The Orchard project, which features a real orchard between two towers, is more than 50 per cent sold. Courtesy Lamb Development Corp.

Major condo developer is making big investments in the Calgary and Edmonton markets

This year, Brad Lamb will finish one condo project and start construction on another, while purchasing two other substantial parcels of land in Calgary’s downtown core.

To say the Toronto developer, president of Lamb Development Corp., is confident in the city – and Alberta’s real estate future – may be an understatement.

Lamb has been a fixture in the real estate industry for 30 years. His company has more than 20 projects, worth an estimated $2 billion, in various stages of development in five cities – Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.

But it’s Calgary’s market, he says, that is set to explode after the “economic blip” it has been going through. When he acquires the two new land parcels in Calgary, his investment in this city alone will be about $350 million.

His 230-unit, 6th and Tenth project in the Beltline (now 92 per cent sold) will see owners take possession this May.

Lamb’s The Orchard project is more than 50 per cent sold. It’s a twin tower 31-storey development with a real orchard, producing as many as 100,000 apples a year, at its epicentre. Construction is expected to launch within the next six months.

In the meantime, Toronto’s “Condo King,” as he’s often called, is in the middle of negotiations for one parcel of land in Victoria Park and another outside of that neighbourhood, but still inside the city’s central core.

Lamb says his next project will be the most high-end one in Calgary, priced at more than $1,000 per square foot.

They are realizing that the best real estate opportunity in Canada is Calgary first and Edmonton second.

Lamb predicts the worst is over in Calgary and with the relatively small amount of real estate left in the city centre, living in those central areas is going to become very expensive.

“It is going to be the third most expensive city in Canada — and soon,” Lamb predicted.

As an “outsider” developing in Calgary, he says instead of “sitting back and worrying” he sees Calgary’s economic downturn as a time to buy.

Lamb predicts Victoria Park, with its Calgary Municipal Land Corp master plan, which is calling for a cultural and entertainment district, will explode residentially — along with other nearby communities like Kensington and Bridgeland.

“There is no part of central Calgary that is not going to be hot. It is so walkable. It takes me six minutes to walk across the downtown.”

Lamb predicts 2017 will be an “ok year” for condo development, with his company already planning a major sales event in April, something it didn’t do last year.

Looking further out, Lamb forecasts, “2018 will be a good year and 2019 will be a crazy year.”

Lamb also thinks Calgary’s real estate market will be a prime target for foreign buyers, particularly those from China and the Middle East, looking for a safe place to invest.

“They are realizing that the best real estate opportunity in Canada is Calgary first and Edmonton second.”

Lamb also has several projects underway or in development in Edmonton, and has confidence in that city’s future, with plans for more high-rises over the next two decades.

“We are going to be in the province for a long time,” he said.