Buyers come back for seconds
Second tower of Nuera project defies economic downturn
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.