1390 - 17 Ave SE | 49m | 16s | Hungerford

Surrealplaces

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Ya this is probably an unpopular opinion here, but i do think that this scale is out of context with the neighbourhood. Also this site has pretty bad access and egress for that many units. I think three 5-6 storey buildings would be more appropriate on this specific site. I guess i am just seeing too much 'density flipping' and really only want to see additional density and height given away to people who demonstrate an elevated public good, and people who are ACTUALLY going to build the building, not just get the land lift and sell the land.
Could be that they are just doing the land flip. My guess is they'll start shooting for as much density as they can and see what they can get. If they go for 16 and it sticks, then it's an easy sell to someone else.
 

Zoom

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Fair points. it's a bit tall, but I think you could do more than 5-6 floors. If it was chopped down to 10 floors instead of 16 I'd be okay with that. Egress and ingress points could be an issue as you said.
Ya this is probably an unpopular opinion here, but i do think that this scale is out of context with the neighbourhood. Also this site has pretty bad access and egress for that many units. I think three 5-6 storey buildings would be more appropriate on this specific site. I guess i am just seeing too much 'density flipping' and really only want to see additional density and height given away to people who demonstrate an elevated public good, and people who are ACTUALLY going to build the building, not just get the land lift and sell the land.
 

Zoom

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Agree. The 9th ave massing they show seems l=fine to me. If the CA is heavily opposing that one they aren't going to like this one.
It's frustrating, but not surprising The 9th ave project is the right scale for the neighbourhood. I'm going to send some feedback to the file manager in support of the Land Use.

CALVIN C. CHANLOC2018-0038
403-268-1970
Calvin.Chan2@calgary.ca
 

zagox

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Ya this is probably an unpopular opinion here, but i do think that this scale is out of context with the neighbourhood. Also this site has pretty bad access and egress for that many units. I think three 5-6 storey buildings would be more appropriate on this specific site. I guess i am just seeing too much 'density flipping' and really only want to see additional density and height given away to people who demonstrate an elevated public good, and people who are ACTUALLY going to build the building, not just get the land lift and sell the land.
Why does it matter if the developer seeking the approvals is the one who moves forward with the construction? The developer doesn't "build" the building in a real sense anyway, most are going to hire a GC to physically erect the structure.

If someone can come up with a higher and better land use for a piece of property, makes a highly speculative investment in planning and concept architecture, takes on market risks during that whole time, and sells a more advanced set of plans and permissions on to another group who believe in the vision, more power to them for creating value and getting paid to do it.

The city and community aren't "giving away" anything when approving a certain level of density, they are acknowledging that all things considered, plan X for a piece of property will make the city and community better than they were before. We all hope that plan X becomes a reality, but if it doesn't, nothing has been lost or stolen.
 

MJC

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I'm not a huge fan of these huge buildings within communities. I think the step-back look is ugly and really dates this era. Far prefer more smaller-plated buildings that are shorter and blockier. Squares are very efficient and work great all around the world. Extremely dense cities like Paris, London, Mexico City, ect. get along fine with 6 - 8 storeys without this silly podium step-back design. The idea of 'human scale' is probably the dumbest thing that is continued to be used in our planning language. It isn't like people don't travel...

Upzoning significantly also increases land prices which has the unintended consequence of limiting diversity as only mega-projects like this can go forward. If you can cap height - and really cap it - it puts a lid on land pricing, which is ultimately driven by buildable SF.

I like to see more explicit horse-trading between community amenities and densification. For example, if the Inglewood CA wants to whine about closing the Inglewood pool, then let's see you step up to the plate and support some more mid-rise apartments. If Sunnyside wants a higher flood berm, OK, then let's talk about up-zoning the community from M-CG/R-C2 to M-C2 so there's more tax base to protect.

The Bow-to-Bluff project in Sunnyside is a good example of how to make this work - each new multifamily project contributed into an amenity fund which will be put towards the new park.
Well...I'm on that Sunnyside planning committee and that may not be a great example, though I hear what you are saying. There are many of us who actually are pro-density. If it is a legitimate concern that flooding has been focused into Sunnyside that is a city problem, not contingent on taking on another 1,000 units...

On a recent unnamed project, CPAG requested we work with the developer on bonus density items but there are a few problems with this approach too. It is a better offline discussion but there is a lot I could say about this.
 

MJC

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Why does it matter if the developer seeking the approvals is the one who moves forward with the construction? The developer doesn't "build" the building in a real sense anyway, most are going to hire a GC to physically erect the structure.
In theory zagox, I hear you. But the way this usually works from an economics point of view is that a developer comes in with a sliver of equity, upzones and that becomes the developer's piece of equity. Then, they take on other partners who recognize in some way the increased value which gives the developer some real skin in the game. The mega sized groups have a different strategy and are more likely to buy shovel-ready. On the whole though, this strategy still dominates in Calgary.

By upzoning and flipping, you limit your buyer pool significantly and don't actually move the timelines forward that significantly. You end up spending a ton of city and community resources on something that ends up getting totally redesigned anyway.
 

Calgcouver

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In theory zagox, I hear you. But the way this usually works from an economics point of view is that a developer comes in with a sliver of equity, upzones and that becomes the developer's piece of equity. Then, they take on other partners who recognize in some way the increased value which gives the developer some real skin in the game. The mega sized groups have a different strategy and are more likely to buy shovel-ready. On the whole though, this strategy still dominates in Calgary.

