A local father, son and son-in-law can hardly believe their good fortune after purchasing the beautiful Cherry Creek Estate near Meadowbrook in the fall.
The 320-acre estate contains a luxurious 13,000 square foot home, a 5,400 square foot buggy barn crafted by Bavarian master timber framers, and a 5,000 square foot deluxe horse barn with in-floor heating. It’s also a working ranch with cattle, horses, chickens and goats.
“Three months ago I had no idea this place even existed. It’s been quite a life-changing event,” said Jody McInnes, who purchased the home after a nail-biting auction, along with his brother-in-law Joe Hockley and father-in-law Dennis Hockley.
The property was advertised for auction in the summer by former owner Hans Pleschinger. Joe Hockley learned the estate was up for sale and, knowing that Jody and his wife had long dreamed of owning a guest ranch, sent him a text message joking, ‘Are you going to buy this place?’ But when Dennis also suggested it to Jody, the three family members decided to attend a property viewing together.
“And it just blew me away,” said Jody. “I thought, ‘This is our place. How are we going to make this work?'”
Jody has an education in science as well as tourism and recreation. He owns Stillwater Consulting, a local project management group, and is a partner with Isaac Hockley, also a brother-in-law, in concert management group HM Productions.
Joe Hockley owns and operates Zion Trucking. Dennis Hockley is a long-time local real estate developer who owns Living-Stones Developments.
Together, they put their hands together and decided they would put in a bid on Cherry Creek Estate in August. There were four or five other bidders, and as the auction approached closing, it was very tense, Jody remembered.
“We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, so Joe and I just went golfing. I couldn’t work anyway, so we said, ‘Let’s go golf and we’re just going to be out there and accessible by phone.’ We were watching the clock tick down and all of a sudden we refreshed the page and it said the auction is over.”
The Hockley and McInnes families took possession in late September. Originally, bids for the property were starting at $7.5 million, but the final sale was for $2.9 million.
In October, Cherry Creek Estate hosted its first wedding, a family event.
“We had a month to move everything in and figure out the place,” said Jody.
Cherry Creek Estate is located off LD Ranch Road in Meadowbrook, between Highway 95A and Highway 95 at Wasa.
“It connects to Crown land on three sides so you have access to trails for recreation. There is a creek running through it. There are panoramic views everywhere,” said Jody. “You walk around with your mouth open, just thinking, holy smokes.”
The 13,000 square foot home has five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms, which can be separated into three units.
“The master suite is 2,200 square feet. The bathroom is like the main floor of my house,” said Jody.
But the home still feels cosy, he went on.
“It doesn’t seem that big because it’s really well set up and designed, so it still has that intimate, comfortable feel to it,” said Jody.
In fact, during the wedding in October, there were 200 guests mingling in the home in its library and main gathering room.
“I was thinking, where is everybody? It did not feel crowded,” said Jody.
Those two rooms can seat 120 people for dinner service, he added.
There is also an indoor pool, fitness centre and sauna.
Around the home and its outbuildings are acres of manicured lawns and gardens.
The post-and-beam buggy barn already contains a fully appointed apartment with kitchen, living room, dining area, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The horse barn has an air conditioner and dehumidifier and in-floor heating with ten large horse stalls, a farrier room, horse shower bath and tack-grain room.
Now Jody said they are working on plans to convert the estate into a world-class venue for weddings, executive retreats, and family reunions.
The main house will be operated as a bed and breakfast. The buggy barn will be converted into hotel accommodation with a warm, lodge feel. Other outbuildings will be converted into bunkhouses.
“It’s important that we have a variety of accommodations for a variety of different budgets,” said Jody.
They will also welcome boarding for horses in the deluxe barn.
“It’s like an executive room for the horse. Our ranch manager is very passionate about horses and he’s going to look after the boarding side of it.”
Cherry Creek Estate will have a private chef to offer dinner service.
“Eventually we would like to get to a point where we can go from farm to plate,” added Jody.
Once it is fully operational, the estate will bring in visitors from all over the world. Jody has already received phone calls from as far as China seeking bookings and quotes.
“The amount of phone calls and emails I get in regards to Cherry Creek is unbelievable.”
Simply from word-of-mouth, Jody said there are four holiday functions booked for this winter and nine weddings for next summer.
“It’s nice right now that through word of mouth, it will give people from around here the chance that if it’s something they want to do, they can get first dibs on it,” he added.