CMLC + RNDSQR: A Partnership for City-building
Innovative developer and urban placemaker team up to breathe new life into former school site
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)—the placemaking and development team leading the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Calgary’s east end—has found the perfect developer partner to inject new life into the former David D. Oughton (DDO) School site in southeast Calgary.
The City of Calgary purchased the DDO site from the Calgary School Board in 2008. Ten years later, with a freshly expanded mandate to pursue urban redevelopment opportunities beyond the boundaries of the Rivers District, CMLC purchased the site from the City. Recognizing its tremendous potential, CMLC began re-imagining the 8.77-acre site in the community of Albert Park/Radisson Heights as a new multi-family residential project and catalyst for further redevelopment in the area.
According to Michael Brown, CMLC’s President & CEO, RNDSQR (yes, that’s Round Square) was a perfect choice for the DDO site. “RNDSQR is an ideal partner in the next chapter of CMLC’s work to bring new energy to old neighbourhoods, create credibility and confidence, and inspire communities.
“Collaboration is the foundation of our city-building efforts. For more than 10 years in East Village, we’ve worked with world-shaping architects, bold and forward-thinking developers, culinary entrepreneurs, innovative educators, local and international artists and many more. RNDSQR, our newest partner, has pioneered a concept called ‘competitive affordability’—a residential style that adapts to homeowners’ needs over a lifetime and enables families of all kinds to enjoy inner-city home ownership.
“I’m excited about this development partnership because locally made, affordability-focused solutions offer hope to a much broader mix of Calgarians while meeting the City of Calgary’s goals of urban densification and revitalization.”
Alkarim Devani, co-founder of RNDSQR, shares Brown’s enthusiasm, noting that both firms are driven by a desire to create places that make a difference.
“We both understand and value complete, compact communities where walking is a smart way to get around. We know that authentic community grows in places where people of many ages—intergenerational families—and with varied needs can feel like they belong. We share an appreciation for the power of programming and public art to enrich communities, and we both value having—and being involved in creating—places where people can meet and where innovation and creativity flourish.
“We make homes that enable people and families—in all their various shapes and sizes—to feel at home. And we’re thrilled to be working with CMLC to spark new thinking and new living in Albert Park/Radisson Heights.”
Beyond putting a sizable piece of inner-city land back into a use that will benefit many, many Calgarians, the DDO project dovetails beautifully with the City’s economic development efforts in the area, says Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“This partnership and the development they’re creating complements The City’s ongoing commitment to and investment in the area, including the opening of the MAX Purple rapid transit service last year.
“Both organizations are experienced in leveraging the potential of place, and they understand how this type of development can spur economic opportunities that give communities confidence in their future.”
Not to be out-gushed, Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra pointed to the sense of community and pride among current residents and businesses, and he too expressed confidence that this is the ideal partnership to ensure that “the new meshes seamlessly with the well-established. As a family firm with roots just down the way, RNDSQR understands the culture of this diverse part of the city as few do, and they’ve got ideas about how to accommodate this diversity of residents.”
Over the next two years, CMLC and RNDSQR will complete the development plan, obtain approvals, complete designs and prepare the site with services and infrastructure to ready it for new residents. Phase 1 of the multi-family development is slated to break ground in 2021.
For project updates follow along at www.cmlc-rndsqr.com.