April 25, 2018 | Geoff Geddes
Thinking outside the boxCalgary developers are getting creative in tough condo market
Like much in life, the only constant in the housing market is change. Buyer tastes are ever evolving, and developers of new-build condo projects in Calgary must keep pace.
"Homebuyers today know what they want and need in a new home," said Nicole McLaws, marketing manager at Hopewell Residential. "They want excellent quality, timeless style, affordable pricing and a location that works for their lifestyle."
To meet those needs, developers offer a range of floor plan layouts and sizes, with stylish finishings and long-lasting materials. At the same time, they are keeping one eye squarely on the big picture.
"In the current condo market, we have to be more creative and do things differently. We must embrace the idea that the unit, the building and the neighborhood are where people live and work and play, and we need to design accordingly." - Alkarim Devani, RNDSQR founder
"The industry is focusing more on creating great public spaces," said Alkarim Devani, founder of RNDSQR. "The internal design of units and buildings is important, but we're also looking at the surrounding area and how it can support homeowners with parks, libraries and restaurants. East Village is the most heralded application of that right now."
While many new-build condos are aimed at first-time buyers, there are plenty of options for downsizers and other lifestyles.
"Sandgate in Mahogany is popular with many purchasers because there are suites, prices and sizes for everyone," said McLaws. "The nice thing about condo living is that you have all the convenience you need, and it's all on one level. With Sandgate, we have two elevators to make life easy for residents. There are spacious decks and patios for additional outdoor living space and added bonuses like bike storage."
As buyers demand more, developers are getting creative in their approaches.
"We are programming spaces that are not usually programmed that way," said Devani. "For example, Grow by RNDSQR has a rooftop patio that not only serves as a gathering place for residents, but also includes individual garden units for each owner. Normally, to get the convenience of a condo you have to give up things like gardens, so this is a way around that."
According to Devani, the proper use of space is a common theme in condos these days.
"How you design a space affects people in so many ways," he said. "What is good storage? Where should my laundry be? In the current condo market, we have to be more creative and do things differently. We must embrace the idea that the unit, the building and the neighborhood are where people live and work and play, and we need to design accordingly."