Car-Less Condo Coming to Calgary?

Most residential buildings have at least one parking stall per unit, but a private developer is talking about constructing a condo in Calgary’s East Village with no parking at all.

An emerging trend in major cities is catering to those without a vehicle, this includes condos without parking lots. Something which Calgary may soon see.

While East Village has a focus on creating space for pedestrians, the need for parking is still a priority. “So does that mean that there isn’t a parking need in East Village? Absolutely not, we still have a great need for parking,” said Susan Veres, vice president, marketing and communications with Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC). “In every project we have approved thus far [it] includes parking.”

East Village is trying to be diverse, and the master plan announced by the CMLC in 2009 discusses a pedestrian environment to free people from their cars.

“Are we trying to make it pedestrian focused? Yes. We are focusing on the pedestrian here in East Village to connect people in this community to the downtown core, to free people from their vehicles as much as possible,” said Veres.

A couple of the ways East Village is creating a pedestrian-friendly community is by installing 3.1 metre-wide sidewalks, which is wider than the 1.9 metre-wide city standard sidewalks. “There is a series of interconnected mews, which are a pedestrian only environment, and they cut the blocks of East Village across the entire program of the master plan,” said Veres.

Car2Go has made it easier for Calgarians who don’t own a car to get around when needed. It is a carsharing system that allows people to insert a credit card into a vehicle that is parked anywhere around the city centre and go.

Building a car-less condo isn’t a foreign concept, as they are popping up in other North American cities. For example, Toronto is home to a 42-storey vehicle free tower.

“It is the developers own risk, so by that I am suggesting that the developer should understand their market and who they are marketing to, and if they have confidence that their investment is going to be fruitful then we are going to defer to their expertise, because it is their financial investment not our financial investment,” said Veres.

Even though the idea of building a condo without a parking lot is out in the open, Veres said there is no guarantee it will happen.

“I think that the whole notion of the no-parking condominium development, we should suggest that it is not yet approved by us, so we would need comfort that the developer has done their due diligence and has satisfied themselves that the project would sell,” said Veres. “We would want comfort that there is a buyer for this type of product in Calgary, at the end of the day, we own the land and want to what is best for the community and for East Village overall.”

Three parking lots in East Village will be closing to make room for the new central library. Between now and April 30, 291 parking stalls will be closed by Calgary Parking Authority.

The central library is scheduled to be completed in 2018 at a cost of $245 million. A 700-stall parkade is expected to be built by the parking authority to replace the parking lots that will be closing, and to serve the new library and National Music Centre.

2 thoughts on “Car-Less Condo Coming to Calgary?

  1. It is fine to say you have first time buyers for one project without parking, what happens when this group of millennial mature move to the suburbs with kids. Will buildings like this
    be out of style in ten years, and rentable only as subsidized housing? Or is this in fact a way of increasing such stock thru the back door?

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