In 2009, The Crossing had one sole home sitting on acres of undeveloped land. Flash forward to today’s date, in 2019, and The Crossing features 7 roads and has over 230 homes, making it one of the largest developments to take place in the Municipality of West Hants. The Crossing doesn’t only hold appeal to “locals”, but has residents hailing from all over Canada, including Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Each resident is seeking a lifestyle community catered to empty nesters and retirees.
The land that The Crossing now sits on was previously owned by the Burgess family and used as farm land. It was purchased by Brison Developments in 2008 and the past 10 years have been full of growth and change. Here is a glimpse into what’s next for this growing retirement community.
The Need for A Retirement Community
A quick glance at demographics or news headlines illustrates that there is an aging population. President of Brison Developments, Mitchell Brison, recognized that there was a great need for a lifestyle community that would cater to like-minded seniors. Surely, the aging baby-boomers wouldn’t want to live in large family homes with spacious properties forever. The Crossing seemed like an ideal solution. It would feature single-level homes, allowing retirees to downsize and ditch the stairs. Residents would have less lawn maintenance, but they would still get to enjoy a back deck and yard. Most importantly, they would be surrounded by peers.
In the first few years, growth was slow. In fact, in the first year of operation, The Crossing sold just one home. For the target clientele, the concept of leasing land was new and unfamiliar. An independent living retirement community was a new concept in Atlantic Canada 10 years ago. It is difficult to sell a concept and it became evident that nobody wanted to be the first to purchase a home, as they wanted to wait and see how the development would progress.
After 3 years, The Crossing began to pick up momentum. Chief Financial Officer of Brison Developments, David Howell, states: “Once we hit that [critical mass] it was like ‘wow’, and everything started taking off at an amazing pace. That achievement was a big moment.” Brison agrees that a major milestone of development was seeing The Crossing become a true community.
Adapting to Demand
As time passed, a strong demand for rental options became apparent. The Crossing was able to adjust and meet this demand, and now offers homes that can be purchased or rented. It then became evident that many potential residents were seeking a newly constructed home built on site, as opposed to a mini home. The Crossing began offering New Valley Homes built semi-detached homes for sale or rent. Now, residents at The Crossing have the option of renting a 1-bedroom Prestige mini-home, renting or purchasing a 2+ bedroom Prestige mini-home, or renting or purchasing a 2-bedroom newly constructed semi-detached home. The ability to offer products that appeal to a wide range of potential residents has been a key contributing factor to The Crossing’s success.
Working with Prestige Homes and The Shaw Group
Each mini-home in The Crossing is system-built by Prestige Homes, a division of The Shaw Group. Prestige Homes was selected as the supplier for The Crossing as they are a locally-owned company with strong roots in the Maritimes. The quality of their homes is excellent and they have a dedicated and friendly team.
“The Shaw Group and Prestige Homes are very proud to have our name and brand associated with The Crossing development.” Says Adam Randell of The Shaw Group. “Having been involved since day one, it has been extremely rewarding to see how the community has grown over the years, not just in terms of the number of residents but in terms of everything community represents. We look forward to continuing to partner with the team at The Crossing through to full completion of the development.”
Special Features of The Crossing
The Crossing stands out amongst retirement living options in Atlantic Canada and beyond as it is a fully-established stand-alone community. The community now has over 230 homes – and is still growing! When people first enter The Crossing, they immediately feel how peaceful and friendly the community is. Each yard is landscaped and there is an abundance of greenery. The community boasts a duck pond, community gardens, walking trails, high bush blueberry plants, and a honey crisp apple orchard. Unlike at many apartment buildings, pets are allowed, and you frequently see residents walking in groups with their dogs. Another key feature is location. The Crossing is minutes from the highway, making it a quick trip to visit Halifax or the Annapolis Valley. With the size of the community, there is a community spirit unlike any other. Residents enjoy racing motorized boats in the duck pond, catching up with friends on their front porches, and going for group outings to bowling alleys, the nearby Avon Valley Golf Club, and more.
Another special feature of The Crossing is the diversity of residents. There is a strong Newfoundland community, which includes 5 sisters and 1 niece who all live happily at The Crossing. Some residents are snowbirds and some live in the community full time. Where most are retired, a few residents still work part time. There are former teachers, members of the military, mayors, bank managers, accountants, nurses, and lawyers – to name a few!
Moving forward, The Crossing is excited to continue to offer additional options on residential living. Project Manager of The Crossing, Betty Crockett, explains “we have recognized that we have to offer a wide variety of product for all needs. Each person is looking for the same happy and peaceful lifestyle, but some people want to live more lavishly than others.” Construction of a new street, Elizabeth Avenue, began this summer. This street is going to be upscale, and will feature newly constructed single dwelling homes. Further in the future, apartment living will become available. Brison states, “everything from stand-alone apartments to full-care assisted living facilities are being discussed.” This will allow residents to change their style of living while they are in the community, for example, by relocating from a 2-bedroom single dwelling home, to a Prestige mini-home, to an apartment. Additional services and amenities will be provided to community members as The Crossing evolves.
Staff at The Crossing have had a great feeling of pride and accomplishment in seeing the community mature. They look forward to the day that the community is full of happy people – and thank those who have supported them thus far. Here’s looking forward to the next 10 years!