16 Avenue Co-op Redevelopment (The Winston on Sixteenth) | 22m | 6s | Calgary Co-op | Riddell Kurczaba

Chinook Arch

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But you can't really compare something on Cambie Street to 16th ave. Cambie is busy, but it's not an apples to apples comparison. Cambie is a much nicer street, and the traffic is much slower than 16th, and it's not a 'through' road. you also don't have as many commercial vehicles on Cambie. The revenue garnered from the land on Cambie is at least double the COOP location if not triple.

I won't argue that the development could have been nicer, but the economics aren't the same, and the locations are different. There's less pressure for a nice building in that location, and COOP knows it.If they had to build something equivalent to the one on Cambie they wouldn't do it, instead they would do a refurb to the existing store.

My problem is with the City of Calgary on this one. They create Main Streets policy to create buildings that have street-oriented commercial uses at-grade. But it seems with this application they have little to no intention to create anything resembling Main Street-style development. Shows a complete lack of vision on the part of the City regarding treating 16 Ave North as a Main Street, which they obviously are fine with completely auto-oriented applications coming in and continuing to dominate the streetscape, and they are showing no intention of transitioning it away from the mess of a street that it is.

I just don't see any reason why this shouldn't look and feel like 'The Rise' on Cambie Street in Vancouver. Similar conditions, built on a busy and wide roadway connection to a bridge, but it houses a Home Depot, Save on Foods, Winners/Homesense and has finer-grained CRU's for part of the main floor and has residential above. It is the exact type of development that would be appropriate for this location on 16 Ave.
The Rise:
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Calgcouver

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But you can't really compare something on Cambie Street to 16th ave. Cambie is busy, but it's not an apples to apples comparison. Cambie is a much nicer street, and the traffic is much slower than 16th, and it's not a 'through' road. you also don't have as many commercial vehicles on Cambie. The revenue garnered from the land on Cambie is at least double the COOP location if not triple.

I won't argue that the development could have been nicer, but the economics aren't the same, and the locations are different. There's less pressure for a nice building in that location, and COOP knows it.If they had to build something equivalent to the one on Cambie they wouldn't do it, instead they would do a refurb to the existing store.

I don't disagree that the market fundamentals are different between the two or that an apples to apples comparison between Cambie Street now and 16 Ave's current condition are identical.

All I was saying that was even with the cheap design and materials that they have which they should maintain to keep the cost down, that the orientation of the site/building is all wrong for a street the City is calling a Main Street. The building turns it's back on 16th Avenue and presents a long blank wall with little to no glazing or entrances along 16th Avenue. Would prefer to see additional CRU's or more activation along the actual street frontage along the Main Street at a minimum.

From my CRE days, Calgary brokers always drive home the point to grocery store land owners looking for inner-city grocery sites that they "won't be successful without surface parking lots in front of the building". I don't buy into that line of thinking, and this is exactly that input being taken into account. I'm sure the building could reasonably do a layer of underground with a little bit of additional height/density, without nuking the proforma, but they are probably responding to the idea that "grocery won't be successful without front parking" that keeps being dragged out by brokers and blue hairs. If the market fundamentals for doing underground parking on a grocery worked for projects in super-suburban Langley, it is not at all a stretch that it would work on this site, with the same design and VE'ed materials.

If redoing the building in that fashion kills the viability of the project, of course I would prefer to see it move forward as is.

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Alex_YYC

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Fair points. At the end of the day it comes down to the value of 16th ave properties and the type of return you can get from them. Though 16th ave is a busy corridor through an inner part of the city, it's not desirable from a business standpoint unless you're building a strip mall with a parking lot out front. The only desirable locations for this kind of development are near centre street and the future green line station. If the city forced Co-op into a nicer design that cost more, I'm betting wouldn't build at all. If Co-op was located close to Centre street, it might be a different story, you could do something closer to the Cambie street development.
But you can't really compare something on Cambie Street to 16th ave. Cambie is busy, but it's not an apples to apples comparison. Cambie is a much nicer street, and the traffic is much slower than 16th, and it's not a 'through' road. you also don't have as many commercial vehicles on Cambie. The revenue garnered from the land on Cambie is at least double the COOP location if not triple.

I won't argue that the development could have been nicer, but the economics aren't the same, and the locations are different. There's less pressure for a nice building in that location, and COOP knows it.If they had to build something equivalent to the one on Cambie they wouldn't do it, instead they would do a refurb to the existing store.
 

