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General Construction Updates

Atticus

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Now lets imagine had all those midrises been built in the inner city instead at the edge of the city, how hype that would have been?! I couldn't even bother to ever visit that area since its so far off. Just another reason I despise this so called "pro density" sham for more greenfield development.
I think the city had its heart in the right place when they started driving toward more density in new subdivisions, but I think the idea is a failure. Parts of Seton look good, and there are things I like about it, but IMO it's a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. Seton/Mahogany area is quite dense, and has some inner city feel to it, but it's still a subdivision with wide highway like artery roads and only two entrances in and out. As a result the area has terrible traffic, and it's not even built out yet.

Message to The City: No matter how dense you try and make these neighborhoods, they're still auto-oriented, auto dependent neighborhoods, and making them denser only worsens them. Yes, the LRT will be there some day, but still won't help. I know it's higher tax dollars/sq km but still. The city would be better to try and look for solutions to add more development in the inner city. If they had have found a way to have all these buildings built in an established area near an existing LRT station, we wouldn't be spending 5 billion on getting one out there.
 

zagox

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I think the city had its heart in the right place when they started driving toward more density in new subdivisions, but I think the idea is a failure. Parts of Seton look good, and there are things I like about it, but IMO it's a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. Seton/Mahogany area is quite dense, and has some inner city feel to it, but it's still a subdivision with wide highway like artery roads and only two entrances in and out. As a result the area has terrible traffic, and it's not even built out yet.

Message to The City: No matter how dense you try and make these neighborhoods, they're still auto-oriented, auto dependent neighborhoods, and making them denser only worsens them. Yes, the LRT will be there some day, but still won't help. I know it's higher tax dollars/sq km but still. The city would be better to try and look for solutions to add more development in the inner city. If they had have found a way to have all these buildings built in an established area near an existing LRT station, we wouldn't be spending 5 billion on getting one out there.

The political reality is that there are two choices for edge suburb development:
1) Denser with mixed use nodes and some nod to transit - eg Seton
2) 70s-90s style single family dominated

The idea that Alberta would implement a Toronto/Portland style greenbelt and halt all edge growth is a fantasy. So are massive increases to development fees. Maybe Calgary could pull it off for a few years but I just don’t see a sustainable political coalition at city hall or at the provincial level to pull it off.

I think Nenshi has smartly seen that an “all of the above” approach where we try to do both the densification in the inner city and some densification of the edge suburbs is the best politically feasible outcome from an urban design point of view. He’s suffering from the cost consequences of that path now but I still agree with the strategy.
 

Silence&Motion

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I agree. If we’re not getting a greenbelt, then forcing new developments to have inner-city level density is the way to go. Now we need to work on making the streets walkable. That will reduce gridlock within the neighborhoods, as more people will be able to make local trips on foot. As for gridlock during commutes, that will build support for more investment in public transit.
 

Golfing guy

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5-8 stories is like a lot of what’s been and being built in Marda Loop, Bridgeland and Inglewood.
No one said anything about 5-8 stories though. What is being built in seton and other suburbs are 4-6. 8 stories would be great in inner city. There is a big difference between the two. Love that bridgeland has unbraced that kind of building. Have you thought that they build out in the suburbs because people wanna live there? Possible because it’s close to the hospital? Not everyone has a love for the inner city. If there was a demand for more inner city mid-rise then they would be built
 

haltcatchfire

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You said “I don’t get how you think any developer is going to build 4-6 story building any where in the inner city. The economics just aren’t there.”

The economics are there.

No one said anything about 5-8 stories though. What is being built in seton and other suburbs are 4-6. 8 stories would be great in inner city. There is a big difference between the two. Love that bridgeland has unbraced that kind of building. Have you thought that they build out in the suburbs because people wanna live there? Possible because it’s close to the hospital? Not everyone has a love for the inner city. If there was a demand for more inner city mid-rise then they would be built
 

Golfing guy

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You said “I don’t get how you think any developer is going to build 4-6 story building any where in the inner city. The economics just aren’t there.”

The economics are there.
If they are there why aren’t the developers pounding out them? Nobody is buying condos anywhere near downtown right now. Marda Loop, Sunnyside, inglewwod, Bridgeland have a few Mid-rise. Belt line has no condo activity just rentals. The vast majority of condo demand is in the suburbs. I think most of you live in dream land if you think any developer will use their valuable inner city land on 4-6 storey low rises
 

haltcatchfire

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Five Eleven 6s
Catalyst 6s
Courtyard 33 6s
Avli 7s
South Bank 5s
Windsor 6s
Rhapsody 6s
August 6s
Anthem Memorial 5s
Archer 5s
Spider site 4s
Coco 4s
The Edward 5s
Irvine 6s
Marda 6s
Maple 4s
Mantra 4s
Grow 3s
Lyfe 5s
Radius 7s
Switch|block 4s
Infinity 4s

should I go on?

