City council’s recent approval of 14 new suburban communities is a vote of confidence in Calgary’s future.
“It is an overall good news story,” said Matthew Sheldrake, City of Calgary growth strategies and geo-demographics co-ordinator, of the communities approved in July.
The decision, he says, reflects improving economic and population growth numbers, and hits planning objectives of balanced growth in both new and established communities, while indicating Calgary is “open for business,” rather than pushing new development (and tax revenue) to outlying municipalities.
The communities also mesh with the Municipal Development Plan’s emphasis on densification. If all 14 communities proceed over the next decade, they will bring 20,000 to 25,000 single-family homes and 14,000 to 17,000 multi-family units to market.
“IT IS AN OVERALL GOOD NEWS STORY.” – MATTHEW SHELDRAKE, CITY OF CALGARY
“The new communities are very dense, with modern urban planning design, while leveraging existing city investment,” said Sheldrake. They will also come online at a time of higher developer levies, where increased suburban density translates into increased property tax revenue.
Two of the city’s largest developers, Brookfield Residential and Qualico Communities, each had two developments approved, emphasizing a mix of home product, but with high-efficiency usage (density) and more affordability.
Brookfield’s Rowan Park community (Haskayne Area Structure Plan), overlooks the Bow River in northwest Calgary, and will see more than 3,000 homes (2,136 single family, 994 multi-family) spread over 465 acres.
Ryan Boyd, senior vice-president of Calgary communities at Brookfield, says the company is moving “as fast as we can” through permitting processes and hopes to bring Rowan Park product to market in 2020.
In Seton (Rangeview ASP), residential phases will add 8,300 homes (4,300 multi-family and 4,000 single family), with releases this year and final build-out on the 680-acre site in 2028.
Boyd says there is pent-up demand in those two areas, with significant municipal infrastructure already in place.
Qualico’s two developments are in southwest Calgary’s Providence and northwest Calgary’s Glacier Ridge. One of two quarter sections purchased in Providence well over a decade ago will see 1,200 to 1,300 homes (80 per cent single family), while Glacier Ridge will host 1,000 single-family and 328 multi-family units. Sales are expected in late 2020.
Clark Piechotta, Qualico’s associate director of development, says with Calgary seeing annual population growth of 15,000 to 20,000, there will be steady housing demand – demand the City, not outlying communities, should take financial advantage of.
Piechotta says Qualico’s newly approved communities will see a diversity of “fee-simple” products without condo fees, including townhomes and duplexes, along with smaller-footprint homes, and homes on zero-lot lines to increase density and improve affordability.