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An entire city block, 2.83 acres, for sale in downtown Calgary

A blank canvas to design a multi-tower project

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A rendering of buildings representing the development potential for Great Gulf's 2.83-acre site. (Image courtesy of Goodman Commercial)

An entire city block - 2.83 acres - is for sale in the heart of downtown Calgary.

Mark Goodman and Cynthia Jagger, principals of Vancouver-based Goodman Commercial Inc., and publishers of the Goodman Report, are marketing the piece of real estate where the former YWCA building was located and the property at 320 5th Ave. S.E. has been rezoned allowing for a high-density mixed-use project up to 20 FAR (floor area ratio) with density bonusing.

“It’s 123,689 square feet and you could in theory build 20 times that. . . .  You could build in theory two million, 474,000 square feet. That’s a lot,” said Goodman. “Now, realistically I’m not sure if developers will embrace that. There’s certain requirements and setbacks and amenities and things you’d have to provide.”

The scale of the site and access from four street frontages creates a blank canvas for a developer to design a landmark multi-phase / multi-tower project with efficient configuration and a multitude of massing options.

Zoning supports mixed-use, four high-rise towers

Flexible zoning allows for rental, condo, hotel and a wide variety of commercial uses. Preliminary architectural studies support a mixed-use project with four high-rise towers, however, any and all options are on the table.

The seller will consider both a sale of the entire site and/or subdivision options.

“Literally, my phone has been ringing off the hook and all the major developers are taking a look at it right now. It’s an iconic master-planned community offering. You can’t really get better than this. It’s literally centre ice,” said Goodman.

“On the Bow River . . . the best trout fishing . . . clear mountain water. It’s a phenomenal amenity.

“There’s no other site like this in the Calgary market right now. It’s like a blank canvas. A developer can create their own vision. Their master-planned community . . .

"It’s going to be a fantastic mixed-use development, multi-tower development. We’re very excited about this offering.

“There is lots of activity. Lots of excitement in this area. . . . It’s an entire city block. It’s priced well. It’s already been rezoned. This is going to be an amazing master-planned community.”

Great Gulf Development site
Image courtesy of Goodman Commercial 

The property is currently owned by Great Gulf

The property, which is located near the East Village master-planned community, is currently owned by Great Gulf.  The Toronto based developer purchased the site from YWCA in November 2015 for $49-million according to land titles documents obtained by the Calgary Herald.

The property comprises a full city block between 4th Avenue S.E. and 5th Avenue S.E., east of Macleod Trail and west of 3rd Street S.E. The location is on the eastern edge of the downtown central business district and western edge of East Village.

Through the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the City of Calgary has invested nearly $400 million in infrastructure and public improvements to kick-start revitalization of East Village into a world-class mixed-use urban neighbourhood. 

The site Goodman has listed is ideally positioned one block south of the Bow River, one block east of the iconic Bow tower and Calgary’s central business district, and kitty-corner to a two-tower project being developed by Bosa Development and RioCan, with a 180,000-square-foot commercial podium anchored by a new Real Canadian Superstore.

Expect more listings in a hot Calgary and Alberta

Goodman has two other multi-million dollar Calgary rental building listings on the market and recently sold one other site in the Alberta city.

“The Calgary market is hot right now. It really is,” said Goodman. “For developers, right now, in Vancouver at least, it’s challenging to get anything off the ground.

"We’ve been writing about this for years. The rezoning process takes forever. There’s a lot of red tape and in many cases there’s unknowns of what the community amenity charges are and so forth. We’re heavily taxed.

"It takes a long time. It’s tough whereas in Calgary it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a lot easier to get developments going and so there’s a lot of capital and developers leaving Vancouver and looking to greener pastures, namely Calgary.

“A lot of groups out of B.C. are interested in Calgary right now for existing buildings because it’s a higher-yielding property generally speaking and for developers because they can get going and actually realize their vision a lot quicker.

"That’s why we’re getting a lot of requests from owners and developers to use our company to market properties in Calgary.”

Recent sales in the Calgary market

Recently, the Goodman team sold the Vic on 5th rental building (1124 5th Ave. N.W.), with 79 rental units for $36.8 million. It was sold to Manulife and initially developed by the Spray Group.

It currently has listed for sale The Block on 4th (1904 4th St. S.W.) with 39 rental units and ground-floor retail for $22.5 million.

Also for sale at $44.5 million is Balsam, 131 rental units, at 2117, 2209 and 2219 81st St. S.W.

Both of those listings are owned by private individuals.

Editors note:  The listing price for the the site was removed from the article at the request of Great Gulf on the basis that it was mistakenly included on marketing materials provided to RENX.

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