SEE HOW THE GARDENS GROW
Rndsqr’s 20-unit inner-city development appeals to an eclectic mix of potential buyers
A four-year experiment will come to an end next spring when Linda Lee leaves the suburbs and heads back to Calgary ’s inner-city where she belongs.
“Cougar Ridge is nice, but I discovered it’s not really for me,” says Lee, an executive assistant in the oilpatch. “I like inner-city living. I like the vibrancy and the energy. There are more people doing things, more activity going on. So, I started looking.”
A friend with a family connection to Rndsqr, a new urban developer in Calgary, urged Lee to investigate its small-scale inner-city projects.
“What I liked about Rndsqr was the affordability. I want to live in the inner-city, but it can be expensive. Their homes are spacious for a downsizer who doesn’t want to give up space but still affordable for someone who is single,” she explains.
Rndsqr’s 20-unit Grow development, planted at 16A Street and 25th Avenue S.W. in Bankview, interested her because the concept was very different. Built on a step grade, the switchback-style building features townhomes, one and two-bedroom condos and loft homes appealing to an eclectic mix of buyers.
Lee chose a 1,033-square-foot townhome in Grow, with a bedroom, half-bath, kitchen and living area downstairs and two bedrooms and two full bathrooms upstairs. It covers the second and third floor of the four-storey building.
“There’s no space for a dining room table, but I don’t entertain a lot and when I do, it’s a small intimate group. We can sit around the island,” she says.
With possessions expected in spring 2019, Lee is contemplating her new life as an inner-city dweller and, for the first time in her life, an urban farmer. Just as her parking spot is titled to her unit, so is a 0.9 metre by 1.5 metre (15-squarefoot) rooftop garden plot.
“I love the idea of this garden. I grew up with my mom having a huge garden. I’m hoping I can emulate that. If I can grow my own fresh vegetables, I’d like to give it a try,” Lee says with a laugh.
“The first year, I just might plant flowers. I have to see how much of a green thumb I have.”
Alkarim Devani, co-founder of Rndsqr with his brother Afshin, is a born and raised Calgarian who lives with his young family in Marda Loop. He says their company is on a mission to create living experiences in the inner-city that force interaction.
His inspiration for creating a rooftop garden, which will also feature a 1,000-square-foot garden, are Rndsqr customers themselves.
“A lot of people, especially baby boomers, love their garden. They’ve been gardening for years, and when you move into these multi-plex buildings, there’s often not the place to do that,” he says. “We never want our buildings to feel stale. We don’t want you to walk into your elevator where you don’t say hi to your neighbour.”
Devani struck a deal with YYC Growers, a local urban farming cooperative, who will plant and harvest the communal plot at Grow while teaching residents what to do and how to plant in their own plot once they’re moved in. With a long wait list for community garden plots in other inner-city communities, such as East Village, Devani feels confident the rooftop garden plots will change the landscape of the community at Grow.
“This building is interesting in terms of design, and we feel we’ve hit every target demographic. We’ll have multi-generational living in Grow — families, seniors aging in place and young couples in the lofts, so we must create some synergy. That’s where the rooftop garden comes into play for us.”
There are 12 homes available in Grow, from 515-square-foot, one-bedroom units priced from $279,000 to 1,350-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom
townhomes priced from $550,000. Floor plans and interior finishes offered in Grow are captured at Rndsqr’s sales centre at 2212 33rd Ave. S.W. in Marda Loop where Devani’s team is already bringing the community together.
“We opened in June 2018 and have this massive outdoor patio space where we’ve been offering programming. We’ve had a yoga night, movie night and hosted a vintage flea market. This Halloween we’re planning a mini-haunted house for the community,” he says.
Lee says she often drives by the building’s construction, eager to start her life in Bankview where the shops on 17th Avenue S.W. are just blocks away and people are milling about. Unlike the suburbs where she didn’t really meet people, Lee hopes to make new friends.
“I understand that another buyer at Grow is around my age, so I’m looking forward to meeting her when the complex is ready,” she says.
Grow buyer Linda Lee sits in Rndsqr’s show suite. “I like inner-city living,” she says.
An artist’s rendering of Grow in Bankview.