East Vil­lage marks down­town re­birth

Con­dos set to arise on the best ‘real es­tate op­por­tu­nity in North Amer­ica’

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - JOSH SKAPIN

When it comes to hot projects, Cal­gary’s mas­sive East Vil­lage re­de­vel­op­ment is def­i­nitely on the map, says a de­vel­oper.

“There’s prob­a­bly no bet­ter real es­tate op­por­tu­nity in North Amer­ica,” says Bruce Kerr, pres­i­dent of Slokker Canada Corp.

Slokker and FRAM Build­ing Group are one of two de­vel­op­ment teams set to bring ma­jor condo projects to East Vil­lage.

Fram+slokker’s project is called First, while the other is Evo­lu­tion by Em­bassy De­vel­op­ment of Burn­aby, B.C.

Boosted by $113 mil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments and other work done through Cal­gary Mu­nic­i­pal Land Corp. (CMLC), East Vil­lage has caught the eye of de­vel­op­ers across the coun­try.

The re­de­vel­op­ment is turn­ing what was once one of the city’s most ne­glected and old­est ar­eas into a mag­net for the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of down­town.

“I think Cal­gary is poised for a trans­for­ma­tion that will bring peo­ple back down­town,” says Fred Ser­rafero, vice-pres­i­dent of de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion for FRAM Build­ing Group.

The First project will be a two-com­po­nent com­plex — in­clud­ing an 18-storey tower and a four-storey, L-shaped se­lec­tion of con­dos cov­er­ing two sides of the tower’s base on Sixth Av­enue S.E.

In to­tal, the Toronto de­vel­op­ers own 1.4 hectares, in­clud­ing smaller parcels within East Vil- lage that are the planned home to six other build­ings.

The First project boasts 191 units and three lev­els of un­der­ground park­ing.

The av­er­age unit size will be 700 square feet, but will range be­tween 500 and 1,800 square feet. Unit prices have not been de­ter­mined, but Ser­rafero says the ma­jor­ity will be in the $350,000 to $400,000 range.

Most of the units will be of the one-be­d­room and one-bed­room­plus-den va­ri­ety, says Ser­rafero.

“The den can be used as a sleep­ing area for when a guest comes over, or as a sec­ondary lounge den,” he says.

MVisit our web­site for more pho­tos.

“There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways to use this area.”

Two-be­d­room units will be avail­able on the build­ing’s cor­ners. For more spa­cious liv­ing, one floor of the tower will be de­voted to six pent­house suites.

In 2009, Fram+slokker brought in three fo­cus groups con­sist­ing of 15 peo­ple each to iden­tify the needs and wants of po­ten­tial buy­ers, says Ser­rafero.

One of the com­mon in­ter­ests that sur­faced dur­ing the ses­sions was cy­cling. In re­sponse, First is de­signed with a ground floor stor­age fa­cil­ity for bi­cy­cles.

Also im­por­tant was that the build­ing’s lobby in­clude more than just a ta­ble and chairs, in­stead giv­ing its res­i­dents a rea­son to spend time there, says Ser­rafero.

First’s foyer will boast a Wi-fi cof­fee lounge com­plete with a flat screen tele­vi­sion.

“You can surf the net and you can make your own cof­fee,” says Ser­rafero.

First’s lay­out doesn’t ne­glect those who place a pri­or­ity on health and well­ness. Its third floor comes com­plete with a fit­ness cen­tre and yoga stu­dio — and a view.

“It opens up to a fully-land­scaped green roof that peo­ple can uti­lize,” says Ser­rafero.

How­ever, there’s no bet­ter view than the 18th floor, which is where a rooftop lounge with an out­door ter- race of­fers a scenic back­drop for so­cial ac­tiv­ity.

“You’ll have great views of both the Cal­gary sky­line and the Bow River,” says Ser­rafero. “We think that the rooftop lounge is go­ing to be quite nice.”

A room avail­able to be booked for meet­ings is also in the plans for First. The build­ing will in­clude about 7,000 square feet of com­mer­cial re­tail space on the ground floor.

In terms of choos­ing First as the name for its trail-blaz­ing East Vil­lage condo project, Ser­rafero ad­mits he did a dou­ble-take af­ter hear­ing the pitch from a mar­ket­ing firm work­ing with Fram+slokker on the de­vel­op­ment.

But it very quickly made sense.

“It started grow­ing on us,” says Ser­rafero. “It speaks to early adapters, and the peo­ple who are pi­o­neer­ing will come here and buy and have an op­por­tu­nity to buy and live in East Vil­lage first.”

The largest de­mo­graphic ex­pected to show in­ter­est in First are peo­ple ages 25 to 35, says Kerr, adding that will likely bal­ance out as the vil­lage ma­tures and it at­tracts older res­i­dents.

A shared sales cen­tre show­cas­ing fea­tures for both First and Em­bassy Bosa’s Evo­lu­tion is sched­uled to open dur­ing the first week of March. The 8,000-square­foot fa­cil­ity will also in­clude space for the Cal­gary Mu­nic­i­pal Land Corp.’s long-term vi­sion for East Vil­lage.

A model of the tower will be avail­able, in ad­di­tion to walk-through full-scale model suites, touch-screen TV screens and ren­der­ings.

Bro­kers will be pro­vided the first op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase at First, fol­lowed by those who reg­is­ter at live­here­first.com and then mem­bers of the public.

Con­struc­tion of First is ex­pected to start in the third quar­ter of this year,

says Ser­rafero.

(Read the Cal­gary Her­ald next Satur­day for a look at Em­bassy Bosa’s Evo­lu­tion project in East Vil­lage).

Cal­gary Her­ald Ar­chive

Above, a po­ten­tial East Vil­lage streetscape, once it is fully re­de­vel­oped, as en­vi­sioned in 2009. Be­low, a view of the First project.

Cour­tesy, Fram+slokker

Cour­tesy, Fram+slokker

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the First condo com­plex by Fram+slokker. It’s one of two ma­jor condo projects slated for the re­de­vel­op­ment of East Vil­lage.

Cour­tesy, Fram+slokker

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the First project as seen at night.

Cour­tesy, Jeff Mcin­tosh

Photo en­tries from Fram+slokker’s East Vil­lage Face­book com­pe­ti­tion are dis­played dur­ing a wrap-up party.

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