Calgary's East Village lands large developer

Western Investor
March 30, 2011

Calgary's East Village redevelopment project has taken another big step forward with the announcement of another mega-deal for the downtown neighbourhood.

An Ontario company announced plans to build $300 million worth of new retail and residential space in the east end of the city's downtown.

Construction on the FRAM Building Group and Slokker Real Estate Group project, which will include 800 new one- and two-bedroom units on a four-parcel area along the Bow River's edge near Fort Calgary, is due to start in 2012.

Frank Giannone, president of FRAM, said the work done by the city-owned Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC) to prepare the area for development was a key part of his group's decision to buy in.

"It's quite easy to look at this property now and … ask the question whether this really was a blighted site," Giannone told reporters.

The CMLC, an independent development company the city created to help revitalize the East Village, has spent millions of dollars putting in new roads, sewer and water lines, and streetlights to prepare the area for redevelopment. It's currently working on a traffic link under the CP Rail lines to connect to the Stampede grounds.

Giannone said the now mostly empty area would become an urban village, "a pedestrian neighbourhood, a place where people can live, work and play without necessarily needing their car to get to work."

Mayor Naheed Nenshi called the announcement "huge."

Last fall, another developer announced a $300 million retail and condo project in the East Village.

More than half of the land in the East Village area is now spoken for, and a major hotel project is expected to be unveiled this spring.

The area is immediately east of Calgary's largest single office tower project, The Bow, which is now under construction.

The CMLC also announced a changing of the guard earlier this year, with the departure of its president and CEO, Chris Ollenberger.

from Western Investor, April 2011

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