MichaelS

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The DP drawings for this project have now been posted:
Office tower (24 stories), rental tower (54 stories) and condo tower (66 stories)

No major renderings in the DP package, but here are some elevations:
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It looks like the heritage buildings on 7th ave are being removed......

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I will go through these in more detail to see what other info I can glean. Looks to be a pretty massive podium. Hopefully we see some detailed renderings soon.
 

Mountain Man

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Not sure I'm in favour of this, there are better sites that don't compromise a historical street. The interface between the old and new on Stephen Ave is critical and there should be a major setback to respect the only historical street in the damn city! It's a shame that we are apparently throwing in the towel on the historic buildings on 7th as well.

Also, why are they even thinking about office space in a city with about 15 000 000 square feet vacant.
 

MichaelS

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Hmm.... I hope the tower designs are great. Not so sure I like what I am seeing with the ground floor yet. They look to be blowing some holes into the Stephen Avenue side as well (preserving the 2nd storey facades....)
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And I maybe get that the buildings on 7th Ave are too far gone to preserve, but it would have been great to see some facade preservation like they do in Toronto. Not sure this will match the current streetscape that is there now:
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I don't want to pass judgement too much without seeing more details, but so far, I am starting to dread what is in the drawings...... Not off to a great start in my opinion.
 
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The Familia

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On first glance this looks like shit. Just seeing Gibbs Gage involved in such a transformative project is enough to make me run for the hills. Stephen Ave should not be touched or compromised at all in any regards. This podium is way too big and heavy. In regards to 7th Ave, while I would like the historical buildings to be preserved, they are rather dumpy and not nearly as interesting as the ones of 8th Ave. Will wait to see the detailed renderings, but my initial reaction is to send it back to the drawing board. Way too big for the site.
 

MichaelS

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One other thought on this..... Who proposes so much office space these days? Don't we have something like 30 million square feet of vacant space downtown? We are literally subsidizing office buidling owners to take away office space from our downtown core and turn them into something else. This DP contains hundreds of thousands of square feet of new office. Seems strange.
 

Mountain Man

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One other thought on this..... Who proposes so much office space these days? Don't we have something like 30 million square feet of vacant space downtown? We are literally subsidizing office buidling owners to take away office space from our downtown core and turn them into something else. This DP contains hundreds of thousands of square feet of new office. Seems strange.
Only way it makes sense is if there is a tenant lined up already, and even then, there's bargains to be had on existing space. The city should have the authority to reject the office portion until the market rebounds (likely in another decade or two).
 

Calgcouver

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This development gives absolutely no idea what the envisioned block will look like and creates another monolithic multi-tower full-block development. How will the towers look different from one another? And how will the 7 Ave at-grade treatment be any different than the at-grade experience along 8th Avenue Place that has been such an utter failure? I would expect to have a better idea than i do about what this should look and feel like after looking through the DP package, but i am not getting that. We have so many sterile awful street walls like what it seems they are proposing along the 7 ave frontage, how is this different than what we've seen before?

I could potentially live with tearing down the 7 ave buildings and not re-using the facades if the block faces were articulated and treating in a way that used high-quality materials (read brick) and respected the historic building heights and patterns to create an interesting streetwall like they did on the Mirvish Village redev.
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Show me that it'll turn out like that and it could respect the historic nature of the block enough to support this massive amount of height and density, but as-is, sell me on your vision and this package isn't doing it.
 
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MichaelS

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The inclusion of a 24 story office tower makes me skeptical that this is actually about building something this decade. Seems more likely this is the first move in a rezone and flip plan?
Why bother going through the DP process then? Why not just rezone it?
 

MichaelS

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Only way it makes sense is if there is a tenant lined up already, and even then, there's bargains to be had on existing space. The city should have the authority to reject the office portion until the market rebounds (likely in another decade or two).
Question for anyone who has a better understanding of the thought process around leasing major amounts of office space: Why would any company choose to commit to a large space that will take at least 5 years to deliver (at what I assume will be some of the highest rates in the City, to motivate the developer to actually build it) when there is literally oceans of space you can choose from within the same exact market? It is not like what we are seeing can be considered a big "showcase" corporate headquarters, it is a tower much shorter than all of its surroundings, that will get lost in the skyline (not even commenting on the architecture). What tennant would look at the current circumstances in Calgary and say, "yep, a new build, that is the best route"?
 

CBBarnett

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One other thought on this..... Who proposes so much office space these days? Don't we have something like 30 million square feet of vacant space downtown? We are literally subsidizing office buidling owners to take away office space from our downtown core and turn them into something else. This DP contains hundreds of thousands of square feet of new office. Seems strange.
The only thing I can think of is some sort stretch play for those larger, single floor-plate office plans that are popular with tech firms and are starting to be built in Vancouver and Toronto. I can't imagine that's enough incentive to overcome cheap, empty offices in every direction for blocks but who knows? Perhaps our newer, higher quality offices have a a lower vacancy that makes these guys think this amount of space is justified. Or the larger floorplate is just so much more attractive they really think it's worth building?

Overall it's a bit confusing of a development from the elevations, would probably need to see some renders to understand how this all fits together.

First impressions are huge density in the right location - I think the cut-through courtyard could be a neat application if done right. I do like how the office lobbies are in the alley which would pull any pedestrian traffic into the alleyway. Combined with the retail wrapped around all the corridors, could work to create a pretty interested integration between 7th and Stephen. From what I can tell, it appears they are preserving the Stephen Ave side, but just renovating a structure or two to allow for outdoor circulation through the main floor.

Very concerning the comment about the Clarence Block "existing storefront to be dismantled" on Stephen Ave. Sounds like they would take it down and put back up the facade when the alley is complete. We've seen this promise before and have a few nice heritage buildings sitting in storage as a result. I would prefer reusing the existing building as-is, but am okay with it as proposed - as long as they actually follow through.

Problems are all on the 7th Avenue side. Looks like they declared the buildings along it are not worth saving which is disappointing. Even if it was true, they clearly declared 7th Avenue as back-of-house - grey metal and glass, 12 stories high for almost a full block, no attempt to do something even faux-heritage or with bricks. Yikes.

Will hold final judgement for an actual rendering, but the off-Stephen Ave courtyard + ~1,000 units of residential/hotel are a big deal.
 
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