The $250-million investment will be part of what’s known as the Q Block, a mixed-use area featuring residential, commercial, retail, food and beverage offerings at street level along The Riff, a high-quality pedestrian street that connects the block to Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk, George C King Bridge, St. Patrick’s Island and the city’s regional pathway system.
Thomas Burr, ONE Properties’ vice-president of mixed-use development - Western Canada, said the East Village has ”already emerged as one of the brightest revitalization achievements in Canada.”
“The built environment, the landscape and open spaces all work really well with the riverfront (Bow River), the parks and it’s got great proximity to the downtown,” he told RENX. “The East Village itself is fantastic.
"I think it’s a great example where you take the necessary public intervention that kickstarts private investment and we’re really delighted to be working on Q Block. I think it’s one of the best urban development sites in Western Canada."
Planning for the East Village towers
The site is also well-located within the Village and the downtown as a whole.
“I think it’s one of the best remaining riverfront sites in the downtown," he said. "Our two buildings, they’re going to be comprised of mixed-use.
"It’s going to have residential, it’s going to have commercial retail, food and beverage, that fronts along The Riff. . . . We’ll be building appropriately scaled, urban mixed-use buildings.”
Burr said the company is still working through the mix of residential units in the high-density buildings and how many units that will comprise.
Design work will begin in 2023 for the development, as well as work with the city on the planning process.
Burr said ONE is exploring both multiresidential options – condos or purpose-built rental apartments – for the project and will make that decision in 2023.
The ONE towers will complete Q Block, which is already home to 291 condo units at Verve by FRAM + Slokker and another 160 units to be built in FRAM + Slokker’s forthcoming Vibe condo project.
The master developer for the East Village is Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, which was created by and is owned by the City of Calgary.
Burr said East Village is a strong urban node and clearly there’s demand to locate there.
“I think Alberta is a bright spot for demand. We’re seeing a lot of inward migration. . . .
"We feel very optimistic that Calgary as a whole is a place of opportunity and affordability and that’s why we’re seeing resilient demand despite the broader economic headwinds.”
ONE and its other developments
ONE completed construction in October 2021 of the first phase of its BLVD Beltline mixed-use project a few blocks from East Village.
That consists of over 650 residential units in towers of 34 and 37 storeys. The company plans a third tower on the site bringing the total suites to 1,030.
“Lease-up is going really well, significantly ahead of the program,” said Burr.
Over the past decade, ONE Properties has delivered approximately 2,500 residential units in Alberta with an additional 3,500 homes in planning and development.
“We’ve been admiring (CMLC) achievements over the years when they took on the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan and especially East Village,” said Burr.
"I think they’ve done a great job working with different levels of government and they’ve created the conditions that make private investment possible.”
CMLC has spearheaded development of what was basically a wasteland behind the City Hall building.
The neighbourhood now includes two hotels (Alt Hotel by Le Germain and Hilton Garden Inn), 1,500 residential units, more than 250,000 square feet of retail space, four historic property restorations (Simmons Building, St. Louis Hotel, King Eddy and Hillier Block) and three community and cultural buildings (National Music Centre at Studio Bell, Central Library, and Platform Innovation Centre and Parkade).
The East Village Master Plan and other projects
The CMLC vision in its East Village Master Plan is for 7,500 residential units, 11,500 residents and about 300,000 square feet of commercial space.
There is a growing pipeline of development launching in East Village in the coming years.
With 300 new apartments under construction at BOSA Development’s second Arris tower, CMLC anticipates two developments breaking ground in 2023 – the recently announced Minto Communities Vita project and Alston Properties’ EV606 project which together will bring 144 new residential units and 9,000 additional square feet of retail space to East Village.
Clare LePan, VP of marketing and communications of CMLC, said more announcements are pending.
“There’s two sort of bigger blocks in the centre of the community (which CMLC is working on with potential developers)," LePan said.
"One of them is just at the corner of 8th Avenue and 4th Street (SE) between 8th and 7th Avenue. It’s currently a parking lot. We have a conditional sale on that site right now that we’re working through. It’s not yet announced.
“And immediately north of that is a site that is privately owned (Copez Properties) and has a development permit on it and we’re waiting on further updates from that developer coming forward hopefully in 2023 as well."
A May 2020 report to Calgary's planning commission said the application by Copez for a block-sized site between Riverfront Lane SE and 5 Street SE, and 6 Avenue SE and 7 Avenue SE, is proposing 672 dwellings units across four towers and phases. This would comprise:
- a 15-storey residential high-rise tower with of 130 dwelling units (Phase 1);
- a 24-storey residential high-rise tower consisting of 226 dwelling units (Phase 2);
- an 11-storey mid-rise office tower with retail and consumer services at grade (Phase 3);
- a 33-storey residential high-rise tower consisting of 316 dwelling units with retail and consumer services at grade, (Phase 4); and
- public open space and public art within a central courtyard in exchange for bonus density.
Further down the road, LePan noted there are "a couple of parcels in the 8th Avenue cul de sac next to the library that are currently surface parking lots that will be future developments sites, but we don’t currently have a specific developer for those.”