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East Village bounces back as private investment returns: CMLC

Click to play video: 'East Village bounces back with private investors: CMLC'
East Village bounces back with private investors: CMLC
WATCH: According to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, investment is back in a big way for the East Village after troubling times caused a stall for development. Doug Vaessen has more. – Feb 27, 2024

East Village developer Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) says after some troubling times, investors are back buying into Calgary’s unique vision of downtown living.

Clare LePan, vice president of communications and strategic partnerships for CMLC, says it’s been a priority to get the bounceback after an economic downturn that was followed by the pandemic.

“Those conversations are changing,” LePan said. “We have had more development interest in the past six months than we have had in the couple years prior, which is really important.”

Donald Burke, a local resident, says he began to see the change when development slowed.

“It’s stalled, absolutely stalled.”

Crime and drug addiction became major topics on CMLC’s biannual survey for residents.

Click to play video: 'Work underway to improve perception of safety in Calgary’s East Village'
Work underway to improve perception of safety in Calgary’s East Village

Shannon Del Nero, who arrived in the neighbourhood in 2015, says she’s noticed it too.

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“There are parts of East Village that we love: the community garden, the playground. And then there are parts that have gotten worse since we moved here. It doesn’t feel safe anymore with two little kids.”

LePan says CMLC acted on those concerns, investing in a safety hub that sees uniformed officers provide help every day of the week and investing in the fight against addiction.

“We have partnered with the HELP (Human-centred Engagement and Liaison) team to provide two dedicated outreach teams that work in East Village seven days a week.”

Click to play video: 'Safety Hub pilot enters 2nd year in Calgary’s East Village'
Safety Hub pilot enters 2nd year in Calgary’s East Village

And now LePan says the best thing it can do is get back to building.

The Arris on Third Street Southeast, a Bosa project with 337 units, is the first condo opening in the village since the start of the pandemic. It offers spectacular views and a private entrance to a major grocery store downstairs, among a host of amenities.

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CMLC’s $400-million in investment in public infrastructure to date has attracted more than $3 billion in private investment to East Village, including more than $500 million in mixed-use residential projects currently in the design phase, under construction or advancing to sales/leasing, with more to come.

“Over the course of the last six months we have been working on parcels with different developers that remain to be developed in the community,” LePan said. “In 2023 we signed a partnership with Minto communities for a project with East Village. We have also signed an agreement with One Properties, both mixed-use residential.”

Click to play video: 'East Village food hall proposal'
East Village food hall proposal

CMLC is also engaged in a new project by local developer Copez consisting of four buildings featuring mixed units and a total of 900 residential units, as well as three yet-to-be-named developers for smaller projects close to the public library.

LePan says it’s a work in progress, but talks continue with a buyer for ‘Eve Block.’ It’s seen as the commercial and, in some ways, cultural hub that will join with the ‘Riff’ and will bisect the village between the river and the new Entertainment and Cultural District.

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“We are confident with the new agreements that we have signed with development partners that we are talking to that we are starting to see that rebound in the community.”

Burke says it’s exactly what is needed.

“We get more people there. We get shops set up. You get more eyes on the street. You get that village feel.”

Del Nero says busy streetscapes where people can live, work and play among world-famous architecture, like Studio Bell and the Calgary Central Library, standing shoulder to shoulder with historic properties is why she invested back in 2015.

“Definitely, that’s originally why we wanted to move here.”

And it’s that hope that will keep her here.

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