In 2007, when Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) accepted the challenge of bringing Calgary’s oldest (and arguably most neglected) neighbourhood back to life, plenty of Calgarians scoffed with skepticism, many of them muttering “We’ve heard that one before.”
Less than a decade later, the new East Village is rising skyward as one of Calgary’s most sought-after inner-city neighbourhoods – and as a powerful testament to what vision, determination and strategic partnerships can achieve.
“Strategic partnerships have always been the foundation of our vision for a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood at the heart of downtown Calgary,” says Michael Brown, CMLC’s President & CEO. “We’ve been very purposeful and extremely selective in choosing development, cultural and community partners to help bring our master-plan vision for East Village to life. And that has made all the difference.”
“Today, two of those partners are breaking ground on a collaborative development project that embodies precisely what we’re creating here in East Village – namely, an incredibly desirable place to live, with all the amenities residents need close to home.”
The project – which will inject 500 million development dollars into Calgary’s struggling economy – is a collaboration between commercial real estate giant RioCan and Embassy BOSA – a major force in multi-family residential development in Western Canada.
Occupying a full city block, it comprises two spectacular residential towers totalling approximately 500+ condominium homes and an urban format ‘retail podium’ that brings 188,000 square feet of leasable retail space to the neighbourhood’s street level.
The residential towers by Embassy BOSA are called Arris – a name inspired by the towers’ distinctive architecture. (An arris is a sharp edge formed by the meeting of two flat or curved surfaces.) To underscore its prime location at the gateway to East Village and downtown Calgary, RioCan’s retail development is named 5th & Third.
“This exciting mixed-use urban development is a prime example of RioCan’s strategic initiative in Canada’s core urban markets, and we are thrilled to be working with Embassy BOSA and CMLC to boost the appeal and liveability of Calgary’s downtown core,” said Edward Sonshine, Chief Executive Officer of RioCan. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in the revitalization of this growing neighbourhood in Calgary’s East Village, and we believe that 5th & Third, anchored by a Loblaws City Market and Shoppers Drug Mart, will be a gathering place for the community.”
“We envisioned this location in East Village to be an iconic portal to downtown – a site that deserves a landmark structure to welcome people as they enter the city,” adds Ryan Bosa, president of Embassy BOSA. “We’re raising the bar with Arris, which is set to deliver on the Embassy BOSA promise of building architecturally stunning homes of the highest standard in amenity-rich urban settings. From the incredible views overlooking the Bow River and downtown Calgary to the outdoor gardens on the private rooftop to the fantastic commercial centre at its feet, Arris will be one of a kind.”
Together, Arris and 5th & Third represent important steps forward in CMLC’s aim to achieve its master-plan vision for East Village. Arris’s 500+ suites will be home to a sizeable portion of the 11,500 residents who will eventually call East Village home; and because shops and services that meet the needs of residents are a vital component of a complete and sustainable community, the RioCan project provides a strong underpinning for the success of CMLC’s redevelopment efforts here in East Village and the retail strategy that supports them.
“We’re so excited to see this major project break ground and get underway,” says Lyle Edwards, Chair of CMLC’s Board of Directors. “It’s important to acknowledge that the only reason it’s happening is because CMLC embraced a challenge, forged a vision and did everything necessary to make it happen. And it all began with recreating East Village as an area ripe for redevelopment.”
“Through the highly strategic application of their operating budget and the Community Revitalization Levy, CMLC committed approximately $357 million to East Village infrastructure and development programs. Those infrastructure improvements have so far attracted $2.8 billion of planned development here in East Village. How’s that for a return on investment!”