Some of the most interesting condo development happening in Calgary are by developers working on boutique infill projects outside the City Centre. For example, RNDSQR (stands for round square) currently has two very interesting projects – “Grow” in Bankview and “Courtyard 33” in Marda Loop.
These are definitely not cookie-cutter condos.
RNDSQR Award Winners
Alkarim Devani, spokesperson and co-founder of RNDSQR (along with his brother Afshin) is a born and raised Calgarians who love inner-city living and development. Alkarim has 20+ years of retail experience - first selling homes, then building funky infill townhomes before evolving into a condo builder. RNDSQR was recently chosen by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation to be their partner in developing the former David D. Oughton School site in southeast Calgary
Creating A Community
With each project, RNDSQR works with community leaders and architects to create a unique building. The goal is to enhance what the community already has by providing not only new housing but where possible new live/work spaces, retail and an improve public realm.
For example, Grow (2502 16A St SW) is built on a site with a steep grade which RNDSQR and the MODA the architects capitalized on by creating a switch back design that allows each of the 20 homes (14 condos, 3 lofts and 3 townhomes) to have green roofs, as well as a communal roof top garden – hence the name Grow! Devani has struck a deal with YYC Growers, a local urban farming co-operative, who will plant and harvest the communal plot while teaching residents what to do develop their own plot once they’ve moved in.
Too often people living in condos complain they don’t know their neighbours - it is expected Grow homeowners will bond over their love of gardening.
Courtyard Y33 (CY33)
With CY33 (2232 33rd Avenue SW) RNDSQR has partnered with Winnipeg’s 546 Architecture to create a unique building inside and out. Not only does it have 29 different floor plans, but they are organized in a strange manner - condos on floors 3 and 5 have hallways, while floors 4 and 6 do not. This means if you live on floors 4 and 6 you enter your home on the floor below and take stairs to your unit's private entrance. This unique designed provides increased security, privacy and reduce noise.
As you might expect there is a huge courtyard with a mega mural in the middle of the building that will give it a European feel. However, the courtyard will be open to the public to mix and mingle with their neighbours living at CY33.
CY33 will have several retailers including a new concept by Diner Deluxe which will activate the laneway by being a restaurant by day and a speak easy by night. BMO will be an anchor tenant, as well as Brewster’s Apprentice and a permanent “pop-up” space. In addition, there will be an 8,000 square foot co-working space that is expected to be used by homeowners and the community at large. By having a mix of uses, CY33 will animated this block of Marda Loop day and night.
And the prices are right! Grow has 14 units left starting at $287,900 and CY33 has 39 units left starting at $284,800, which is amazing for these unique inner city homes. Sorry, I know this sounds a bit like a sales pitch, but after living in Vancouver for a month this spring and seeing tiny new condos selling for $750,000 and higher, I have a much better appreciation of how great a deal these inner-city condos are.
Note: An edited version of this blog was published in Condo Living Magazine’s August edition.
Note: An edited version of this blog was published in the September 2019 issue of Condo Living magazine.