Transformed to apartments from offices
Strategic Group opens 177-unit residential building born from repurposing project
a real-estate project repurposing a large, vacant downtown edmonton office building to a 177-unit residential suite celebrated its official opening Monday morning.
building owner strategic Group converted the aging Harley court office building at 10045 111 st. into a collection of one- and two-bedroom units, renaming the building to “e11even.”
The calgary-based development company says it’s the largest office-toresidential repurposing project ever completed in alberta.
“What we had was an office building that was 40 to 45 years old, and real estate goes in cycles,” said strategic Group ceo riaz Mamdani, who added that developments of newer, more desirable office spaces made Harley court “functionally obsolete.”
according to the commercial real estate services canada, edmonton’s downtown office vacancy rate was 18.2 per cent at the end of 2018.
Mayor don Iveson says the city’s approach to the high vacancy rate is to support developers as they pursue their own solutions, including repurposing projects like this.
“The market will set the strategy and the city’s job is to support investors,” Iveson said.
Iveson hopes the building’s opening will help boost nearby businesses.
“We’re seeing lots of new residential construction, particularly rental residential construction,” he said. “That’s great for student life. It supports the businesses on the streets. and it’s good for employers too, because downtown employers now have more opportunities for their staff to live close by.”
after a few weeks of renting, the building is about 20 per cent leased. Mamdani says the hope is to have e11even both fully completed — construction is ongoing on a few floors of the building — and fully occupied around the end of the year.
strategic Group is also carrying out a similar project a few blocks away, where it is converting the former centre West office building, 10035 108 st., and constructing another six-storey building next door for a total of 214 new residential units.
Mamdani says that the cost of a complete conversion is one factor that makes projects like these a challenge.
“There’s risks associated with the costs,” he said. “The difficulty is in making sure that the particular office building works from a residential perspective.”
existing office space layout also presents an obstacle, one that results in some unconventional floor plans for living spaces.
The Strategic Group’s largest repurposing project to date is the e11even, which opened Monday.