It all Started Here at Chandler Point
The year was 1999. The cost of owning a cottage was becoming prohibitive. Two-income families had become the norm and leisure time was at a premium. On top of that, when vacations did roll around, there was little time or desire by a lot of people to attend to the maintenance required with traditional cottage ownership.
With this in mind, Partners Joe Giglio and John Puffer acquired a beautiful 7-acre resort property on Lake Kashagawigamog named Chandler Point and set-out to build the perfect cottages for busy families who had neither the time or desire to own a cottage in the traditional manner.
The Cottages at Chandler Point
The first task was to clear all of the old buildings from the former resort property. Although the buildings had charm and a lot of history, most were in somewhat rough shape or not up to the standards demanded by cottagers in 1999. Once the buildings were torn down or moved away, there were 7 acres and almost 800 feet of shoreline to work with and few restrictions as to what could be built. The task was somewhat made easier as John had just designed and built his own cottage in 1996 and Joe was a seasoned developer who paid a lot of attention to detail.
Much discussion took place but a few strong “musts” emerged when deciding what type of cottages were to be built, as follows:
- They had to be cottages for the whole family. This meant large dinning rooms, 3 bedrooms (including a bunkroom) and 2 bathrooms, all needed to accommodate multi- generations.
- They had to look like and feel like real cottages, not lakeside homes.
- They had to be built with longevity in mind, easy to maintain and timeless designs.
- The had to be right on the lake.
Chandler Point wanted to create a cottage community that provided for lots of green space and privacy. We wanted the cottages to blend with the natural environment and to have the lake as the main focus. To ensure that this was the case, only built 6 cottages would be spread along the lakefront, although the zoning would have allowed for more cottages.
Shared cottage ownership was a new concept, so Chandler Point had to create an ownership structure from scratch. Key was the fact that everyone wanted to use their cottage each year in the summer. A model was created that allowed each owner to use their cottage for a week in each season plus an additional week. Owners were assured that they had the same summer week each year and the other four weeks would be divided up well in advance and in a way that was fair to everyone.
Key too was the fact that the cottages and all of the property would be100% owned and controlled by the cottager owners and not the developer.
Lastly, a decision was made that the cottages would be professionally cleaned in between owners’ weeks, someone would be hired to do all of the maintenance and a professional manager would be hired to look after everything else, thereby assuring that the owners would have total relaxation when they were at the cottage.
To be honest, it was somewhat of a slow start. People loved the idea of shared cottage ownership but it was difficult to get the word out about how the concept worked. Then a lucky break. Pat Brennan, the New in Homes Editor at the Toronto Star at that time, came to see the property and wrote a great article about Chandler Point. After the article hit the paper, the phone didn’t stop ringing for about a week and the project sold-out shortly thereafter.
Based on the success on of the cottages at Chandler Point, Chandler Point Corporation rolled-out four new shared cottage ownership projects between 2002 and 2012, all of which sold-out quickly.