Buy­ers come back for sec­onds

Sec­ond tower of Nuera project de­fies eco­nomic down­turn

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - MARTY HOPE

It’s go­ing to be a while be­fore the cranes start flock­ing back to Cal­gary’s high­rise mar­ket in the way they did just a few short years ago.

But a few of them are still hov­er­ing over the city, fin­ish­ing off on­go­ing condo build­ings that were un­der­way when the eco­nomic down­turn hit full stride, forc­ing de­vel­op­ers to shelve projects, cap oth­ers off or stop cre­at­ing blue­prints.

One project that will get un­der­way in 2011 will be the sec­ond half of the Nuera twin bill of tow­ers, each of which will con­tain 231 apart­ment con­dos.

Con­structed by Ed­mon­ton-based Cove Prop­er­ties, Nuera is lo­cated at 14th Av­enue and 1st Street S.E.

The ex­te­rior of the stylish glass and con­crete high­rise has been com­pleted — ris­ing, like its twin, 34 storeys over the Belt­line district. “Oc­cu­pan­cies could be start­ing this week on the lower floors and could be com­pleted by Jan­uary,” says Cove Prop­er­ties pres­i­dent Clay Ham­don, adding that more than 180 of the 231 units have been sold.

It was just a lit­tle more than two years ago that heavy equip­ment first growled and slogged across a pud­dle-strewn, fenced-in con­struc­tion site in Vic­to­ria Park to break ground for Nuera.

The project is di­rectly north of Cove’s other two tow­ers, Sasso and Vetro.

Be­sides con­dos, Nuera has 25,000 square feet of re­tail space and a four-floor parkade ca­pa­ble of han­dling 540 ve­hi­cles.

Prices for con­dos still avail­able in the first tower range from $308,000 to $475,000 for units mea­sur­ing 630 to 980 square feet.

As well, sub-pent­houses and pent­houses up to 1,500 square feet are priced from $750,000 to $900,000.

“There is a vi­brancy con­nected with high­rise liv­ing,” says Ham­don. “But we still have to pro­vide our cus­tomers with a prod­uct that is priced ap­pro­pri­ately — and right now, we don’t think the mar­ket is strong enough for apart­ment con­dos priced over $1 mil­lion.”

In Cal­gary’s ur­ban mar­ket, it’s the young pro­fes­sion­als and down­town work­ers who are buy­ing units in Nuera.

They want to be close to work, yet live and play in the in­ner city.

“We’re very en­cour­aged by the re­sponse to our first tower,” says Ham­don. “It’s in a nice lo­ca­tion, and the strength of Sasso and Vetro was a bonus — and, in part, that’s why we’re gear­ing up to launch the sec­ond tower.”

It’s Ham­don’s plan to be­gin pre-sell­ing the tower early in 2011, with con­struc­tion likely to be­gin later in the same year.

Be­cause the parkade and re­tail podium are al­ready com­plete, he ex­pects pos­ses­sions could be­gin in 2013.

Like the first tower, the sec­ond will have 980-square­foot, two-bed­room units on the cor­ners of each floor — and one-bed­room suites of 470 to 590 square feet in­side.

“It’s the cor­ners that make Nuera look the way it does, so we in­tend to carry on with that look,” says Ham­don.

Among the ameni­ties that will be of­fered to Nuera res­i­dents will be a fully equipped gym with change rooms, show­ers and stream­rooms.

There will also be an own­ers’ lounge and board­room.

Both tow­ers were orig­i­nally to be com­pleted by this year, but progress was ham­pered by the eco­nomic down­turn that started to af­fect the devel­op­ment in­dus­try as early as 2007.

But Ham­don says cor­po­rate de­ci­sions at Cove less­ened the im­pact on devel­op­ment.

“We were for­tu­nate to have built a fair amount of prod­uct and turn it over at a strong rate,” he says. “Be­tween 2007 and 2009, we closed 98 per cent of our trans­ac­tions.”

Be­sides its Nuera project, the com­pany has al­ready pur­chased two “ brand-new chunks of dirt” in Cal­gary for fu­ture con­struc­tion, says Ham­don. Cove Prop­er­ties also bought a cou­ple of sites in Ed­mon­ton.

Con­struc­tion of the sec­ond tower of Nuera by Cove Prop­er­ties, right, is set to get un­der­way in 2011 at 14th Av­enue and 1st Street S.E. in down­town Cal­gary.

Above: Nuera’s sec­ond tower is on the right in this artist’s ren­der­ing. Left: The stylish suites aim to ap­peal to young pro­fes­sion­als and down­town work­ers who want to live in an ac­tive ur­ban set­ting.

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