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Projects Piling up at city architectural companies

February 24, 2015
by David Parker
Media

Media Source: Calgary Herald

A good barometer of confidence in Calgary’s near future is the number of new projects arriving in the offices of city architectural firms. Investment is continuing in developments that may take years to complete in the hope the cur- rent blip will have been overcome bythe time they come to market.

S2 Architecture is so busy that partner Robert Spaetgens says it’s under pressure to add more staff to help with the number of projects on its books. These include some large and exciting developments his staff is designing for a mixture of residential, office retail, institutional and local government clients.

Truman Developments has a number of projects on its drawing boards that are showcasing the creativity of S2 teams. The biggest of these projects is the roughly 100-acre parcel of land in the community of West Springs on the east side of 85th Street S.W. West District opens on the north end of 85th Street between the new retail strip on the corner of Old Banff Coach Road and St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

The master plan shows a wide boulevard with blocks of stylish glass-fronted condominiums built above retail shops and restaurants. This phase includes the current home of the Free Methodist Church, which Truman is relocating to the 77th Street edge of the property. The boulevard becomes a west/ east main street with similar mixed-use buildings on either side, through to the perimeter.

Upon completion, West District will provide 500,000 square feet of retail and 1,200,000 square feet of office space, including six, four storey office complexes along Old Banff Coach Road. A total of 3,500 residential units are to be built in a variety of designs off townhouses, mid-rise and higher density multi- family on the east and south of the development where the existing grove of trees will be kept to form part of a large, 10-acre park with a walkway meandering to 9th Avenue. Thirty single-family residences will form the south- ern boundary of West District to respect the existing homes in the neighborhood. None have street parking as every building will be served by underground stalls. SkyView Ranch is another Truman Development in northeast Calgary where S2 has designed a bold mid-rise residential project with 450 units over three mixed- use buildings of eight storeys each. The development will also feature 22,000 square feet of retail above two levels of parking.

Truman Developments also recently purchased the Royal Canadian Legion along Kensington Road N.W., and S2 is redesigning the site to provide members with a new building plus a residential development. S2 was the architect for the Pointe of View residential towers on 4th Avenue S.E. across from the YWCA building and is working with Toronto-based Architectural Alliance for another residential tower that will connect to the federal building by way of a Plus- 15 walkway. Also under construction, along 6th Avenue S.W. is the impressive 34-storey Vogue residential tower for La Caille Developments.

Just completed is a new Fire/ EMS station in Royal Vista and another in Mount Pleasant is being renovated. In all, S2 has completed 70 new stations or renovation projects around the province. The firm was founded more than 20 years ago and today counts 125 active jobs spread between its staff of 52 in Calgary and eight in its Edmonton office.

NEWS AND NOTES

Calgary Economic Development has a couple of its important information sessions scheduled for next week. On March 4, during a breakfast at the Fairmont Palliser and in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, it will present the Calgary Business Out- look. The following day, it’s Soul of the City presentation will focus on poverty in Calgary. The Venue 1008 event (1008 14th Street S.E.) will see Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Vibrant Communities Calgary, Botting Mechanical, Momentum and the YWCA discuss the issue and opportunities for businesses and citizens to help the estimated 1 in 10 Calgarians living in poverty. David Parker appears Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Read his columns online at Calgary herald. com/ business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by e-mail at info@ davidparker.ca