At University District, we are fortunate to celebrate success in 2018, measured by a number of milestones that our team reflects upon and shares with you proudly — our residents, partners and neighbouring communities — as we wrap up the year. The family of builders and retailers, new residents we’ve welcomed, and many more Calgarians, have joined us on a fantastic journey that sets a positive foundation for 2019.
Achieving consistent success this past year has been fueled by the behind-the-scenes efforts of our passionate, innovative and dedicated team at West Campus Development Trust, with mindful planning for the future that starts with a people-first philosophy. From end-to-end, the community has come together because of the engagement, vision, culture and understanding of how we can work together to better the lives of the residents and communities that surround us.
The 2018 milestones resulted from listening, understanding, and applying the feedback we’ve received to help make University District a vibrant and active hub that inspires everyone now and for the future. This community has been built with purpose, focused on how we live our best lives. It presents opportunities to build connections with neighbours and enhance overall well-being no matter what age, ability, or lifestyle.
Our team is eager to share our top favourite moments of the year — milestones that all of you have helped make possible by embracing our vision and approach.
President and CEO, West Campus Development Trust
At the core of University District, one of the values always present and top-of-mind is how to develop relationships with others, from future residents to builders, to the city and the Northwest legacy communities that surround us. It means that our connections are built on trust and respect, and the community has come together because our partners share that value.
This year, we built momentum for the community with each new housing option announced: from the August by Avi Urban debut in Spring to news of the Cambridge Manor state-of-the-art seniors living facility (in partnership with the Brenda Strafford Foundation) to the unveiling of the seniors independent living development called Maple by Truman. We’ve broken ground on all three projects! What’s more, we’ve welcomed the first residents of University District at Brookfield Residential’s The IVY, and Truman’s Noble developments. Recently, we announced Brookfield’s latest project, the Capella, featuring two distinctive and impeccably designed styles: a collection of contemporary condos and a luxurious selection of single-level residences – a unique offering rarely seen in Calgary.
So what does this all mean?
“From the beginning, University District was designed to support people of all ages and life-stages, so we are offering housing options with size, space and flexibility in a more compact form. It’s really creating that urban village, so it’s a key component to not only have multi-family living but also the retail integration. People are interested in a different type of living, where their family can grow with them.”
Communications and Community Engagement Lead
As an age-in-place community, University District offers flexibility for residents to stay and enjoy the benefits of urban living, with ease of accessibility and without having to compromise or wait for development. Our relationships with new retailers brings a new dynamic to community building, where amenities will be available into the second phase of development.
The vision for University District retail district is the heart of the community, the hub where everyone will come together to shop, eat, explore, and social. For 2018, this vision is in arm’s reach as we’re well on our way to building for the near future, with fantastic retail partners like hyper-local small businesses Analog Coffee and Market Wines, and Canadian-based powerhouse brand Alt Hotels by Group Germain Hotels. To end the year off with a bang, we recently announced in partnership with Cineplex to open a VIP Cinemas theatre, one of two Cineplex theatres in the country dedicated exclusively to adult movie-goers.
“The lifestyle offered at U/D is simple. With innovative and premium experiences for everyone in the community and most during the early stages of development, life is easy as soon as you move in. What’s better than moving into a new community with everyday amenities at-the-ready, and within walking or biking distance from home? Community retail is important because it means less commuting and less traffic, and more quality time spent on the things you enjoy most.”
Digital Marketing Specialist
The feedback from the community? Enthusiasm and anticipation for life at University District!
Residents have already planned out their days, from their morning coffees after a leisurely stroll and a quick stop-over for a bottle of wine after work near the University to weekend outings at the theatre and coffee meet-ups. Better yet, on the radar is grocery partner Save-on-Foods to be opened in 2020 – a hub of its own where shoppers tend to trade recipes, see familiar faces or grab a sandwich at the cafe on their way to enjoy an evening at U/D’s urban dog park.
The benefits of parks and play spaces are far-reaching for a community, whether for people to socialize, to be active, or feel like a safe space to walk through during an evening stroll. Part of University District’s master plan incorporates a 12km path system where all quadrants of the community can connect. The very first U/D park opening this past July was a day to remember — the North Pond and Urban Dog Park opened to welcome residents and neighbours, and many Calgarians who were excited to take part in a unique experience.
“The two-acre multi-purpose park space was built so people could get together, meet for a coffee, plan a day out with the dogs, or just enjoy outdoorsy living in an urban neighbourhood. From our engagement sessions and taking a look at exemplary urban villages in North America, we knew that this was highly valued as an amenity for the community. Our park spaces integrated with specific features like the fenced, off-leash areas, show that we appreciate, acknowledge and value what’s needed and wanted for a better lifestyle.”
Senior Development Manager
Since the opening, the park is recognized and used as a local destination that is simply a great gathering place. Its presence in such an early stage of development for the community has really helped new residents embrace the neighbourhood and the outdoors, whether with family and friends, or quick walks to nearby communities and shopping centres.
Planning mindfully has been a part of University District from the beginning — it helps shape the community through innovation, identify opportunities, and find solutions to challenges. As an age-inclusive, multi-family community, U/D was designed for people to be able to enjoy life, including staying active, focusing on their well-being and spending time with loved ones. It’s the reason why the Northwest Commons Park urban themed playground with more than 8,300 square feet of interactive age-inclusive play space was an important amenity incorporated in plans.
The all-purpose recreational area is a unique concept, called a Playcore National Demonstration Site, built to be an inclusive, fair, smart, independent, safe, active and comfortable play space for everyone!
“We were committed to creating a play space that is inclusive, despite abilities or age. Everyone has the urge to play and the Northwest Commons Park doesn’t limit anyone from participating. It’s a great reason for people to stay active, whether or not they have children, and get out into the community to get to know their neighbours. Our common spaces are built so block parties and barbecues, play dates, or a round of flag football can happen at anytime.
The best part about the playground is that it’s wheelchair accessible, features mobility and sensory touch points, and provides easy connections. It’s representative of the overall plan for University District.”
In September we were awarded New Community Development of the year by the Building Industry and Land Development (BILD) Alberta. The annual industry awards is a testament to how University District is a unique, diverse collective of experience, knowledge, values and history that help us create our own new meaning of community.
Through constant engagement with community members, partners, and stakeholders, the community has been built to integrate wants and needs for services and amenities, walkability, accessibility, and connectivity. Listening to this feedback has truly helped us develop long-term, lasting relationships that demonstrate we’re trying to be a good neighbour and provider so you can lead the best life possible in this community.
“U/D is a community like no other and we want everyone who is a part of it to feel that they are helping shape it to be a one-of-a-kind place to visit and call home in Alberta. Winning the award this year isn’t just a proud moment for our team, but it validates the grassroots efforts and values that motivate and drive our residents to be proud ambassadors for us because they were involved.”
Director of Marketing and Communications
From our humble beginnings only five years ago to now, it has been a remarkable journey to take with our team, all of our supporters — builders and partners — the current and future residents of U/D, and the greater NW. Thank you everyone for your collaboration, your trust and your encouragement.
2019 is an exciting look-ahead for University District because there will be more announcements, amenities and residents to welcome. Stay tuned as we prepare for the next phase of our urban village!
Learn about day-to-day life at University District with one of our first residents Sam Lau. Take a read through our first installment of Block Talk, a series that introduces residents and neighbours.
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and a closer look at the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.