Parker: City construction crews work on building the future

Monday, May 18, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Parker: City construction crews work on building the future

The Calgary Construction Association has been doing a great job ensuring crews have kept working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they continue to change the face of the city.

The biggest project, and hardest to understand as you drive by, is the massive interchange work well underway at the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Stoney Trail N.W.

It looks like total confusion to those that just get glimpses of big yellow machines and partially built bridge abutments. But when completed — providing the directional signs give easily understood information — no doubt it will become a work of construction art and design.

In the same area there is good progress at Trinity Hills, where we can look forward to a 30,000-square-foot GoodLife Fitness, a 27,000-square-foot MEC and a Save-On-Foods grocery store. And across the highway, Melcor’s Greenwich Village master-planned mixed-use community is beginning to take shape with residential properties; and those living in the northwest look forward to seeing the new Calgary Farmers’ Market rise out of the ground.

It always seems such a long time between original plans and opening of new developments; I remember getting excited about University District while wandering through an excellent virtual reality wall produced by Riddell Kurczaba Architecture 3-D Visualization.

So, taking the time to drive through the development from Shaganappi Trail, I was impressed to see the construction progress that is transforming the former University of Calgary lands. And surprised to find that crews are already working on the 14th floor of the 15-storey Alt Hotel.

The 156-room hotel by Group Germain is at the first intersection across from the development’s Discovery Centre, reopened this week to view show suites of the District’s residential offerings. Managed by West Campus Development Trust CEO James Robertson, he and his marketing team also use the centre to speak to potential retailers about the many benefits of opening stores in the prestigious development.

Robertson says reception has been very encouraging and we will see the opening of several businesses in late summer. The first group will be those across the street from Alt Hotel on the ground floor of the 288-suite Rhapsody residential complex by Gracorp Properties. They include a 38,000-square-foot Save-On-Foods grocery store, Analog Coffee, Market Wines, Freshii, Pet Planet and Scotia Bank.

Adjoining the hotel is the five-storey August residential block by AviUrban, where its 120 condominiums will sit above YYC Cycle Spin Studio, Five Guys Burgers and OEB Breakfast.

Farther to the east along University Avenue, a new five-screen, VIP Cineplex Theatre with a fully-licensed lounge will be above ground in its construction process next month.

In the same bock, a new Staples store will be welcomed by residents of the northwest who were frustrated when the Market Mall location closed.

It’s been full steam ahead for University District, where there will be more than 1,000 residences occupied by year end. Current multi-family residences under construction are Esquire by Truman, Argyle by AviUrban, and Capella by Brookfield. The Cambridge assisted-living home development by Brenda Strafford Foundation on the corner of Shaganappi Trail will welcome its first guests in September.

Meanwhile, people from the currently occupied dwellings as well as from the neighbouring Varsity district are enjoying use of the two artificial turf, fenced-in dog parks.