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Dec. 22, 2017 | Mario Toneguzzi
Santa Claus is coming to townDear Santa,
I know you're pretty busy these days getting ready for your epic journey. You must receive millions of letters. I can't imagine how time-consuming it is for you, but if you have a chance, please read mine.
I could ask for things in my life like a new vehicle, a fine bottle of Scotch, a vacation to Italy, even secure employment, but I have something different in mind.
My wishlist is for real estate news. I know it's an odd request but I'm a journalist. News has been in my blood since I first realized in Grade 9 that this is the career for me - more than four decades ago.
As a journalist, some might call me nosy, but I prefer to use the descriptive curious - especially when it comes to the real estate market. Being an intense follower of the industry for the past 15 years, I know how much Calgarians are glued to real estate news and I've done my best to accommodate their passion.
So here is my Christmas wish list Santa. Can you somehow work your magic and deliver some news in 2018 on some major real estate developments? And hey if you want to give me the scoop please do so. I'm sure my readers will be grateful too.
In no particular order of importance, and definitely not all-encompassing, here are some of the projects I'd like to know more about in the coming months:
What a saga this has been but it appears the run-down neighbourhood south of the train tracks and adjacent to Stampede Park is ripe for revitalization starting in the near future. Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is scheduled to release a master plan for the neighbourhood in January. That plan will include a new arena and ideas for mixed-use development that will include residential, commercial and retail. Can't wait to hear those details.
Tsuu T'ina Nation
A massive commercial real estate development bordering Calgary city limits named Taza is on 1,200 acres of land and will eventually include 17-million-square-feet with a real estate value in the neighbourhood of $4.5 billion. Details of this will be released in January.
Calgary downtown offices
This will be a huge developing story in the city throughout 2018. With a vacancy rate flirting with the 30 per cent level and no relief in sight, what landlords in the core are going to throw up their hands in defeat and start thinking that perhaps their office towers could be re-purposed into residential units?
This gem of a development not far from the downtown core will eventually house 5,700 homes - single-detached and high-rise condos - as well as 615,000 square feet of office and institutional space, 245,000 square feet of retail space and 23 acres of green and open space. I'm interested in seeing when the commercial side of things will start rolling out (and where my favourite watering hole Wild Rose Brewery will end up).
This company has several proposals in Calgary that are big news items. A block in the Beltline along 12th Avenue S.E. is expected to eventually have three towers and close to 1,000 residential units. In the West Village area, on land where Metro Ford exists now, four residential towers with 2,160 units is planned. And there's the company's massive StoneGate development north of the airport. Hoping to hear more about the plans for 2018 there.
There's also Matco Developments and its Westbrook site. Anthem Properties and its Erlton land. Concord Pacific and the North Hill Shopping Centre.
I don't think I've been naughty this year Santa, so if you can deliver some news on those real estate developments and others in 2018 that would be a great Christmas gift for me.
Have a happy and safe journey December 24.