Could you live in Calgary without a car? I am not sure I could, but more and more Calgarians are doing so. With the introduction of Car2Go (Calgary has one of the highest number of Car2Go members in North America), Uber and Lime (bikes), the need for a car in Calgary is becoming less and less mandatory, if you live in the City Centre.
Astute condo developers are noticing there is a niche market for condos with little or no parking.
First it was the N3 condo in East Village, a 15-story tower with 167 units and no parking, by Knightsbridge Homes and Metropia that was completed in 2017. One of the big advantages of no parking is these units sell for about $50,000 less than competitors’ condos (i.e. the cost to build an underground park space - give or take $10,000.) The idea of building a new condo with no parking was bold - it hadn’t happened in Vancouver or Toronto.
N3 captured the attention of urban planners across North America. Would automobile-obsessed Calgarians really buy a condo with no parking? The answer is Yes.
As Joe Starkman, President of Knightsbridge Homes said to me “I did my research and I was willing to gamble there were at least 167 Calgarians who wanted to live downtown and didn’t need a car. I was willing to take that risk.”
But was N3 a unique situation, given it is so close to downtown, so close to LRT and plans were in place for a major retail centre (with grocery store and other everyday amenities) nearby?
We are about to find out!
Bowman Development has announced The Nest in Mission, with 82 condos starting in the low $200’s. Located at the corner of 18thAve and Macleod Trail SE, its residents will be within easy walking distance to the Erlton and Stampede LRT Stations, Stampede Park and Mission Safeway and other shops. No need for an in-house workout room with the iconic Repsol Sport Centre literally a hop, skip and jump away. You are also right on the Elbow River pathway system. The units are small (415 to 556 square feet), but for true urbanites the community is their living room, dining room and kitchen. At 15-storeys, many residents will have great views of downtown, the mountains and the Stampede fireworks.
Over in Downtown West, Cidex is building the Hat @7th a 66-unit apartment building at 1116 7th Ave SW that’s expected to be completed in 2019. It too has no parking, however given its so close to the 11th Street LRT station and not far from the 8th Street station, who needs a car? Living here gives you easy access to Bow River Promenade and walking to Kensington or West Beltline with their grocery stores and shops. You can also play basketball or volleyball, or practise your skateboarding and BMX skills at Shaw Millennium Park.
Bonus. Cidex’s West Village towers is also under construction just a few blocks away, with its 90,000 square feet of retail at the base - plenty of room for an urban grocery store and other shops to meet your everyday needs.
Battistella designed it new Nude condo in the west Beltline with parking spots for only 60% of the units, thinking not everyone will want a parking spot. So far, 85% of buyers have chosen to purchase a parking spot with their condo.
Obviously, the early bird get the parking spot!
More and more cities across North America are looking at allowing residential developers to build new condos without any parking or much less parking than would have been demanded in the past. Calgary is leading the way, partly because it has one of the most walkable city centres in North America, perhaps the world.
In the past, cities demanded developers include a minimum of one (and sometimes more) parking stalls per unit, as well as visitor parking, as neighbors didn’t want the newbies to take their street parking.
But this is quickly changing, with Calgary ahead of the curve.
Note: An edited version of this blog was commissioned for the January 2019 edition of Condo Living magazine.