Chinook Arch

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Gotcha. With the city calling it a mainstreet, you would expect better orientation of the parking and buildings, I get where you're coming from. I suppose it's a case of the city calling it one thing and reality being another ;)
I don't disagree that the market fundamentals are different between the two or that an apples to apples comparison between Cambie Street now and 16 Ave's current condition are identical.

All I was saying that was even with the cheap design and materials that they have which they should maintain to keep the cost down, that the orientation of the site/building is all wrong for a street the City is calling a Main Street. The building turns it's back on 16th Avenue and presents a long blank wall with little to no glazing or entrances along 16th Avenue. Would prefer to see additional CRU's or more activation along the actual street frontage along the Main Street at a minimum.

From my CRE days, Calgary brokers always drive home the point to grocery store land owners looking for inner-city grocery sites that they "won't be successful without surface parking lots in front of the building". I don't buy into that line of thinking, and this is exactly that input being taken into account. I'm sure the building could reasonably do a layer of underground with a little bit of additional height/density, without nuking the proforma, but they are probably responding to the idea that "grocery won't be successful without front parking" that keeps being dragged out by brokers and blue hairs. If the market fundamentals for doing underground parking on a grocery worked for projects in super-suburban Langley, it is not at all a stretch that it would work on this site, with the same design and VE'ed materials.

If redoing the building in that fashion kills the viability of the project, of course I would prefer to see it move forward as is.

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CBBarnett

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From my CRE days, Calgary brokers always drive home the point to grocery store land owners looking for inner-city grocery sites that they "won't be successful without surface parking lots in front of the building". I don't buy into that line of thinking, and this is exactly that input being taken into account. I'm sure the building could reasonably do a layer of underground with a little bit of additional height/density, without nuking the proforma, but they are probably responding to the idea that "grocery won't be successful without front parking" that keeps being dragged out by brokers and blue hairs. If the market fundamentals for doing underground parking on a grocery worked for projects in super-suburban Langley, it is not at all a stretch that it would work on this site, with the same design and VE'ed materials.
Interesting - this kind of thinking is what needs to be challenged. All of CO-OP projects suffer from this same logic where surface parking is the focus. Even the Midtown project from early 2003/04 that kicked off this whole idea that CO-OP grocery stores = property development suffers from this thinking, with some really bizarre and poor design choices to show for it. Granted, 2003/04 was a long time ago - inner city redevelopment was just kicking off and the design thinking required may have been too big of a leap for fairly conservative grocery store business. Since 2004, about 10,000 more people live within walking distance to Midtown.

Of course lots of people drive to the grocery store and surface parking is a possible option to support customers coming from farther away or with large purchases. I just think that the width of the sidewalks and pedestrian access areas outside an urban grocery store has to prioritized far more emphatically. Surface parking, if it appropriate at all, shouldn't be placed at the expense of pedestrians in urban settings.

Below is Coop Midtown sidewalk and pedestrian access from 11 Avenue SW looking north into Co-op's property. Note the pedestrian area filled with pop up and permanent signs, flowers and a support column for the max-height truck bar thing. If anyone has been there since COVID, you'll really realize just how congested the entrance is when no effort is made to give pedestrians more space in a typical suburban grocery design style assumes. Ironically, customers coming from their cars also suffer as a result of this design whether they park in the parking lot or on a nearby street. This is the result of template design and no effort into challenging preconceptions of what a grocery store format should look like in different contexts (as well as all the little rules and policies that help make it harder to make the right design choices along the way).

Imagine instead if the whole vehicle right of way was the sidewalk, plaza and outdoor market space, with the vehicle access instead taking space from the surface parking area to the right. Would mean less parking, but a far more accessible and attractive quasi-urban grocery entrance that would actually reflect the customer base of the local market area. It would be far cheaper than a complete redevelopment into a truly urban format grocery development.

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Calgcouver

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Gotcha. With the city calling it a mainstreet, you would expect better orientation of the parking and buildings, I get where you're coming from. I suppose it's a case of the city calling it one thing and reality being another ;)

Totally agree with you that the current condition of 16 Avenue is really only conducive to automobile dependent forms of development, particularly in this location. Hope the City either has a vision for 16 Avenue that reduces car lanes, adds on-street parking and greatly improves the pedestrian safety/experience.

But i'm not holding my breathe for the City to have any vision when it comes to making 16 Ave an actual main street anytime soon, so you're probably right that this development will do in the current context.
 

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