by Stephen Dafoe
Larren Monti stands in front of the newly finished Re/Max offices on 100 Avenue, pleased with the project he has been involved in since the beginning. The 4500 square foot, two-story building is home to most of the Morinville Re/Max branch’s real estate agents.
Monti said the project began when Re/Max franchise owner Brent Melville approached Monti with a diagram of the building pocket and his wishlist of requirements – the need for 19 offices, and the need for the building preserve the look and feel of Morinville’s historic downtown area.
“We wanted to do everything to make it blend in and kind of go along with Main Street,” Monti said. “There was a lot of back and forth. Everyone was happy with the final design.”
Monti said the new building is the first building to be completed since the Coeur de Morinville Area Structure Plan, a document that requires buildings to preserve the look and feel of old Morinville while using modern elements. “What I wanted to do was tie in the fact it is a commercial building but … I also wanted to make it look more homelike, more comfortable,” Monti said. We tied everything in. There are no big glass doors; it’s more of a residential feel to it.”
The custom builder said the project would not have been possible a few years ago when the province required a 30-foot setback from the road’s edge for redevelopment on 100 Avenue. “We were able to move the building right up to the curb without that setback, which was huge,” he said. “This building would not be here. There would be no parking. That plan [642 Functional Plan] helped expedite this, no question about it.”
Monti said the ability to work to the curb allowed him to have 15 parking stalls behind the building.
Monti and his company Atlas Premium Home Development specialize in custom built residential homes that are fully designed in 3D, allowing clients to do a walk through of their new home. He used the same process for the Re/Max project.
One of the custom elements in the Re/Max building is a fully automated fire system, monitored 24 hours a day. “If there is a fire upstairs at midnight, it sends an automatic signal to the local fire department telling them what room it is in and when it started.”
Re/Max co-owner Jocelyn Blackburn said the company was pleased with Atlas’ approach and work. “He had everything really organized … and made it very easy for us,” Blackburn said, adding the expansion of their offices was greatly needed. “We’re happy to be in a place where we can spread our wings a little bit.”