East Village marks downtown rebirth
Condos set to arise on the best ‘real estate opportunity in North America’
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,
(Read the Calgary Herald next Saturday for a look at Embassy Bosa’s Evolution project in East Village).
Above, a potential East Village streetscape, once it is fully redeveloped, as envisioned in 2009. Below, a view of the First project.
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.
An artist’s rendering of the First project as seen at night.
Photo entries from Fram+slokker’s East Village Facebook competition are displayed during a wrap-up party.