CMLC’s neighbourhood redevelopment continues to gain impressive momentum

If there’s one word that perfectly captures the flurry of development taking place right now in Calgary’s East Village, ‘momentum’ would be it. Under the watch of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – the organization that enthusiastically embraced the challenge of bringing East Village back to life just seven years ago – vertical development is now in full swing.

And the latest headline-worthy project now underway in Calgary’s newest, oldest, coolest, warmest neighbourhood is a flashy new hotel by one of the world’s premier hospitality brands: Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

In April 2012, CMLC inked a major land deal with Widewaters Group, a USA-based commercial real estate development firm, to build a dual-branded Hilton hotel along 4th Street SE – the commercial node of East Village. The 320-room hotel, which combines the brands of Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites under one roof, will have a south-facing rooftop terrace with pool and fitness facilities, convention services and two levels of underground parking.

“This hospitality project is a great complement to the condominium developments currently underway in East Village, as it will give visitors the ability to stay in the neighbourhood and take advantage of the many cultural, entertainment and recreational amenities being built here,” Michael Brown, President & CEO, CMLC.

While construction has officially started, the hotel’s location at the corner of 7th Avenue and 4th Street SE – on the same block as the sites of Calgary’s New Central Library and National Music Centre, where construction is also in full swing – is active with a multitude of construction workers, cranes and equipment.

To dramatically accelerate construction of the 230,000 sq. ft. 14-storey, full-service hotel, Widewaters Group is employing modular elements fabricated offsite – an innovative approach that will shave months off the project plan. In fact, the new hotel is expected to open just 18 months after construction begins.

Ed Shagen, Vice President of Hotel Development Western Region, Widewaters Group, describes the broad strokes of this time-saving approach. “For the first three floors we used cast-in-place concrete – the same technique as a traditional build. But that’s where the similarities end. For the 11 remaining storeys, we’ll employ a technique called ‘girder slab’, using two tower cranes to lift huge steel and concrete floor planks into place. Each plank is four feet wide, eight inches thick and 20 to 24 feet long.

“The bathrooms also come as modular pods, designed and fabricated in Orlando, Florida by Eggrock Modular Solutions and shipped to Calgary is shrink-wrapped cases. Each pod is a self-contained bathroom complete with toilet, wall coverings, mirror and lighting fixtures. We install all the pods before we add the hotel’s exterior panels, which are also pre-fabricated. To complete the installation, each bathroom requires about one hour of a plumber’s time and one hour from an electrician. That’s it!”

“With its accelerated development timeline, the hotel development is a strong example of the tremendous progress we’re making here in East Village,” says Susan Veres, VP Marketing & Communications, CMLC. “The EV Hilton Hotel will open late spring 2016 with the reservation systems coming on line in the New Year”.

In January, exterior work on the building’s 14 stories will be completed and crews will then move inside for FFE - furniture, fittings and equipment – work and detailing.

Site visits are welcomed on Tuesday, October 13 between 10 AM – Noon.  Proper safety gear is required.

Imagined as a mixed-use, amenity-rich master-planned neighbourhood in the downtown core, East Village will be home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027. With local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island Park, the New Central Library, National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre, East Village has become a highly desirable neighbourhood in Calgary’s downtown core.

The Widewaters Group, with offices in Syracuse, NY, Charlotte, NC and Park City, UT, is a real estate development and management company with extensive experience in developing retail, hospitality and office projects throughout the United States and Canada. Across eight eastern American states and three Canadian provinces, the Widewaters Group hospitality portfolio represents $1.16 billion of investment and over 2,500 hotel rooms.

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