Calgary is home to its fair share of malls and shopping centres, and the number just keeps growing.
Expected to open in 2017, Highstreet Calgary is the latest development slated for Calgary’s rapidly growing list of commercial developments.
The new development, a venture that Shape Properties Corp. based out of Vancouver, B.C. is taking on, willbe built next to Canada Olympic Park at the intersection of Highway 1 and Valley Ridge Boulevard SW.
Shape Properties Corp. is also responsible for the redevelopment of Deerfoot Mall, and much of their other work has been done in various locations throughout British Columbia.
“This development will provide west Calgary residents with the ultimate shopping, dining and entertainment experience,” said Brenda Truong, corporate marketing manager with Shape Properties Corp.
Highstreet Calgary will stretch across 130 acres, with 61.27 acres dedicated to environmental conservation to preserve the environmentally sensitive areas. The 650,000 sq. ft. building will be home to a diverse mix of great shops, restaurants, coffee shops, eateries and offices. In addition to the considerable commercial presence, the development will eventually include between 800 and 1,000 multi-family residential units that, according to Troung, will encourage residents to get out and enjoy their surroundings.
“We will create a system of local parks that will extend the natural open space into the proposed residential and commercial development,” said Truong. “This interconnected trail system will promote walking, biking and transit use.”
Economically, Highstreet Calgary will be a benefit as it will not only create jobs, but also generate millions in annual taxes. Truong said, “It [Highstreet Calgary] will become a social gathering and the heart of the community.”
Shape Properties Corp. came up with the idea to build Highstreet Calgary, after the previous land owner approached them wanting to sell the property.
“Having owned it for a long time, the lands meant a great deal to them, and they were keen to see something unique and special developed,” said Truong. “Shape was fortunate that they reached out to us and supported our vision of creating a place that offered the opportunity to live, work and play, all in one great place.”
Residents in the surrounding communities seem to be supportive of the new development, and the services it will offer to them.
David McCarrel, director of planning with the Valley Ridge Community Association said, “Valley Ridge supports more commercial development in our area, because we really don’t have that much in our area.”
“Some residents have raised the topic of whether there is enough infrastructure in place to support this exciting development and we’re pleased to work closely with the city to make sure that it is,” said Truong.
McCarrel has expressed that the major concern residents have regarding Highstreet Calgary being built, is the issue of potential traffic problems.
“Too many times we have seen development go ahead without the traffic improvements, and then do the traffic improvements later, so all they [residents] are pushing for is to do the traffic improvements at the same time as the development,” said McCarrel.
From what McCarrel understands is that the Bowfort interchange is supposed to be upgraded, and if that is done in conjunction with the development, not after, there won’t be any problems.
When CrossIron Mills opened in 2009, the traffic posed a major issue with many delays going in and out of the mall. The access route off northbound Deerfoot Trail and a connector to southbound Deerfoot Trail had not been completed when the mall opened causing delays in traffic, and upset drivers.
Aside from traffic, appearance of Highstreet Calgary is also an important factor for residents. Truong said, “There’s also been a positive response to the level of attention we’ve put into our design.”
“We would really like [Highstreet Calgary] to look good from the Trans- Canada Highway, because the Trans- Canada Highway is a main artery into the city, so it being visually appealing from the road would be appreciated as well,” said McCarrel.
According to McCarrel, adding commercial development will be a welcome addition for many people living in the surrounding communities.
“Right now most people who live in Crestmont and Valley Ridge go to the Crowfoot Plaza, and that is a 15 minute drive, anything closer would be appreciated, I think, because that’s what we’ve heard,” said McCarrel.
Highstreet Calgary is currently undergoing the rezoning process, and construction is expected to start later this year. Currently no announcements have been made in regards to what stores and restaurants will be occupying the new development.