Vancouver-based Cape Group has launched leasing for a 150-unit rental building at its master-planned community in the City of St. Albert, just north of Edmonton.
Lakeview is part of the first phase of the Bellevue Village development at a 13.5-acre site. The apartment building rises six stories and includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom units with dens.
Intelligence House is the marketing and leasing agency for the project, which aims to complete occupancy during the next two months.
The property, located between Riel and Ray Gibbon Drives, and north of LeClair Way, was too large for a small developer and too small for a big developer, said Zack Ross, the COO for Cape Group.
He said Cape Group’s size and vision for the site is the perfect fit. The property was initially zoned for large-format retail, but the company opted to develop it as a mixed-use community. The first phase also includes about 40,000 square feet of retail, along with the rental homes.
“We wanted to bring people to the area,” Ross told RENX.
Bellevue Village to be built in phases
Eventually, the community will include 300-400 rental homes and 160,000 square feet of commercial space, including an anchor grocery store which has yet to be selected, Ross said.
There will eventually be three to five phases of construction depending on the final building designs.
Cape Group anticipates building a community where residents don’t need to hop into their cars to get what they need. The development is expected to have a coffee shop, salon, restaurant and brew pub as part of the complex, Ross said, noting it will be announcing commercial tenants soon.
Cape Group looked to the University Village retail hub in Seattle for inspiration for this project.
“That’s a very well-designed retail node around the University of Washington,” Ross said. “We essentially modeled (Bellevue Village) after that, but added in the residential units to make it a full compliment.”
He said the company will begin planning the next phases in 2020.
Cape Group’s research suggested the area was in need of more rental apartments, instead of condos.
“We did a lot of research and the vacancy rates in St. Albert were extremely low when we started looking for sites,” he said. “Our business has always done rentals. If we can keep them, we’ll keep them.”
Most of the rental stock in St. Albert dates back to the 1970s.
The company is aiming at downsizers or young professionals who aren’t yet ready to buy a house, he said.
“You name it, he built it”
Cape Group, a fully integrated property developer, builder and manager was started by Ross’s grandfather Ralph Schwartzman in 1956. Schwartzman remains the company’s CEO.
Among their past projects are the Richmond Auto Mall and the River Sports Centre in Richmond, where Cape Group has been headquartered over the decades. (The company is relocating its headquarters to an office building it owns in Vancouver’s Olympic Village this month).
Ross said it has mastered a wide mix of developments over the decades including retirement homes, hotels, recreation centres and even a bowling alley.
“You name it, he’s built it,” Ross said, referring to his grandfather.
Over the last 10 to 15 years, Cape Group has increasingly focused on mixed-use, multifamily buildings, including condos and rentals.
It currently has four or five condo projects in the Vancouver area in the pre-development stage, but also has new or existing projects in Northern B.C., Alberta and parts of the U.S. West Coast.
“We’ve started looking into Toronto a little bit, but it hasn’t been something that we’ve pushed any further than sticking our toes in,” Ross said.