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Urban Development and Proposals Discussion

potatopizzafan

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Thank you. We'll be starting tours in the next two weeks, so come on by.
Our architect (Oscar Flechas) really deserves all the credit. He's extremely talented.
they really look great, a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. now if you guys could develop the apartment building across the street, that would be great (its a dump) :p
 

Calgcouver

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Thank you. We'll be starting tours in the next two weeks, so come on by.
Our architect (Oscar Flechas) really deserves all the credit. He's extremely talented.
A really clean and simple design, a slope adaptive building with appropriate setbacks and rhythm of entrances/unit widths. Got it all right on this one. Nice job Oscar 👌
 

BellaArt

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they really look great, a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. now if you guys could develop the apartment building across the street, that would be great (its a dump) :p
I was told they are looking at an 11 unit approval for that dum....errrr... lot ;)

Our next one is up the road at 17th & 28th (we do one unique build a year) so we're trying.
 

potatopizzafan

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I was told they are looking at an 11 unit approval for that dum....errrr... lot ;)

Our next one is up the road at 17th & 28th (we do one unique build a year) so we're trying.
that makes me very happy to hear, hopefully it goes forward. So much wasted space on that lot
 

JonnyCanuck

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/upscale-rental-apartments-calgary-1.5642881 some good news for once! I hope this continues to encourage more developers to move forward with rental towers in the midst of this pandemic.
The picture is certainly being painted as optimistic. However the decisions to build those towers currently under construction were made 1-2 years ago. There is hardly a shortage of supply now. All of the new rental buildings that opened in the couple of years ...., SoDa, Underwood, Portfolio, The Hat 7th Ave & East Village, Aura 1 & 2, The Metropolitan ..... all have units available. I am not so sure the same market conditions exist today particularly with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
 

CBBarnett

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The picture is certainly being painted as optimistic. However the decisions to build those towers currently under construction were made 1-2 years ago. There is hardly a shortage of supply now. All of the new rental buildings that opened in the couple of years ...., SoDa, Underwood, Portfolio, The Hat 7th Ave & East Village, Aura 1 & 2, The Metropolitan ..... all have units available. I am not so sure the same market conditions exist today particularly with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Who really knows what will happen as the uncertainty is off the charts with COVID impacts and we are in truly wild economic times - but all data points to Calgary's population continuing to grow, with new household formation (i.e. a single or couple that resides in their own place) trending slightly higher than population growth. This is true for all Canadian cities, Calgary despite all the doom and gloom, remains in the faster growing cohort based on the most recent data available (spring 2020).

Canada as a whole - and Calgary a bit behind - has for decades trended towards smaller family sizes and increases in single-person households - exactly the markets supported by apartment living. As Calgary continues it's trend towards the Canadian average (less wealth, less growth, more stable), I would expect us to play catch up and see continued growth in that market. Combined with generational factors (either from less ownership preference or less ability to own due to economic realities of next generation of young adults) I don't see why construction won't continue as normal with the predictable short-run overbuilding, pause, market tightens, building cycle.

I mentioned this before, but Calgary would require some ~60,000 purpose-built rentals to hit the Canadian average for purpose built rentals as a portion of the housing stock of the 10 largest CMAs. And we are talking just the average - every city bigger than us is well above average in rentals. Structural, historic and regional differences will likely prevent us from ever reaching too close to our larger counterparts or the national average, however if only half the gap was closed (30,000 units), and half of purpose built rentals were built inner city, that's 15,000 units - so another whole Beltline worth.

In a supply and demand argument, I would more worried if I own a generic 1970 - 2010 house - Calgary has hundreds of thousands of these. Demographics and economic pressures are shifting away from this housing type, as it's the most expensive housing type to live in under pretty much any market conditions. They will always be someone to live in them of course, I'm predicting below long-run average growth in these household types.
 

JonnyCanuck

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Earlier this year, the rental vacancy rate was near 4%. If I recall, it was 1-2% during the boom times. As I stated above, this hardly points to a supply shortage of rental units ... particularly luxury rental as they are now calling them.
Location is important as well. Most of the purpose rental now under construction and in the years leading up, has been in the core. If there are fewer jobs downtown and more people working from home, will the demand for inner city apartments continue to increase?
 

zagox

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Earlier this year, the rental vacancy rate was near 4%. If I recall, it was 1-2% during the boom times. As I stated above, this hardly points to a supply shortage of rental units ... particularly luxury rental as they are now calling them.
Location is important as well. Most of the purpose rental now under construction and in the years leading up, has been in the core. If there are fewer jobs downtown and more people working from home, will the demand for inner city apartments continue to increase?
As work becomes more remote and less tied to central offices, I expect to see both satellite offices of large companies, as well as individuals moving away from expensive cities (i.e. Toronto, Vancouver) towards smaller, cheaper ones. Some people will want to move from downtown Toronto to cottage country, but others will want to keep some of the big city vibe without the big city prices. Calgary has a good shot at capturing this market. Denver, Kansas City, and Boise have all benefited from this trend before us. It will take continued reimagining of the core towards a better place to live 24/7.
 

gsunnyg

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Earlier this year, the rental vacancy rate was near 4%. If I recall, it was 1-2% during the boom times. As I stated above, this hardly points to a supply shortage of rental units ... particularly luxury rental as they are now calling them.
Location is important as well. Most of the purpose rental now under construction and in the years leading up, has been in the core. If there are fewer jobs downtown and more people working from home, will the demand for inner city apartments continue to increase?
Look at Vancouver downtown, hardly any offices relative to the population yet it’s still bustling. We need to make an attractive core where people “want” to live downtown/inner city not one where they “have” to. Right now the stigma with downtown is its dead after 5pm with only homeless people running around. Investments like east village and the entertainment district are great ways to lure people in. When I’m in calgary I don’t always work downtown and neither do a lot of my friends but we’d all still like to live downtown/inner city.
 

