The most ambitious project to be announced over the summer is The Guardian Towers by Hon Tower Ltd. which has an ownership link to Jager Homes.
This will be the company's first venture into highrise urban development. The project is a rework of the Torode Residential Ltd.’s threetower Arriva project, which went bankrupt after only one tower was completed.
The new concept is for twin 42-storey condo towers, each with about 320 units, that will be completed in phases.
This project still needs city approval. Ideally, construction would start in 2012, with the first tower completed in late 2013.
This site will benefit from the re- cent completion of the 4th Street S.E. underpass that will link East Village with Victoria Park and the Stampede.
It would also benefit from any announcement of the commencement of the Stampede Trail retail development along 4th Street and the National Music Centre, both within easy walking distance.
Connaught (Beltline West)
There are two major condo projects left over from the early 2000s boom — Oslo on 11th Avenue at 12th Street and Astoria on 10th Avenue at 9th Street.
To date, nothing has been announced for the redevelopment of the Astoria site, but Homburg-centron Teamworks has reworked its condo plans for Oslo into a 12-storey, mixed-use development with 372 units.
It is being marketed as Calgary’s first multi-storey, green-built project.
Homburg-centron Teamworks is another experienced urban developer. Previous projects include Churchill Estates in Eau Claire and Castello in the Beltline
The company also has approval for another condo called Cristal Tower in the same area as Oslo.
If you are wondering what has happened to the Midtown condos and the potential of 650 units being added to the market, Homburg-centron Teamworks has purchased this project and it looks like it is planning an office development, rather than residential.
I am very curious to see how Belt- line West evolves with the development of the West LRT Line.
I expect significant developer interest in the area around the Sunalta LRT Station west of 14th Street. Will the Sunalta development compete with or compliment what has already happened and is planned for Connaught?
What does the future hold for the Beltline?
The next few years will be very interesting for the three Beltline districts as its population grows from 18,000 to more than 25,000.
Will 17th Avenue evolve into an upscale restaurant/club/lounge row? Will the 11th Avenue Design District mature into a wonderful retail/cafe shopping area?
Will the First Street/haultain Park/memorial Park trifecta take on its own identity? Will Stampede Trail/stampede expansion become a reality?
Will Centuria, Midtown and Astoria be completed? What impact will the East Village and Sunalta development have on the Beltline?
The market for Beltline condos is currently focused on young professionals. As a result, the units have been getting smaller and smaller, with a more efficient use of floor space — most are in the 550 to 650 square feet range.
The goal is to price most of the units between $250,000 and $350,000, where the demand is the strongest.
One market that isn’t currently being well served in the Beltline is the empty-nester market, which is looking for well-designed units in the 1,400 to 1,600 square foot range at a price under $700,000, allowing such units to compete with innercity homes.
This is a difficult market, but is one that is needed if the Beltline is going have the diversity of people needed to ensure vitality 18 hours per day, seven days a week (i.e., 18/7).
Young professional are great, but they have to work weekdays and for most of them the Beltline will be just a temporary home — in other words, once they get find a partner and decide to have a family, it will be “so long” Beltline and “hello” singlefamily community in the suburbs.
If the Beltline is to thrive as a mixed-demographic community, there will have to be more diversity in the new condo developments.
I am not sure the Beltline boom is back j ust yet, but it is positive to see some of the pre- 2007 projects are getting f inished, and some new projects are either under construction or being marketed.
However, launching a project for sale is the easy part — while securing suff icient sales to get construction started and completed on time, and on budget, is the hard part.
CFor other Richard White columns, visit our website under the heading: ‘More News and Views.’
The site of the former Midtown project as seen in 2009. Homberg-centron Teamworks has purchased the site, but is planning an office development.
An artist’s rendering of The Guardian development in the Beltline.
People relax in Haultain School and Park in 2009. Will the First Street/ Haultain Park/memorial Park trifecta take on its own identity?