Trio of land parcels up for tender
City hopes second time is the charm for The Bridges
Three of the four parcels of land left in the last phase of The Bridges are out for tender for the second time.
While Bucci Developments was the successful bidder for one parcel and is already in planning stages of its Bridgeland by Bucci project expected to launch sales in February, the other three parcels did not have successful bidders, says Joel Armitage, director at the Office of Land Servicing and Housing for the City of Calgary.
The second round of tendering on the lots, known as 10, 11a and 11b, is to close in the next couple of weeks. The Bridges is located in the north innercity neighbourhood of Bridgeland, north of the Bow River and downtown and bounded by Edmonton Trail and Memorial Drive. It is a 14-hectare internationally award-winning redevelopment project, spearheaded by the city, on city land made available with the closure and implosion of the General Hospital more than 15 years ago. It has been lauded as a prime example of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) with its access to the Memorial C-Train station.
The city, says Armitage, will also be offering one of the sites in Phase 2 for resale after it buys back the land from Sandlewood Developments. Sandlewood, along with Apex with two sites and Assured, were successful bidders when Phase 2 lands went out for tender in 2006. But through the recession, the developers were given several extensions to construction timelines, the last until 2014. Both Apex (Bridgeland Crossings 1 and 2) and Assured (Steps Bridgeland) are well underway with their developments. The fifth project in Phase 2 is McPherson Place, already built by the InHouse Attainable Housing Society. However, because Sandlewood’s project is not out of the ground, it must sell the land back to the city — not to another developer — under the original area development agreement. This parcel sits directly south of the community centre and the large parks adjacent the facility.
Under that same area redevelopment plan, Phase 3’s parcel 11a has 24 affordable housing units that must be built as part of the project. If one developer buys both site 11 parcels, those units — which will come under the Calgary Housing Company, owned by the city of Calgary — could be spread over the two sites.
A total of 100 units of affordable housing were mandated by city council for The Bridges project, 76 which have already been built. Fifty-eight are included in Phase 2’s McPherson Place, which sits directly across from the C-Train station, and the rest over the Phase 1 mixed-use buildings (apartment-style condos topping retail opera- tions like restaurants and cafes) along First Avenue.
In The Bridges, a large park anchors the first phase, which transformed the old General Hospital site into a large green space with toboggan hill, soccer fields, play park and a community centre designed by award-winning architect Jeremy Sturgess. The Phase 2 sites are closer to Memorial Drive with the four sites in Phase 3 situated on 1.4 hectares of land between Centre Avenue and McDougall Road, east of 9th Street N.E.
Bridgeland by Bucci will be located at 1009 Centre Ave. N.E. with views of downtown from the 195-unit, seven-storey, air-conditioned, concrete building.
Infrastructure for the whole Bridges project is now in place. Phase 3 sites will hold multi-family residential buildings up to seven stories. This last phase includes a small park — St. Matthew’s Square — with a direct sight line to the church sitting above Murdoch Park where the old General Hospital once stood.
Joel Armitage, director at the Office of Land Servicing and Housing for the City of Calgary, in one of the undeveloped plots at The Bridges project.