Uptown at Westbrook | ?m | 12s | Matco Group | Zeidler

MJC

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$393 PSF does not include Walmart. CW reports the centre has 399,306 SF GLA, Walmart has 158,022 SF, Safeway 47,980 SF, 50 stores, and 2,350 glorious, sparkling parking spots (link).
 

Silence&Motion

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I like the porte-cochère (that circle drop off thing) and think it actually makes good sense on the site.

Couldn't disagree more! It would become a parking lot full of idling cars that would cut the entrance to the station off from the rest of the public realm. The best transit stations are the ones that are seamlessly integrated into public spaces and become the centre of neighbourhood life. I particularly like Mont-Royal Station/Place Gérald-Godin in Montreal, which does this so well and yet so simply. In order to truly create TOD, we need to start thinking of transit stations as centers of public life where people hang out in between getting back into their neighborhood at the end of the day and walking home for the evening. Instead, we almost always think of transit stations only as nodes in transportation networks, which causes us to prioritize driveways, parking lots, integration with arterial roads, etc.
 

darwink

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This is from the ARP:
upload_2018-3-16_14-20-29.png
 

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MJC

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@Silence&Motion I hear you... I don't think that site is a good comparable to this though. Also Calgary will continue to rely on cars as growth can't be handled by infill and it is the most economical. This particular site is a bit screwed due to Westbrook Mall and I think the city screwed up selling it in one plot and then back facing the library. Big missed opportunities.

Also hard to compare a city with public transportation usage comparable to NYC and Mexico City to Calgary.
 

gsunnyg

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The Westbrook mall issue will be taken care of if they go through with their original plan. I think we tend to blame our lack of transportation usage compared to cities like NYC for our issues, but with the right development we strategy we can effectively increase transit usage. Having mixed use development and increased density does really work wonders around stations as seen in cities like Vancouver. I think the city is to blame for feeding the urban sprawl.We invest in so many projects such as roads that lead to the suburbs that people begin feeling more inclined to drive. If i can get from one point to another faster by driving with limited worrying about parking then why should i live in the inner city and pay more for rent or even think about taking transit? The fact detached homes are still selling well while condo market is suffering is purely poor policy. They should limit the amount of neighbourhoods being created, this itself will increase detached home prices, people will have no choice but to flock to condos and townhomes. Instead the city was considering approving more neighbourhoods to feed all the hungry home buyers last week. Its like giving an alcoholic more alcohol. I guarantee if detached home prices were in the range that they are in Vancouver or Toronto while condo/townhomes remained in the lower range we would cure the vast majority of our urban sprawl issue. Neighbouring communities like airdrie would be picking up suburban livers and the bills associated with maintaining their new communities not Calgary. We would effectively be able to reduce road and utilities expenditures and freeze taxes and invest in a more efficient city that could manage to clean all of its roads of snow for a change.
 

MJC

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@gsunnyg the reality is that policy isn't going that way. There are only self imposed limited on sprawl and the agriculture lands are very plentiful. There was a recent provincial update of land usage for Calgary and Edmonton which imposed very moderate changes, 40 units per hectare, still not even close to sustaining anything more than a bus route. The province didn't give an inch on MR requirements, road width, PUL which eats up over half of greenfield area. So expect nothing to change.

I think this is a very challenging site and it will be challenging to find 'urban' concept today.
 

Silence&Motion

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There's nothing about Calgary or this neighbourhood in particular that necessitates direct car access to every single entrance. As I mentioned, there is already drop off areas in the north entrance (by the main building).

Also, we already have LRT stations that have seamless integration with public spaces. Sunalta is a good example that should become well-used once the surrounding industrial properties switch over to residential/mixed-use. Sunnyside is another example (though not as well designed).
 