By upzoning and flipping, you limit your buyer pool significantly and don't actually move the timelines forward that significantly. You end up spending a ton of city and community resources on something that ends up getting totally redesigned anyway.
Exactly my sentiment. A lot of wasted time reviewing a plan that had no intention at moving forward to DP. I don't think this is a value-add whatsoever, it just raises speculative value of developable land and does not do anything to advance timelines to actual development. Real value is added when shovels hit the ground and someone builds something. Upzoning and flipping is very common in Calgary, in Vancouver developers/builders (less of a distinction between the two there) buy land to ultimately build something.
 

zagox

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Exactly my sentiment. A lot of wasted time reviewing a plan that had no intention at moving forward to DP. I don't think this is a value-add whatsoever, it just raises speculative value of developable land and does not do anything to advance timelines to actual development. Real value is added when shovels hit the ground and someone builds something. Upzoning and flipping is very common in Calgary, in Vancouver developers/builders (less of a distinction between the two there) buy land to ultimately build something.
I can see the frustration that a land-use application is likely to look different than a DP application, especially when the project changes hands. On the other hand, it is mainly pressure from community reviewers that has pushed developers to provide more DP-type detail in their land-use applications. Maybe the answer is concurrent DP should be mandatory for certain types of land use changes - I don't know all the implications of that. But if the city is going to allow land-use changes separate from DPs, then reviewers shouldn't spend "a lot of waste time reviewing a plan" because they are often using that time to comment on details that aren't material at the land-use stage anyway.
 

Surrealplaces

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I can see the frustration that a land-use application is likely to look different than a DP application, especially when the project changes hands. On the other hand, it is mainly pressure from community reviewers that has pushed developers to provide more DP-type detail in their land-use applications. Maybe the answer is concurrent DP should be mandatory for certain types of land use changes - I don't know all the implications of that. But if the city is going to allow land-use changes separate from DPs, then reviewers shouldn't spend "a lot of waste time reviewing a plan" because they are often using that time to comment on details that aren't material at the land-use stage anyway.
I would like that. I don't care for land uses that show conceptual designs of one product and then something totally different shows up in the DP.
 

Calgcouver

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I can see the frustration that a land-use application is likely to look different than a DP application, especially when the project changes hands. On the other hand, it is mainly pressure from community reviewers that has pushed developers to provide more DP-type detail in their land-use applications. Maybe the answer is concurrent DP should be mandatory for certain types of land use changes - I don't know all the implications of that. But if the city is going to allow land-use changes separate from DPs, then reviewers shouldn't spend "a lot of waste time reviewing a plan" because they are often using that time to comment on details that aren't material at the land-use stage anyway.
Good points, i totally agree.
 

Chinook Arch

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Interesting point, and it does make sense. We see what has happened in the Beltline, land has become expensive because the zooming allows for tall towers, and as a result, that's all we'll ever get in the Beltline, particularly around Vic Park area, though I'd like to see some low rise developments there.
Overall I'm okay with the Beltline being a high rise district, but hope spots like Inglewood can stay low rise. By low rise I mean up 5-8 floors, and up to 10 floors, but no higher.
Upzoning significantly also increases land prices which has the unintended consequence of limiting diversity as only mega-projects like this can go forward. If you can cap height - and really cap it - it puts a lid on land pricing, which is ultimately driven by buildable SF.
 

MichaelS

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Do people suspect Hungerford will just flip this once rezoned? Are they known for that?

To the point about requiring a concurrent DP, I think you will see massive push back on that one. DP drawings are expensive, a very big investment to make in a project that still has the uncertainty of whether it will get zoning or not. Plus, DP's can legally be cancelled or expire, but zoning is in place forever (unless applied for by the owner, or in rare cases, Council chooses to rezone your property through their own initiative). So, if DPs were made mandatory, I can see two loop holes:
1. Just get a cheap rendering done showing a future buildling, see if that passes the test, get your zoning, and it is no different than the current system.
2. Pay for a DP that just wows everyone, get your zoning in place, and the next day cancel it, or just let it expire. Same as the current system, but adds a substantial cost to the process, thus requiring developers to go even BIGGER with their zoning asks to justify the costs....
 

Atticus

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Bingo. Almost all inner city projects get opposition, and if you don't have the zoning in place ahead of time the city would have to give refusal based on the project being outside of the zoning. It's the only way a developer can decide if it's worth pursuing a development or not. There are flippers out there, but most developers get the land use approved and then follow with a DP. The flippers tend to be the exception from what I've seen.
Do people suspect Hungerford will just flip this once rezoned? Are they known for that?

To the point about requiring a concurrent DP, I think you will see massive push back on that one. DP drawings are expensive, a very big investment to make in a project that still has the uncertainty of whether it will get zoning or not. Plus, DP's can legally be cancelled or expire, but zoning is in place forever (unless applied for by the owner, or in rare cases, Council chooses to rezone your property through their own initiative). So, if DPs were made mandatory, I can see two loop holes:
1. Just get a cheap rendering done showing a future buildling, see if that passes the test, get your zoning, and it is no different than the current system.
2. Pay for a DP that just wows everyone, get your zoning in place, and the next day cancel it, or just let it expire. Same as the current system, but adds a substantial cost to the process, thus requiring developers to go even BIGGER with their zoning asks to justify the costs....
 

JustDandy

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I wouldn't say rezoning and flipping is anymore prevalant in Calgary as opposed to other markets. If it appears it so, its more of a function of the original developer changing tact and there not being that many developers who will buy someone elses development. FWIW the Hungerford's aren't the type to flip projects after rezoning, and they have just raised a shit ton of capital out of NYC.

with development you really do need multiple exit strategies, selling a site rezoned is just one of these exits.
 

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