I started writing $200,000 an Acre about four years ago. I wasn’t going to write another book—I’d accomplished my goal with book one, $100,000 an Acre, recording stories of the real pioneers of land development in Alberta from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. It was to be a one-shot deal.
Then readers kept asking, “Why don’t you pick up where you left off? Carry it forward from the 1980s?”
I didn’t think there’d be enough interesting material, not like the old days when entrepreneurialism was riding high and risk takers peeked around every corner. I started to do some research, talking to young people in the industry who were beginning to make their mark. Roy Moore of Lamont Land was my first interview.
Roy represents the new breed of developer who emerged in the early 1990s. There was a story there, and I was encouraged. I talked to other under-50s in the industry, and they had stories too. I decided to go ahead. Over the next three-and-a-half years, I interviewed 135 people involved in housing and land development. Book two contains their stories.
It profiles women in the industry, whose roles really increased in the 80s. It profiles the ‘young guns,’ who’ve kept the entrepreneurial spirit alive, and it profiles the companies who’ve made an indelible mark via their beautiful neighbourhoods throughout Alberta. Of course, I couldn’t leave out the ‘non-conformists,’ nor the home-builders, the planners, the engineers, the marketers, the contractors or the public servants.
I sincerely hope $200,000 an Acre also informs readers, who are not familiar with the industry, and demonstrates what land developers do. If you’ve always thought that developers are bad, I invite you to open your mind and see their very complex job from another perspective.