CBBarnett

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Look at Vancouver downtown, hardly any offices relative to the population yet it’s still bustling. We need to make an attractive core where people “want” to live downtown/inner city not one where they “have” to. Right now the stigma with downtown is its dead after 5pm with only homeless people running around. Investments like east village and the entertainment district are great ways to lure people in. When I’m in calgary I don’t always work downtown and neither do a lot of my friends but we’d all still like to live downtown/inner city.
I think that this point is often undervalued by "who wants to live downtown when their are less jobs" critiques. On the surface, job location is critical - however living in downtown will still provide you better access to more jobs than anywhere else in the city - even if downtown's relatively job numbers were low (which they are not). Most cities have far fewer jobs than we do in the core as a proportion of total jobs, even accounting for our recent recessions.

The reason downtown locations are valued are simple: being at the centre of the transportation network of all modes opens up opportunities to access a huge number of jobs in the city in reasonable commute times. Putting cost of housing aside for a minute, if you work minimum wage and are working at a restaurant you could only access a handful within a reasonable commute living in Chaparral and you'd probably have to drive there. Living in the Beltline you probably have 4 or 5 similar restaurants within a few blocks. If you searched for a similar commute time.

Now that I am ranting, check this out: here's some data to back it up from the fun mapping site I found, Mapnificent, calculates travel time by real transit data. Same level of zoom for each picture.

Highlighted area is 30 minute transit time from the centre of Chaparral (corner of 194 Ave & Chaparral Blvd SE ) vs. centre of downtown.
1594325038633.png
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"Not fair comparison" someone could say, "this is transit, downtown has better service". But if you did a driving map the logic repeats. Central is more accessible to more jobs to more people in any situation no matter how they get there. This doesn't even account for that jobs are not uniformly spread, the map on the right has the highest density of jobs too. I am making this up but Chaparral might access 10,000 possible jobs in 30 minutes by transit, downtown might be able to access 250,000 in the same time (even if it's down 50,000 thanks to a recession).

If this is all obvious - that's the point. It's why rents stay high downtown for apartments, it's why we keep building more there; it's why entertainment districts succeed in city centres, why they fail in Kanata; it's the logic behind why cities and density is so much more productive (and increasingly so) than rural, sparse districts. In fact, the success of the city centre's accessibility is exactly the cause of "it's too expensive" argument: it's expensive because so many people would be willing to pay more for additional access that prices go up from demand.

Of course this isn't to say Chaparral is useless or a bad location - it's saying that it can't possible be the best location for the most people to access the most jobs (or services, or amenities etc.) Same goes for all the other low-density, car-dependent suburban locations. On aggregate the suburbs make up the large majority of residents and a bunch of jobs, but none of them individually come close to the location and job access of the city centre. As a result, they compete largely in a large, poorly differentiated market holding home prices down and transportation costs up.

If you want the option to take transit, bicycle or walk - there is no competition: city centre and LRT corridors are the only chance you reasonably have.
If you want to drive, city centre is likely still more competitive than a random suburban neighbourhood (but perhaps more expensive for car storage).
If you don't know what you want and want your property to appeal to as many as possible for renting it out, city centre would still be the best place.
If you happened to be worth a few hundred billion and need to invest in a few apartment towers with decades-long payback, where would you invest in those apartments?

In conclusion, if all what I am saying is true what's holding downtown back?

I would argue nothing is technically holding us back - we have had 30+ residential towers over the past 20 years in the Beltline for example, so something is clearly working - and continued population growth throughout the city centre region. I think stigma is part of it, as decades of perception of the city centre only being for a narrow demographic combined with the means to choose (high transportation costs and low job accessibility means less if it's boom times and I make 150K / year and can satisfy whatever societal norm of big trucks and big houses I want).

Through both choice and necessity (small families, appreciation for urban amenities/access, lower incomes so people have to choose more carefully how they are going to live) an argument can be made that it's completely logically to expect continued apartment and inner city growth in some form. Sprawling suburban development probably won't stop either - it's cheaper and we don't show any appetite for using a regulatory tool to change that.

But if I was to measure it all up, especially from coming from such a high boom-time fueled base, I would expect that Calgary has seen peak-home ownership and will see continued apartments/rental increase instead. As the city centre makes the most sense for this kind of development, we should expect to see continual growth at some pace for the foreseeable future.
 

Sky of Blue

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I have to agree with higher end rental buildings being in short supply. It seems that as soon as a building decides it’s going to be a rental, the units get downgraded to crappy laminate/carpet, flimsy fixtures. Which is why I rent higher end condo units instead of in dedicated rental buildings. I’d rather be in a dedicated rental building because it’s stable. No risk of having to move because the unit is sold out from under me or it’s been foreclosed on or what have you. But I want the granite countertops, hard surface flooring, nice fixtures etc.
 

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