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The plan for Sylvancroft Estates in Edmonton was for a boutique, nine-home inflill community. The developer has since decided to allow smaller lot sizes.

photos by Beljan Developments

Sylvancroft Estates, the Edmonton infill development on the site of the now-demolished Sylvancroft Manor – the 1911 home of Alberta coal baron HME Evans – is relaxing its development guidelines in a bid to sell the remaining sites, six years after launching sales.

Buyers will now be able to purchase split lots, building two narrower homes on lots previously designed for one wide house. Buyers will also no longer be tied to using the developer's architect and builder.

So-called "skinny homes" have become popular in parts of Alberta because they help densify neighbourhoods and make home ownership more affordable.

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"Sylvancroft was the one project I thought would be a slam-dunk," developer Ivan Beljan said, "but things really didn't go as anticipated. After a couple of early sales, things really stalled."

Beljan Developments purchased the two-acre site, in the prestigious Groat Estates neighbourhood, as an estate sale in 2011.

Mr. Beljan said his initial plan was for a boutique, nine-home, modern infill community centred on the historic, 7,000-square-foot Sylvancroft Manor, which would be sold as a restoration project. It was demolished in 2016 when a buyer could not be found.

Since making the decision to allow lot splitting, two sites have been sold and four skinny homes will be built in 2018. They'll join two existing single family homes, built in 2012, and two duplexes. The three remaining full lots are now for sale starting at $485,000 and can be purchased as half lots at half the price.

"The people who can afford a full site here want a big house and they want to build it in the suburbs where they can have a lot of land," Mr. Beljan says.

"To get to the finish line with this project we need to open it up to a different pricing tier. Allowing people to split lots and build skinny homes is allowing us to do that."

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