Bridge Road Developments new owner of Pipestone Villas
September 18, 2023, 8:14 am
Sierra D’Souza Butts - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
On Sept. 13, Bridge Road Developments officially announced they have taken ownership of Pipestone Villas in Moosomin.
Bridge Road Developments purchased shares from local shareholders in the biggest real estate transaction in Moosomin’s history.
Harry Funk, of Bridge Road Developments, said Bridge Road taking ownership of Pipestone Villas was always a future possibility when the project began. He said the way the project has developed was part of his initial plan back when the facility was first built in Moosomin.
“This was part of the dream I shared with my board when I went back,” Funk said.
“I told them, not only do we need two independent living facilities, but we also need an assisted living facility, which we now have in the Cobblestone House. He said he was impressed with how the project developed in Moosomin.
“I think people generally underestimate the power of a united community in rural Saskatchewan. Most of these towns can do anything they want, but they have to stay united.”
Both Pipestone Villas apartment buildings were financed in part by funds provided by the company’s 15 shareholders; the majority being from the local area.
Having committed local investors in Moosomin is what helped create and bring the project to fruition, said Funk.
“I think what makes the difference in the Moosomin community is that people pull together, they try to do the best thing for their neighbors,” he said.
“If you’ve ever been to Unity, there’s a sign that says ‘God smiles on people that live in Unity,’ and I think that’s what really happened here.”
“Every time we had a problem in Moosomin, someone would say ‘we can solve that,’ whereas in other places, someone would say ‘that’s not our problem you fix it.’ Well, it’s not something that can be fixed by a board or by an owner, it has to be fixed internally.”
Funk said Bridge Road is open to the possibility of investing into future developments in the community.
“We’re always interested in a community that’s strong,” he said.
“Moving forward, if we continue to draw people here, there is a going to be growth. whenever you have a hub, it’s going to draw more people.
“Anyone from this region who doesn’t want to go to Regina or Saskatoon or Brandon, is going to say they want to be here, in Moosomin.”
Being able to turn over the ownership of Pipestone Villas to Bridge Road Developments was very rewarding, said Wayne Beckett, who served as president of the Pipestone Villas board until the purchase.
“It feels really good, the satisfying part is that it’s going to be a smooth and seamless transition,” Beckett said.
“Because Bridge Road has been a part of this since day one, the tenants know of them, and they’re well-received in a lot of similar communities.
“Between Bridge Road being part of it and it carrying on with the staff, including Bernie and Brad (Nosterud), it will make the transition almost seamless.”
Beckett spoke about why the original investors of Pipestone Villas decided to sell their ownership.
“There was never a target, but most of the investors were at the age where it wasn’t a 20 year plan, it was 10 years or less,” he said.
“When we started considering it, we didn’t put it on the open market so we don’t know if there was interest from far away, but Bridge Road stepped up once we started talking about it and that’s where the discussion ended.”
The Pipestone Villas Board intentions for building the senior housing facilities in Moosomin was based on the need for it in the community.
“As you know Bill Thorn is a good influencer,” Beckett said.
“He had a vision, and the economic situation at that time was pretty strong. The mine expansion was going on, there were lots of good jobs, it seemed like the timing was really good.
“When Bill had this idea, he approached people in the community, I’m not sure how many people he approached, but he ended up with 15 investors.
He said investors stepped up initially for multiple reasons, “For sure you want to get a return on your money, it doesn’t matter where you put your money, you want to get a return but, on the social side of it, the social impact is pretty significant, and Bill did a great job in communicating that.
“Once we got everyone on board for the plan and once it was running in the first few years everyone knows there’s lots of issues, but once it was running well, we knew we had a successful business and that it may not be hard to sell, if we all agreed to it.
“I think that’s an advantage this particular facility has over several other properties that Bridge Road is involved with, is that I think everyone would agree it’s one of the best managed facilities they have. It’s the model that they would use for other properties.
“We are pretty proud. The social impact is just as important as the financial return. We accomplished everything right from the start.
“Hats off to Bill for having the vision and the desire to push everyone who bought in, including the tenants, and now with Cobblestone, that’s just another added attraction that will benefit even further for years and years to come.”