"When this opportunity came up for Graywood it was too unique and too strong of a project to turn down," said Patrick Briscoe, Director, Development Project Management of Toronto-based Graywood Developments. "It had all the great characteristics of a good and comprehensive development." The prolific developer, with over 25,000 completed housing units under their belt, makes its debut in Calgary this weekend with Fish Creek Exchange, a multi-phase transit-oriented project on the former Shawnee Slopes Golf Course lands.

Fish Creek Exchange includes mid-rise condominiums and ground-level retail, image via Graywood Developments

The mixed-use project carves out a part of Shawnee Park's east end, envisioning its 9.5-hectare share as a new neighbourhood of apartment-style condos and townhomes sprinkled by open space and commercial retail. Zoning for the site was approved back in 2013, with Cardel Homes setting their sights on the immense potential of the property. Graywood Developments then entered the scene in 2014 and laid claim to the multi-family lands on the parcels. With the eastern edge of the property enjoying convenient access to Fish Creek-Lacombe LRT Station, it was an ideal setting for a denser and more integrated urban experience. 

The property's new zoning permits the infusion of mixed-use components, including a commercial retail segment in the development's first building. "There is the ability in some of our additional sites to integrate some more commercial into it," said Briscoe. "For a suburban concept, this really hasn't been done in Calgary to date. It's something more typical of downtown highrise construction and more dense areas. We see it as an amenity for future residents that will live there."

An aerial overview of the since cleared golf course lands, image retrieved from Google Maps

The name of the project — Fish Creek Exchange — reflects its strategic proximity to one of Canada's largest urban parks, combined with the vibrant exchange of people and services that aim to activate the neighbourhood. The development's first phase consists of 100 apartment-style condos and 42 townhomes. Apartment-style condos will be offered in one- and two-bedroom layouts, ranging in size from 600 square feet to 1,350 square feet, while the townhomes boast between 1,250 square feet and 1,650 square feet. "We wanted to provide the market with a lot of choice and options to get into a great location," said Briscoe. "We'll start working on our comprehensive development plan for the remainder of the site based on what we see in the market and what comes out of the most demand there."

Calgary's affordability and strong housing market were major factors in attracting Graywood from Toronto, which is notoriously beset with some of the highest property prices in North America. "Calgary is one of the youngest cities in Canada, has one of the highest wage rates in the country and there are a lot of people moving here, so there are job opportunities and growth in the city — all while still being affordable relative to Toronto and Vancouver," said Briscoe.

Exterior cladding materials will vary, giving buildings a smart modern look, image via Graywood Developments

NORR Architects, who Briscoe praised as "one of the best architects for multi-family projects in Calgary," take the lead on the exterior expression of the project. The showpiece site for the project balances the property's inherent natural assets with a more modern and progressive style of architecture. Described as "West Coast," the exterior facade integrates a number of different materials — from stone to wood to corrugated metal — and incorporates the commercial component as one of the most prominent features. The plans also call for a patio space and a woonerf street that links to a pedestrian plaza that can be utilized for events and gatherings. 

In contrast with the low-rise and low-density nature of a typical suburban development, Fish Creek Exchange caters to buyers who still long for quiet streets, but appreciate the amenities and convenience of an urban lifestyle. The expansive first phase of the development launches on Saturday, June 17th from 11 AM to 4 PM at the new Fish Creek Exchange Presentation Centre and Show Homes on 99 Shawnee Common SW.

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Related Companies:  NORR Architects & Engineers Limited