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5th & Macleod | ?m | 50s | Great Gulf | Henriquez Partners

maestro

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There is an added challenge in Calgary that they are not faced with in the Toronto market. A lot of people used to buy condos as investments ... not to live in ....but to rent out. This objective helped to fuel demand for new condo projects in the past. Now that we have a plethora of purpose rental on the market as competition, these new condo projects are going to take longer to green light, and longer to sell out.
Perhaps. Purpose built rental construction is dominated by a few locally based institutions in Calgary. Great Gulf has its own set of clientele that may be convinced to join in on the fun by buying into this project. Prices would have to start scaling up.
 

zagox

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You're acting as if this is somehow our decision to make. As far as I understand, Alpha House is an independent organization that owns its own property. It predates all the recent development in the area. It's theoretically possible that the City could adopt some very draconian tactics to try to force them out of the neighborhood, but that would open up all kinds of other legal, financial, and political problems. It's just not realistic. Even if the City could somehow pick up the building and move it to a new location, SimCity style, they'd be going to war with whatever neighborhood they chose for the new location.

The current strategy employed by the City and the Calgary Homeless Foundation is to gradually shrink the shelter population through permanent housing provision. That makes the most sense to me. From what I understand, shelter populations haven't really grown over the past few decades even as the city itself has grown a lot.

If, as many people are suggesting, Alpha House is more disruptive than the other shelters, then the obvious strategy is to work with Alpha House to manage the problem and perhaps look to some of the other shelters for policy solutions.

I'm not trying to be morally superiour here or shame anyone for being uncaring. Homelessness is just a complicated issue that we can address in many different ways, but often the easiest thing to do is to develop a little more tolerance. Again, I say this from a position of pragmatism, not morality. Plenty of people who live in larger cities walk by panhandlers everyday without worry. Many Calgarians are relatively new to big city life, and are more troubled by this than people from other cities. The view that we should just "get rid of them" is just a rant. It's not a realistic strategy.
To bring this back to the project at hand, I personally think that Great Gulf can succeed where Vetro has struggled for a number of reasons:
1) The GG design orients the back of the buildings to the DI. Vetro’s front door opens to Alpha House. Metres matter in an urban context and this should create enough of a separation of the land uses. I assume this is also why they are not proposing to allow cut-through pedestrian traffic even if it does increase footfall.
2) GG is in a better pedestrian environment overall and is a much larger development. As others have pointed out, homeless shelters become more challenging for redevelopment when their clients are most of the foot traffic in an area. The New Central Library is a great example of how homelessness can blend in rather than stand out. The east Beltline shows the opposite.
3) GG proposes that the at-grade retail will mostly face a private courtyard. They won’t allow panhandling in that space and disruptive people can be asked to leave. Some people don’t like this private plaza concept for social justice reasons but it is does work for retailers.
4) The DI has a bigger site with a bigger buffer between them and the rest of the neighborhood, and their clients seem to be in better shape (at least at the moment of admission) than Alpha House’s clients.
 

John Wick

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Who owns/what is the plan for the half block west of the DI?
Seems like the development of this site would render this issue for GG moot.
 

Colinfill

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I believe that's the former Cecil Hotel site, which I think is owned by the city. This is the plans for the Cecil Hotel site from the CMLC website, "At 43,000 square feet the land parcel is considered a prime development opportunity with potential for mixed-use development. CMLC will study future development opportunities for the site in the context of the larger master plan for East Village".
 

John Wick

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Thanks Colin. That’s right. The former Cecil site. (How quickly we forget)
CMLC being in charge of the site bodes well for GG in mitigating any impact from the DI.
God only knows what the timelines will be for these projects though.
 

BKha

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Was the bunker tower across the street to the West also part of the YWCA? If so, are there plans to do anything with that parcel?
I don't think there are any plans for the Baker House (the bunker tower to the west). AFAIK, it's not going anywhere.
 

Bokimon

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Great Gulf has good taste for what a solid development should be and this one is no exception. I want to say they are maybe following along with what Westbank is doing.
If past projects in other cities especially Toronto is of indication, I have high hopes this one will be a revitalizer once fully built, or even the first phase.
The architects they hire seem to be the same abbreviated firms 'HPA' in both Vancouver and Toronto.
The Vancouver Henriquez Partners did the Telus Garden which is a stellar office tower over there.
The Toronto Hariri Pontarini Architects did One Bloor which is a fantastic condo tower project that turns heads from all over the city. (They also did the Ice District in Edmonton, mainly the JW hotel and site design)
I for one welcome some daring Vancouver design influence to this city, ideas like that simply don't exist in conservative Calgary or they get shot down quickly by the boomer led top down leadership structure at various places here.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Always love hearing from you Bokimon!
 
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