SEE HOW THE GAR­DENS GROW

Rnd­sqr’s 20-unit in­ner-city devel­op­ment ap­peals to an eclec­tic mix of po­ten­tial buy­ers

Calgary Herald - - NEW CONDOS - CINDY STEPHEN

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.

DON MOLYNEAUX

Grow buyer Linda Lee sits in Rnd­sqr’s show suite. “I like in­ner-city liv­ing,” she says.

RND­SQR

An artist’s ren­der­ing of Grow in Bankview.

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