officer (from BrightStar) as well as the chief of Rotary club. We are very glad for this opportunity.”
Wang said that she regretted not coming to the region two weeks earlier so that she could enjoy the fall colours.
“She said she won’t have that in China and she is very impressed with the beauty here.”
Rotary president Len Ross was there to bring greetings to the visitors on behalf of his group. Freeman said that the club is considering being the project sponsor.
“A decision is expected in the next two weeks. As sponsor they will oversee the running of the project,” he said.
Rotary president Len Ross said a committee has been struck to investigate what the club’s involvement could be in the not-for-profit project. He added that the local wealth of business acuemen within the club could be a benefit to the BrightStar Corporation as the project progresses.
“There would be compensation to the Rotary club for that. That compensation, we are looking at it as rather than tending bar somewhere or helping some activity in the community, we felt that by offering our business knowledge, we could be compensated for our ability to guide this in the community that we know, probably a lot better than BrightStar.”
Mayor Claude Doughty said he welcomed the opportunity to get to know BrightStar officials and the visiting guests, adding that it was a chance “to get to know each other as we work together.”
“It truly is an honour to have you with us, and we certainly look forward to a very prosperous relationship for the both of us,” he said.
Freeman said the corporation’s officials were pleased with Friday’s meeting, adding it gave all the key players in the proposed project a chance to mingle in a friendly atmosphere.
“The town was well represented through the Mayor Claude Doughty, councillors Fran Coleman and Scott Aitchison and several senior staff.
“BrightStar is now pursuing discussions with the investor,” he said.