A portion of Haist St., north of Welland Rd., was closed last week to allow the installation of upgraded sewer service to the coming Emerald Trails subdivision. DON RICKERS

Construction of 25-unit townhouse and bungalow development to take a year

John Lally’s broad smile reflects his pride in the new residential community he is building at 1120 Haist Street in Fonthill, which will feature 18 bungalow townhouses and seven detached bungalows on lots enveloped in a park-like setting. In fact, Lally plans to live in one of the homes himself.

As President of Lally Homes, he purchased the 4.5-acre parcel, which had been the home of community’s arena, last year from the Town of Pelham. The old rink, built in 1975, has been demolished to make way for the new development.

“There’s a big demand right now for bungalows, and there aren’t a lot being built because they take up more frontage…you need a bigger lot for a bungalow,” said Lally. “Provincial development policies and the cost of land today are additional factors. But I am really happy to see this project move forward, and it has been a pleasure working with Pelham’s Mayor and council, Town staff, and local neighbours, who all provided valuable input regarding the site plan. It became clear early in the process that protection of this beautiful parkland was a significant issue for all.”

Lally Homes President John Lally, on site last week on Haist St. DON RICKERS

Lally also underscored that consultants, planners, engineers, and tradespeople associated with Emerald Trails live exclusively in the region.

“Hiring local talent for this development was important to me,” he said. “We’re trying to create jobs in Niagara.”

The energy efficient, open-concept townhouses and detached homes, built with green products for sustainability, will feature nine-foot ceilings, sunrooms and home offices, double garages, an adjoining park and walking trails, and tennis/pickleball courts. The subdivision will be accessible from both Haist Street and Welland Road, and will provide garage access by an alleyway to the rear, along with private backyards.

“We plan to start the roads and sewer network in early September, and hopefully commence construction of houses this fall,” said Lally, who noted that the square footage for the townhomes and detached bungalows should be around 1500 and 2200 square feet respectively.

Housing affordability is a critical issue in Pelham these days. The first half of 2021 saw Pelham house prices jump over 26 percent from the same period in 2020, with sales volume up 56 percent. The average sale price of a Pelham home in the past six months is over $900,000.

“With the price of land and building materials today, plus the cost of labour, compared to a few years ago, it’s not even in the same ballpark,” said Lally. “Unfortunately, it is getting very hard for young families to get a foothold in the housing market.” He said that any developer building homes at a very low price-point is likely getting some sort of municipal subsidy.

Lally Homes has long had a focus on the retirement home industry, and has also developed a number of golf course communities. Lally said he understands the demand for housing for seniors who want independent living.

The entire development is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022. Pricing levels have not been set, but should be available in the next couple months, said Lally.