Back in early 2016, Calgary based El Condor Lands unveiled plans for a new project in Calgary's Chinatown. The unveiling did not involve detailed plans, and was more of a concept for a 30-storey tower to be developed on an empty parcel of land in Chinatown. The proposal was at first met with an icy reception from community leaders, but El Condor, in conjunction with Hive Developments, also from Calgary continued to work with city planners.
Fast forward to July 2018 and the project is back in the spotlight, with Hive and El Condor recently releasing updated plans for the project. Hive has also been busy holding open house events to engage and inform the community - going so far as to hire translators for any residents who do not speak English. They've also set up a website where the public can take a survey regarding the project.
What's changed? According to new plans and renderings from Perkins+Will, architects for the project, the plan calls for three buildings, two of which will be residential combining for 524 units and the third building to be a 12-storey, 150 room hotel. Also in the proposal are 23 commercial retail units, which would be a great addition for a part of Chinatown that is currently lacking in retail vibrancy. Small alleyways will cut through the podium of the building, and will be adorned with diminutively scaled retail units giving the project a similar feel to the traditional North American Chinatown.
The podium's decor will also have a definite Chinese look and feel to it, and according to Lourdes Juan, Director of Hive Developments, it won't have a "Disney type Chinese look," but instead for will draw inspiration based on Chinese architecture. For example, a motif of vertical and horizontal rectangles will draw inspiration from the intricate geometric wood lattices of traditional China. Detailing of the podium draws from a rich history of masonry techniques, which will be used to create texture, opacity, and variation in the facade.
According to Juan, a development permit has been submitted to the city, and they are hoping the project will be approved by the planning commission by late August or early September.
SkyriseCalgary will be sure to return to this project as progress continues. For more information, check out the associated Database file and Forum thread, and as always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below.