Buyer comes out on top

Nurse down­sizes slightly for dream view of the Bow River at Av­enue condo com­plex


When it comes to mov­ing to a new down­town condo kitty cor­ner from her cur­rent home, Nancy McGuire is tak­ing the long view.

“I’m down­scal­ing slightly in square footage, but I’m up­scal­ing in floor level,” says the Cal­gary nurse about her pur­chase of a unit in the two-tower Av­enue condo com­plex. “I have gone high enough to keep a river view.”

When she saw the plans for the project, which is in the West End com­mu­nity of down­town Cal­gary, she knew it was her chance to move to a new home with her dream view.

“That’s the key thing about why I’m mov­ing. I live fac­ing 6th Av­enue and in ret­ro­spect wanted 5th Av­enue and the river view, so that’s what I did.”

Av­enue is a 319-unit com­plex un­der de­vel­op­ment by Grosvenor Amer­i­cas and Cressey De­vel­op­ment Group. Sales have be­gun on the 24-storey east tower. McGuire de­cided to buy above the high­est pos­si­ble build­ing that could be built on an empty lot next to Av­enue.

This en­sures that she will al­ways have an unim­peded view.

As build­ings ap­proach the river in Cal­gary, they tend to get shorter to pre­vent shad­ow­ing of the river.

“I wanted two bed­rooms and two bath­rooms, so I kept that. The down­siz­ing in square footage is min­i­mal,” McGuire says of her B Unit plan. At 893 square feet, the unit of­fers views of the river from both north-fac­ing bed­rooms.

Sales at Av­enue launched at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber and the project has been well­re­ceived by home­buy­ers, says Michael Ward, vice-pres­i­dent in charge of Grosvenor’s Cal­gary de­vel­op­ment pro­gram.

“We are very pleased,” he says of the launch.

“We are start­ing to mo­bi­lize con­struc­tion on the site now. Fenc­ing is go­ing up this week and we’ll start mo­bi­liz­ing the site trail­ers.”

Ex­ca­va­tion is ex­pected to be­gin in Jan­uary. It will take about six months of ex­ca­va­tion and shoring work be­fore the con­crete be­gins to be poured.

“The other big mile­stone is that the per­mit from the city should be is­sued prior to the end of the year, which is why we’re get­ting ready on the site now,” says Ward.

Once con­struc­tion be­gins in earnest, Ward ex­pects the sales cen­tre to see a boost in traf­fic.

“A lot of peo­ple like to see the re­al­ity of a project go­ing ahead, and we tend to see a flurry of sales and ac­tiv­ity at that point, as we did at the launch,” he says.

Those tour­ing the sales cen­tre, with its two show suites, are com­ment­ing on the qual­ity of ap­pli­ances and fin­ishes, as well as the unit floor plans, says Ward.

The CresseyKitchen de­signs have also im­pressed peo­ple look­ing for a new condo.

“It’s this idea of hav­ing not just the back wall of the kitchen — with cab­i­nets and coun­ter­tops and the is­land — but hav­ing this third wall on the side of the kitchen, where the fridges are and the full-height pantries,” says Ward. “That’s some­thing that peo­ple, cer­tainly in a condo, haven’t seen — so much stor­age and func­tion­al­ity in a kitchen.”

Dur­ing cold snaps, peo­ple who work down­town can ei­ther bun­dle up for the walk or can hop on the CTrain — Av­enue is within the down­town free fare zone — and ride to the of­fice.

The de­vel­op­ment is also close to the Peace Bridge and a short walk to the Kens­ing­ton shop­ping and restau­rant dis­trict.

Cal­gary’s cold weather is what con­vinced McGuire to move into a multi-fam­ily de­vel­op­ment in the first place. Her ini­tial home in the city was a starter town­home in the north­west.

“I’m a nurse work­ing shift work. I got very sick of scrap­ing win­dows at six in the morn­ing in the win­ter, so I wanted a garage,” she says. “A heated garage and close to where I work is orig­i­nally why I chose down­town West.”

She also likes the life­style as­pect of condo fees that cover the main­te­nance de­tails of the build­ing. “I’m not so much into roof main­te­nance, hot wa­ter heaters, fur­naces, that sort of thing,” she says.

As a sin­gle per­son, McGuire is look­ing for­ward to the concierge ser­vice of­fered to res­i­dences, as well as the se­cu­rity as­pect it pro­vides.

Most of all, she is happy to re­main in the cen­tre of the city.

“I grew up in the down­town area in the El­boya area,” she says. “The Bow River is like fam­ily to me. There’s a com­fort with the fact that I’m right be­side the Bow River. How beau­ti­ful is that?”

She did look at many com­mu­ni­ties be­fore she moved to the West End, find­ing she kept be­ing drawn back to the river.

“Walk­ing around a lake would be won­der­ful — but walk­ing or rid­ing a bike miles and miles west or east on the Bow River is gor­geous.”

Visit our web­site for more pho­tos.

Adrian Shel­lard/For the Cal­gary Her­ald

Nancy McGuire pur­chased a unit in the Av­enue de­vel­op­ment — not far from her cur­rent home in the west end of down­town — for the river view it af­fords.

Pho­tos: Cal­gary Her­ald/Files

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the Av­enue pro­ject, cen­tre right, in the West End of down­town. To the left is the Louise Bridge on 10th Street.

Adrian Shel­lard/For the Cal­gary Her­ald

Buyer Nancy McGuire near a model of the pro­ject.

Win­dows in a unit’s great room cap­ture the sur­round­ing views.

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the front en­trance of Av­enue.

A large kitchen is­land seats four peo­ple.

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