If they build it, others will come

May 21 • Business, Feature StoryNo Comments on If they build it, others will come

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff; Gilles Michaud, vice-president of Maple City Homes (MCH); Robb Nelson, president (MCH); and Cecily Coppola, chair of the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, celebrate Maple City Homes being named feature industry of the month for May by the Chamber.

The driving forces behind Maple City Homes (MCH) in Chatham-Kent say they hope to really ramp up home construction in the near future.

It’s all to meet the growing demand in the municipality, as well as to entice others to locate here.

Gilles Michaud, vice-president of MCH, said the company is growing, as is its capacity to build new homes in Chatham-Kent.

“We’re growing in leaps and bounds. We’re building 50 homes a year, and we are ramping up to 75 and then ramping up to 100,” he said. “This will be done with a lot of help from our partners. We have a great team working together.”

Robb Nelson, president of MCH, said the company has access to enough land to build 900 homes in Chatham. Most of the work to date has been in the Prestancia subdivision in the northwest portion of the community, but roadways are already planned out and marked in the southwest section as well, with 376 lots planned there.

“We see a lot of need here. We’ve listened to the community to see what best fits the needs of the community,” he said.

He said they are also looking beyond C-K’s borders to see what is transpiring in other communities, and what can be done to entice people to move here.

Their homes are a hit with out-of-town retirees, as they are designed with low maintenance in mind.

Such homes, often semi-detached, are designed with one-floor living in mind. While they come with basements, most everyday living can take place all on the main floor, including laundry. The basement can be turned into additional living space for when out-of-town family comes to visit, or whatever the owner desires.

Unlike older subdivisions in Chatham, the MCH builds feature smaller property footprints, meaning less property maintenance.

Nelson said that frees up people’s time, something they cherish.

And that’s not just for retirees. He said it is appealing to millennials, especially those who can work from home. That is a growing market and one that will now look more closely at Chatham-Kent as TekSavvy and Bell run their fibre optic lines through neighbourhoods.

“That millennial market will be the target of our new production. We’ve got to give them a lifestyle; they want a smaller footprint as they want to come home to a manageable-sized home,” he said.

That means less time spent cutting the grass or vacuuming unused rooms and more time doing what they want, he said.

The board of the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce named MCH as the feature industry of the month for May. Chamber staff, board members, and MCH brass met at an MCH build on Daylight Point in west Chatham to celebrate on Friday.

“This place is beautiful,” said Cecily Coppola, chair of the Chamber board. “They have a lot of ventures going on, a lot of development in our community. They are filling a need for low-maintenance homes.”

MCH also believes in supporting local. The company has about 120 contracted workers, all from Chatham-Kent.

Nelson said all building materials, fixtures and appliances come through Chatham-Kent businesses as well.

“I think it’s fair to say that Maple City Homes continues to make a significant impact on our local and regional economic development through their multi-million dollar projects,” Jamie Rainbird, manager of Economic Development for the municipality, said in a media release.

Established in January of 2017, Maple City Homes is celebrating its third spring construction season.

The key people behind MCH, aside from Nelson and Michaud, are partners Darryl Clarke, Trevor Mailloux, and Kim O’Rourke Nelson.

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