Carless condo a go

Calgary city council votes unanimously for East Village development

In a rare move, all 13 members of Calgary’s city council agreed to approve a once-controversial “carless” condo development in the East Village.

Located directly east of the old St. Louis Hotel, N3 is set to include 167 units that developer Knightsbridge Homes says are priced $70,000 less than comparable developments because of the lack of a parkade.

N3 buyers will get a furnished unit, as well as a free bicycle and $500 Car2Go credit.

“Everybody thought we were nuts,” Knightsbridge president Joe Starkman said about the carless development. “There is a market out there for young people; the car just isn’t a priority.”

The idea was sparked by Starkman’s daughter, who travelled between campuses at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and didn’t need a car. Knightsbridge conducted a small survey, chatting with young people throughout the city, and found 25 per cent surveyed were in their 20s and didn’t have a licence, while 50 per cent had a licence but no car.

Starkman noted 652 people have already registered for N3. Now the development has been approved, he expects that number to be closer to 2,000.

The developer is also responsible for the mixed-use 705-unit University City in Brentwood.

N3 – a moniker for New Attitude, New Living, New Vision – will also include a “pedestrian mews system” on either side of the St. Louis Hotel, slated for retail and commercial use in the future allowing easy connection to amenities.

Susan Veres, vice-president of marketing and communications with the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC), was among those at council speaking in favour of the project. CMLC has been responsible for revitalizing the area, which is comprised entirely of multi-family homes. Veres said N3 will help address more affordable offerings in East Village and there’s no age limit.

She added many seniors in the area have expressed interest in N3 as they don’t necessarily have a vehicle and the development is close to many amenities, including a Loblaws grocery store planned a short walk away.

Veres said seniors were also interested in the idea of living among the younger crowd.
“East Village needs to appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers,” she said.

CMLC president Michael Brown added he’s “extremely excited” about the development.

“The East Village master plan vision places enormous emphasis on the pedestrian experience,” he said. “You can see this focus demonstrated across the neighbourhood with pedestrian-only streets, pedestrian bridges, wide sidewalks and public parks designed for resting and visiting. East Village is a neighbourhood for all ages, designed to bring residents together at the street level day and night.”

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