Private garages to house four-wheeled toys are all the rage in the luxury condo market. Photo courtesy Concord Pacific.

The sky’s the limit

Posh three- to eight-car private garages, $270,000 kitchens, expansive and multi-leveled outdoor living spaces, private elevators, 24-hour concierge service, plus million-dollar, park or water views — it’s all typical of Calgary’s new luxury condo market.

Today’s luxury is all about “location, location, location,” spread across established inner-city neighbourhoods from Eau Claire’s The Concord (where a sub-penthouse of 3,800 square feet, plus an 1,800-square-foot outdoor terrace, sold for $7 million – the priciest in the city per square foot), to the Residences of King Edward in Marda Loop’s arts and culture district (where a 3,600-square-foot unit sold for more than $3 million), to Park Point’s $1 million-plus penthouses overlooking the Beltline’s historic Central Memorial Park.

And while there are luxury condo projects in Calgary’s suburbs, most buyers are moving from large luxury suburban homes into the downtown core.

“It’s a trend happening in every large city,” said Grant Murray, senior vice-president sales for Concord Pacific, The Concord’s Vancouver-based developer. “The mostly Baby Boomers — who are, or are going to be, empty-nesters — are giving up big homes and moving closer to downtown because they are tired of commuting.”

And those buyers, while based in Calgary, have others homes in places like Phoenix or Palm Springs.

What they don’t want, Murray says, is to give up luxury or part with all their accumulated possessions, which is why the majority of Concord’s units are 2,000 square feet and up, with the top offerings including up to eight-car private garages (on a hoist system), and ultra-deluxe Porsche Design kitchens.

The Concord’s first phase —14 storeys with 105 units — is under construction and 70 per cent sold, including the $7-million sub-penthouse and $3-million, two-storey villa. Remaining units start at $950,000, and go as high as $7.5 million for the two penthouses. A second 17-storey tower of 113 units will launch either this fall or next spring.

“The mostly Baby Boomers — who are, or are going to be, empty-nesters — are giving up big homes and moving closer to downtown because they are tired of commuting.” – Grant Murray, Concord Pacific

Designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, The Concord’s amenities include a courtyard water garden that converts into a skating rink in winter (complete with Zamboni), private elevators for many units, plus unique state-of-the art flood protection – though Calgary’s 2013 flood actually missed the property.

The Concord is also adjacent to the site of the $7.9-million West Eau Claire Park project along the Bow River, being built between the Peace Bridge and 1st Ave. SW.

Amenity-rich surroundings are key to luxury condo living.

David Ford, sales and marketing lead for Rockwood Custom Homes’ Residences of King Edward, says buyers in the 19-unit boutique project – where there are only seven units left unsold – have mostly come from single-family homes in surrounding inner-city neighbourhoods.

“They are resizing, not downsizing,” he said. “They know there was unused space in their 5,000-square-foot homes, and really want about 2,000 square feet-plus now, but they don’t want to sacrifice living and entertaining space. They want a large kitchen, dining room, master bedroom and ensuite.”

They also want a walkable community close to amenities and services. In the case of the Residences of King Edward, those amenities include the new cSPACE arts hub in the historic King Edward School.

Prices started at $950,000, with most units priced between $1 million and $2 million. Occupancy is expected summer 2019.

Qualex-Landmark’s 290-unit Park Point project (70 per cent sold and currently under construction) overlooking the two-hectare Central Memorial Park has European luxury features and 9,000 square feet of amenity space that includes a Zen terrace, and yoga and Pilates deck overlooking the lush park. Only one of the four available penthouse and sub-penthouse units, which were priced from $1.1 million to $1.4 million, remains unsold.

For the first time in Calgary, the Vancouver-based company also provided combined side-by-side suite options priced over $1 million.

Most penthouses and the combined suites sold within two months of sales launch.

According to Qualex-Landmark vice-president of planning and marketing Parham Mahboubi, the key has been both the established neighbourhood location and the fact that park-front real estate retains its value over time.

“In many ways, (it’s) the new waterfront,” he said.

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