There’s a definite buzz within the construction industry in this city as developers resurrect projects that have been on hold, new developments are on the drawing boards and cranes are once again hanging over busy crews and concrete trucks.
Architects and interior designers have lots on the books, and contractors, including a number of new ones, are in a hiring mood.
Steel rising out of the ground is always a measure of confidence, and one of the most impressive construction sites is the progress of Uxborough, the huge mixed-use development on the land formerly known as the Stadium Shopping Centre along 16th Avenue N.W. across from the Foothills Medical Centre.
A development of Western Securities, COO and partner Mike Brescia says Phase I of the 830,000-square-foot office, shopping and residential complex — designed by GGA-Architecture — is well on its way with the construction of two towers by PCL, which also built the Calgary Cancer directly across the road.
An eight-storey medical centre block that is due for completion by year end is offering 146,000 square feet of prime office space that is already 40 per cent leased.
Thanks to the team of Peter Mayerchak and Jash Sandhu of Colliers International, the entire 18,000-square-foot second floor has been leased by EFW Radiology, and 14,000 square feet on another floor has been taken as the new home of United Nurses of Alberta. They will be moving out of an older building in Kensington to modern space in a perfect location with its proximity to the Foothills Medical Centre.
A big benefit will be a Plus-15 pedestrian walkway across 16th Avenue providing access to the Foothills Medical Centre.
The tower also offers retail on the main floor, and retail specialist Taurus Property Group has leased 11,000 square feet to Willowbrae Childcare and a smaller unit to a pharmacy.
Taurus is also contracted to lease the 15,000 square feet of main-floor retail in the adjacent, under-construction, 14-storey residential tower that will provide 203 rental suites of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and townhomes. It has been designed to accommodate a variety of amenities for residents, including a party room, rooftop terrace and outdoor lounge, gift wrapping station, car wash and pet wash, and a work bench/tool room.
The two towers in Phase I will be served by 460 underground parking stalls plus electric car charging stations.
Brescia says the 90-year-old Western Securities is immensely proud of the way Uxborough is developing, with its strong connection to the University of Calgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital, as well as the Foothills. Its first-rate urban design pursuing innovation and sustainability, with a focus on streetscape and public realm spaces, will also include more boutique shopping, more apartments, dining and a hotel.
At a cost of more than $200 million, Uxborough is a huge vote of confidence in this city, but Brescia and his team are also busy with a number of other projects, including The Lynnbrooke, a 54-unit apartment block on Royal Avenue close to the 17th Avenue retail and entertainment corridor. Along 4th Street S.W. at 14th Avenue, construction crews are at grade with a 30-storey highrise apartment tower that will bring 272 units to market
Hanson Square is a Western Securities gem at the corner of 17th Avenue and 8th Street S.W. Taurus also represented the owner in securing Calgary locations there for Myodetox and the popular Moguyan hand-pulled noodles. A hit in Toronto and now in West Edmonton Mall, the restaurant that began 40 years ago on the banks of the Yellow River has leased 2,000 feet on the main floor of Hanson Square — a welcome addition to Calgary’s international culinary offerings.
The Famous 5 Foundation is hosting a Pink Tea in the Crystal Ballroom of the Fairmont Palliser hotel on the afternoon of Oct. 5. It will honour Ann McCaig as an outstanding leader while also celebrating the 94th anniversary of the Persons case, the first significant international declaration of equality.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]