FCC1982

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The Westbrook mall issue will be taken care of if they go through with their original plan. I think we tend to blame our lack of transportation usage compared to cities like NYC for our issues, but with the right development we strategy we can effectively increase transit usage. Having mixed use development and increased density does really work wonders around stations as seen in cities like Vancouver. I think the city is to blame for feeding the urban sprawl.We invest in so many projects such as roads that lead to the suburbs that people begin feeling more inclined to drive. If i can get from one point to another faster by driving with limited worrying about parking then why should i live in the inner city and pay more for rent or even think about taking transit? The fact detached homes are still selling well while condo market is suffering is purely poor policy. They should limit the amount of neighbourhoods being created, this itself will increase detached home prices, people will have no choice but to flock to condos and townhomes. Instead the city was considering approving more neighbourhoods to feed all the hungry home buyers last week. Its like giving an alcoholic more alcohol. I guarantee if detached home prices were in the range that they are in Vancouver or Toronto while condo/townhomes remained in the lower range we would cure the vast majority of our urban sprawl issue. Neighbouring communities like airdrie would be picking up suburban livers and the bills associated with maintaining their new communities not Calgary. We would effectively be able to reduce road and utilities expenditures and freeze taxes and invest in a more efficient city that could manage to clean all of its roads of snow for a change.
I don't even know where to start with this post ... my head is still spinning.
 

gsunnyg

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I don't even know where to start with this post ... my head is still spinning.
From what? Claiming Calgary councillors have a strong favouritism with home builders because they contribute largely to many of the councillors election campaigns or the fact dense cities like London where I personally was able to spend a few months have many homes with prices 2 to 3 times that of a condo in the suburbs helping discourage home buyers where as in Calgary buying a detached home is dirt cheap relative to condos? I'm not even making this theory up, I read a very well written academic article on density a few months back, it definitely mentioned prices having a strong correlation with density. I would definitely link it if i stubble upon it again. How many new home buyers in Calgary would consider buying a detached home today if prices were to double due to limited supply? I would think not many, they would seek more affordable options or be pushed to neighbouring towns around us. You keep building and people will keep buying simple as that.
 

haltcatchfire

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There are problems with your theory that if supply of attainable single family homes were to drop significantly and/or the costs were suddenly too high that people who were forced to choose condos because they’re cheaper would be able to. Or all be in a dense inner city.

You’d be shifting all of that residential demand in with all of the existing condo market which would just cause a spike in prices when there is more demand than supply. Or you’d force it to Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, etc. That’s worse.

It also does very little to limit sprawl as you’ll still have multi-family developments being built at the edge of the city. For those that want to live in those areas, and because there would be a massive market to be served as those would still be the most affordable of all the new inventory across the city.

In the end it would just make housing unattainable for a much larger population and quality of life would be lower for those that don’t want to be forced into those housing types like a 5 person family.

The best answer is always, diverse housing types across all areas of the city with dense nodes around transit. Densest in the inner core. Don’t approach it as cutting off the greenfield development. Approach it first as finding as many opportunities for densifying growth within our current boundaries and then make up the rest of the needed market supply with new areas.
 

gsunnyg

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In theory it has been working in Vancouver and Toronto but imperfectly. Detached homes are so overpriced largely because developers are not building enough of them. The problem that largely created an overall rapid rise in housing prices were expectations and also limited supply to meet the demand, especially in the rental area. If you flood the market with enough townhomes, condos, and rentals, prices will remain stable even if demand picks up for non- single family homes. We have plenty of spots to grow up. And i don't think at all one bit we'd be exchanging for a lower quality of life. I mean do people living in Europe all have a lower quality of life? Our expectations have been set in Calgary that we need a detached home while for example my family who in London have a family of 6 are living in a semi-detached home that would be selling today for 500 000 pounds, worse yet over there most homes don't even have basements like we're lucky to have. I think its our attitude that needs to be change. I mean when you have half the density of Toronto and even less than its neighbour city Mississauga, you know theres a serious problem with our approach. Building around LRT stations is a start but is it really enough? I don't think so. Policy goes a long way in changing peoples tastes in a market. In basic Econ 201 they tell you about the substitution effect, its the real deal. The goal here would be to make detached prices expensive and non-detached prices stable and affordable, if you increase both your in trouble for further sprawl. Plus if Airdrie, Cochrane and more neighbour cities want to pick up single family home buyers then I'm perfectly fine with that, it reduces tax burdens on Calgarians for maintaining new utilities and services and allows for a more efficient running city. Those cities would be left to decide how much they are willing to handle the burden. I'm hopeful millennials and future generations will be changing this notion of absolutely needing to buy detached homes to raise a family.
 