If they are there why aren’t the developers pounding out them? Nobody is buying condos anywhere near downtown right now. Marda Loop, Sunnyside, inglewwod, Bridgeland have a few Mid-rise. Belt line has no condo activity just rentals. The vast majority of condo demand is in the suburbs. I think most of you live in dream land if you think any developer will use their valuable inner city land on 4-6 storey low rises
 

Surrealplaces

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The political reality is that there are two choices for edge suburb development:
1) Denser with mixed use nodes and some nod to transit - eg Seton
2) 70s-90s style single family dominated

The idea that Alberta would implement a Toronto/Portland style greenbelt and halt all edge growth is a fantasy. So are massive increases to development fees. Maybe Calgary could pull it off for a few years but I just don’t see a sustainable political coalition at city hall or at the provincial level to pull it off.

I think Nenshi has smartly seen that an “all of the above” approach where we try to do both the densification in the inner city and some densification of the edge suburbs is the best politically feasible outcome from an urban design point of view. He’s suffering from the cost consequences of that path now but I still agree with the strategy.
I don't agree with massive increases either, but some increases would be good, and if done slowly and steadily without causing too much of an outcry it can be done. I'm not sure there's any way to slow down greenfield development other than to manage it and make that development pay more of its fair share. The city has done a decent job of increasing zoning densities in the inner city to allow higher density, and while the progress has been slower than many of us would like, it is at least happening. Having increases in development levies somehow go toward inner city development will help. Wouldn't solve the problem but it would help.
 

Social Justice

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I agree. If we’re not getting a greenbelt, then forcing new developments to have inner-city level density is the way to go. Now we need to work on making the streets walkable. That will reduce gridlock within the neighborhoods, as more people will be able to make local trips on foot. As for gridlock during commutes, that will build support for more investment in public transit.

To me Seton always seemed like instant urbanism. The pieces are there, but just like you mentioned it isn't walkable.

It's kind of funny...AFAIK, since WW2, North American cities haven't been able to create a greenfield 'high street' that is organic and not faux-ish.
 

MichaelS

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To me Seton always seemed like instant urbanism. The pieces are there, but just like you mentioned it isn't walkable.

It's kind of funny...AFAIK, since WW2, North American cities haven't been able to create a greenfield 'high street' that is organic and not faux-ish.
I think the high street in University District will turn out pretty nicely.
 

retrofiturbanism

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I get your liking for low rise/mid rise buildings. I don’t get how you think any developer is going to build 4-6 story building any where in the inner city. The economics just aren’t there. Please explain if you were financing a project like that how you could justify it?

Outside of the Centre city, that is pretty much all that is built. Bridgeland, Crescent Heights, Marda Loop, Hillhurst, Mission, Centre Street North are all seeing lots of 4-6 storey mid rise.
 

retrofiturbanism

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Five Eleven 6s
Catalyst 6s
Courtyard 33 6s
Avli 7s
South Bank 5s
Windsor 6s
Rhapsody 6s
August 6s
Anthem Memorial 5s
Archer 5s
Spider site 4s
Coco 4s
The Edward 5s
Irvine 6s
Marda 6s
Maple 4s
Mantra 4s
Grow 3s
Lyfe 5s
Radius 7s
Switch|block 4s
Infinity 4s

should I go on?

I was going to respond, but you did it better. Also, lots of condos under construction in the Beltline.
 

CBBarnett

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I was going to respond, but you did it better. Also, lots of condos under construction in the Beltline.
Agreed - inner city multifamily remains popular. The ownership model is what shows the discrepancy: condos are currently less popular, but purpose-built rentals are huge right now (and account for the majority of current construction). Calgary would require some ~60,000 purpose-built rentals to hit the Canadian average of the 10 largest CMAs. Structural, historic and regional differences will likely prevent us from ever reaching that average, however if only half the gap was closed, and half of purpose built rentals were built inner city, that's 15,000 units (so another whole Beltline worth).
 

retrofiturbanism

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I am happy this topic came up. Reminds me of how much inner city mid rise we got going on. Marda Loop especially. There are what, 8 buildings currently under construction there (including the 2 on 14th street): Coco, Marda, Spider site, Edward, Courtyard 33, the Certus development on 14th, the development on 34th and 19 street, the one at the far west end of 33rd (north side). And that is in addition to the 4 mid rise buildings built in the last 5 years or so.

Am I missing any?
 

Surrealplaces

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I am happy this topic came up. Reminds me of how much inner city mid rise we got going on. Marda Loop especially. There are what, 8 buildings currently under construction there (including the 2 on 14th street): Coco, Marda, Spider site, Edward, Courtyard 33, the Certus development on 14th, the development on 34th and 19 street, the one at the far west end of 33rd (north side). And that is in addition to the 4 mid rise buildings built in the last 5 years or so.

Am I missing any?
Just Mantra I think.

Marda Loop's growth has been amazing lately. It feels like it's literally changing overnight.
 

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