Housing markets in communities outside Calgary are following a similar pattern to the city, with sales down sharply and prices faring better.

 

The Calgary Real Estate Board says first-quarter MLS sales in surrounding areas were down 23 per cent from a year ago, at 911 transactions. The average sale price dropped by 0.1 per cent to $468,377. The median price was unchanged at $400,000.

 

In Calgary, sales were down 33 per cent in the first quarter, to 3,778. The average sale price was off 2.4 per cent to $467,468 while the median price dropped by 1.2 per cent to $420,000.

 

While city of Calgary prices have started to retract, on aggregate, surrounding area prices have remained relatively stable.

 

The report said improved supply in the city and surrounding areas will provide consumers with more choices in the second quarter.

 

The surrounding areas have not seen the same impact on pricing as in the city.

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Re/Max has pulled back its price outlook for the Calgary housing market, now anticipating a 2 per cent drop for the average residential property instead of the 3 per cent increase it originally forecast for 2015.

The realtor group’s Spring Market Trends Report, released Friday, predicts the average sale price will fall to $474,251 after sales declined in the first quarter.

The report said sales in Calgary should rise once buyers believe oil prices have stabilized and are showing signs of recovery. Decreased new home starts are also expected to stabilize growing inventory levels on the resale market, it said.

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One of Calgary’s busiest downtown intersections is about to undergo a transformation that will make a bold statement through great design and space availability.

 

The former Salvation Army building at 5th Avenue and 1st Street S.E. is to make way for a gleaming 12-storey office tower that will tie in nicely to the adjacent 1914 red brick North-West Travellers Building and Firehall No. 1 at 6th Avenue.

 

Les Mabbott, an Edmonton developer with a 30-year track record of successful projects in that city as president, CEO and principal owner of LPI Corp., will build the project.

 

Mabbott said he is excited about his first Calgary office project that’s unique opportunity to offer top-quality space for companies with smaller needs.

 

Bow Professional Centre will be located across from the park space where the elegantly giant Family of Man statues resides. It’s a short walk to LRT stations and connected by the Plus-15 system to the Telus Building and Delta Bow Valley Hotel and its impressive neighbour, the Bow tower, on the west side.

 

Kasian Architects has designed the roughly 60,000-square-foot tower on a setback pedestal to improve the pedestrian realm, giving prominence and relief to the building entries and generally improving both pedestrian and vehicular safety on the bustling corner. It’s expected the main floor will attract a quality restaurant to make use of a patio area under the walkway to the Bow tower. The cut back will also provide a large outdoor patio onto 5th Avenue.

 

A gathering space for tenants and visitors — including a rooftop garden, landscaped with a pergola and bench seating — is also being considered.

 

The transparent, full-glass curtain wall surrounds three sides while the transition space to the North-West Travellers has a strong ground-to-top brick facade, in consideration of the City of Calgary heritage building.

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Now that the province’s southwest ring road has kickstarted plans to build out Calgary’s deep southwest corner, a developer is bidding to begin home construction there before the highway is complete.

Residents below Fish Creek Park have long pleaded for an easier commute, with 37th Street, Macleod Trail and Highway 22X as their over-clogged escape routes.

They’ve applauded the Alberta government’s plans to complete the ring road, as soon as 2020.

But while people in communities like Bridlewood and Evergreen feel their existing roads can’t handle more cars, a land company believes a new suburban neighbourhood can start rising on empty fields to the west before the transportation network gets expanded.

After waiting years for a ring road deal to unlock their edge land’s development potential, Dream Development and Qualico have paid the city to launch an area structure plan for the 789-hectare swath known as Providence. It spans from the ring road corridor to 85th Street S.W., and from the Tsuu T’ina reserve boundary at 146th Avenue to 22X.

Most of the site needs massive water and sewage system extensions, and will likely have to wait until the ring highway’s completion. But the segment at the northeast corner can feed off existing pipes, said Dream Development.

Traffic projects show that 37th Street’s western turn-off south of Fish Creek can handle the initial phases. The ring road would massively add road capacity during build-out.

It’s unclear whether council will allow more fast-tracked edge development. In the last year, councillors agreed to open up lands in Calgary’s far northeast corner and above Coventry Hills because developers said they were running short of ready-to-build lots.

The city will show off early concepts for Providence at a public session Thursday evening at the South Fish Creek Recreation Centre.

There, officials are likely to hear plenty from southwest residents wary of adding even more cars or LRT passengers to their morning and squeezes.

There’s already a five- to 10-minute wait at traffic lights to get onto 37th, said Alia Vanzhov, who lives in Bridlewood and leads the community association.

Even adding show homes west of Evergreen will make life harder for residents, she said.

Developers have set aside their lands closest to the ring road corridor for office, retail and light development. Eventually, Providence will be home to 35,000 people — a “small kind of city” served by a bus-only transitway on 162nd Street S.W.

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