The world is changing, and everybody knows why. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all of us are suffering the ongoing economic challenges. Calgary is not an exemption, yet it hasn't put off Dream Unlimited's plans for building the $2.5 billion Alpine Park.
A Park Filled With Memories: The Alpine Park
Even with the Covid-19 pandemic, however, Dream Unlimited seems still undeterred. The company is pushing for its plans to build the massive $2.5 billion Alpine Park mixed-use development.
Michael Cooper, Dream Unlimited's President and Chief Responsible Officer, "We started assembling this development in 1997 and today, 23 years later, we are proud to commence development of this exceptional project."
The signature development has officially broken ground during the first week of August 2020.
Mr. Cooper added, "Alpine Park is among some of our most prestigious mixed-use communities, along with The Distillery District and Canary District in Toronto and Zibi in Ottawa. We strive to build communities that help make peoples' lives better."
The President then took everyone present at the launch for a walk down memory lane.
Cooper recalled, "We started our company in 1994, and the first investments we made were in Western Canada. I've been walking this land since we bought the first 320 acres in 1997. We knew the development would have to wait until the Ring Road was complete (a new route being constructed which will provide easy access from the site to the rest of Calgary)."
He added, "We went from 300 acres to 1,800. We have an enormous position here, and it's one of the best positions of land we have. It's one of the best positions in Calgary. After 23 years, we now have a chance to build a luxury community that's integrated with how people want to live, with incredible access to the Ring Road and the rest of the city, good access to the mountains and Fish Creek Park."
The President further said, "It also has 23 years of growing anticipation. So this is quite 'big time' for us. It's amazing that with an energy crisis, a health crisis, an economic crisis, after 23 years, we're launching in that."
15 Years To Build Out Alpine Park
It will take 15 years for the master-planned community to be fully built-out. The community will be where 10,000 residents will be living. Here, people will be living in different home styles built by prominent Calgary home builders. Homebuilders such as Homes by Dream, Genesis Builders, Cardel Homes, and Calbridge are only a few of the builders working on the project.
As of the moment, the number of homes that the 646-acre site will have is still being decided. The project is still in its final design phases. However, Dream Unlimited wants to launch first home sales in the second half of 2021.
Tara Steel, Dream's Calgary Land Division's general manager, said, "We'll have a mix of housing units from single-family to attached homes. Most of our homes, though, will be laned product, not front-drive garage, which makes us a little different."
Ms. Steel added, "Ninety percent of our homes are laned. We have estate homes. We have move-up homes. We have starter homes."
The general manager further explained, "Then we have townhouses. . . . What's unique about them is they're drive-under. So the garage is underneath the unit, and they will be accessed off the lane as well."
Alpine Park will also have a Village Centre. The Village Centre will have a pharmacy, curated smaller and unique retailers, a gym, and a grocery anchor. It's still undecided how much space will be used for the centre since it's still in design. However, according to plans, it will be about 100-acres.
The park will also have apartments, multi-family residences, parkland, and urban plaza spaces.
Ms. Steel said, "We envision a walkable community… The bulk of our units are within an eight-minute walk to the village core. So the idea is, we're designing our community a little bit differently."
Located in Calgary's Southwest
You'll be able to find Alpine Park at 37th Street S.W and 146th Avenue of Calgary. It's in the city's west side and southern sector. Residents will be able to enjoy amazing views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and downtown Calgary.
Steel said, "For us, and for someone who has grown up here like myself, 2020 is a year, and that's all it is."
She added, "We focused on the future, and to move a community like this forward, it takes a couple of years to get it right. We're launching (sales) in the fall of 2021. So it takes us a good year and a half to be ready for that."
The general manager continues, "We believe that looking into the future Calgary, and particularly the west side of Calgary, has a strong market and a strong desire being close to the mountains and Kananaskis (Country)."
She added, "With the Ring Road fully opening next fall, it's unprecedented to be able to get downtown as well as get to the mountains."
Cooper explained that Calgary is a great place to live in. Here, people will have entrepreneurial opportunities and have an active population, pushing the city to move in new directions. These include changing how and where people work.
Cooper called the six-year decline in the economic activity "devastating."
However, Cooper said, "We're very excited about the future for Calgary… We're starting now, and we're going to be here for the next 15 years. So, hopefully, we'll be roaring when the economy comes back."
Forerunners In Calgary: Dream And Their Partners
Dream Unlimited also has residential projects in Crossfield and High River. The company has about $120 million in office buildings and $600 million of industrial real estate in Calgary alone.
Cooper said that the company still enjoys Calgary's industrial sector. However, he suggested that they aren't looking to make any significant investments in the city this time.
Cooper said, "We've got over a billion dollars invested in the city… We're really excited about getting this one going (Alpine Park) in the city. We're looking a little bit at industrial, but we have a lot of money invested in the city, and we're happy with what we have."
When Mr. Cooper was asked about the Canadian real estate market situation right now, he said that a low-interest-rate environment is directing the stock market and the industry.
He said, "I think the federal and provincial governments have really tried to keep it stable through this crazy time… I think a lot of companies have been unbelievable leaders in terms of taking good care of their employees during this time."
Cooper added, "People feel way more secure than you would think from the headlines, and that's leading to people being comfortable buying houses."
The company says that its vision for Alpine Park was made with Peter Calthorpe's HDR/Calthorpe's help. Calthorpe is widely known as one of the founding fathers of the new urbanism movement. A firm popular in Calgary for their on St. Patrick's Island, Civitasis, is also a partner.
It's undeniable that Dream Unlimited is one of the country's leading real estate companies. They have assets under management in Europe and North America that are approximately $9 billion.
All over the Dream platform, they have 12,300 units to be developed. Aside from the 616-acres Alpine Park development, they also have 9,100 acres of development land across Western Canada.
Are you looking forward to the massive development that Dream Unlimited is currently building? Will the company be able to push through despite the Covid-19 pandemic?