gsunnyg

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BTW the initial point I was trying to get across was the city isn't every serious about ending sprawl as much as Nenshi likes to boast about. Edmonton has developer density subsidy around LRT stations, there was an article on developers in Calgary wanting some sort of incentive like that. Stopping Greenfield expansion especially for detached homes just one of the ideas that I have come across in the past online, the city of Calgary could even try testing a tax for new detached home developments and in return use that to invest in affordable housing units. The problem is our city likes to think its creative but the last thing they wanna do is anger home builders.
 

UrbanRED

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In theory it has been working in Vancouver and Toronto but imperfectly. Detached homes are so overpriced largely because developers are not building enough of them. The problem that largely created an overall rapid rise in housing prices were expectations and also limited supply to meet the demand, especially in the rental area. If you flood the market with enough townhomes, condos, and rentals, prices will remain stable even if demand picks up for non- single family homes. We have plenty of spots to grow up. And i don't think at all one bit we'd be exchanging for a lower quality of life. I mean do people living in Europe all have a lower quality of life? Our expectations have been set in Calgary that we need a detached home while for example my family who in London have a family of 6 are living in a semi-detached home that would be selling today for 500 000 pounds, worse yet over there most homes don't even have basements like we're lucky to have. I think its our attitude that needs to be change. I mean when you have half the density of Toronto and even less than its neighbour city Mississauga, you know theres a serious problem with our approach. Building around LRT stations is a start but is it really enough? I don't think so. Policy goes a long way in changing peoples tastes in a market. In basic Econ 201 they tell you about the substitution effect, its the real deal. The goal here would be to make detached prices expensive and non-detached prices stable and affordable, if you increase both your in trouble for further sprawl. Plus if Airdrie, Cochrane and more neighbour cities want to pick up single family home buyers then I'm perfectly fine with that, it reduces tax burdens on Calgarians for maintaining new utilities and services and allows for a more efficient running city. Those cities would be left to decide how much they are willing to handle the burden. I'm hopeful millennials and future generations will be changing this notion of absolutely needing to buy detached homes to raise a family.

You have this wrong.

Vancouver and Toronto's house prices are partially if not wholly supported by foreign buyers, who are buying both detached homes and condo units. You mention that the goal is to make detached prices expensive but non-detached prices stable and affordable? In both Vancouver and Toronto non-detached prices are not stable nor are they affordable - look at the condo market in Toronto, which continues to be on a tear despite the downturn in detached housing prices.

Vancouver and Toronto are far from what we want - certainly they are denser cities, but the current boom is stretching wallets for most of the citizens of those cities and making them unaffordable.

We need well designed, well-planned urban development. We don't need policies to change tastes through making things unaffordable. Instead, we need policies to encourage effective and tasteful public spaces, easy access to transit, and walkable neighbourhoods with work, housing, and retail.
 

maestro

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/programs/metromorning/tiny-condo-hacks-1.3828968

Some quality of life there. 700 plus square feet is very large for a one bedroom in Toronto. What happens when the kids get older? New condos are now selling at $1000 to $1200 a square foot. There's little affordable regardless of footage and it's only getting worse. There's little relief in renting either. Rental rates are keeping pace with housing costs.

The concern for Edmonton and Calgary is developers and speculators are being priced out of Toronto.
 

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