The Stampede expansion plans announced at the end of June bring certainty to Victoria Park for the first time in years, says developer Mike Giammarco.
The issue of expanding the Stampede grounds into the neighbourhoods to the north and east goes back to 1968. The current plan is the result of four years of consultation involving all stakeholders, he adds.
The plans set out expansion of the Roundup Centre and addition of an open space and youth campus extending to 3rd Street and 12th Avenue S.E. They’re endorsed by the community, the property owners, the Stampede and the business revitalization zone. The project’s pricetag is expected to top $100 million.
Giammarco owns two heritage buildings in Victoria Park at the edge of the expansion zone. Fairey Terrace is in the northwest corner of 3rd Street and 12th Avenue S.E. and Dafoe Terrace is kittycorner on the southeast of the intersection.
|David Lazarowych, Business Edge|
|Developer Mike Giammarco says Stampede expansion will be a win-win situation for the terraces.|
Dafoe Terrace is just inside the expansion zone but the heritage designation means it can’t be expropriated or torn down.
But the edges of the Stampede zone should blend into adjacent uses and Giammarco calls that a win-win situation. The Stampede showcases Calgary’s history and the two former terrace apartment buildings are part of that history.
Giammarco bought the Dafoe Terrace in 1978 and Fairey Terrace in 1981. “What attracted me to (Dafoe Terrace) was its age. It was built in 1902 and my grandfather was born in 1902.” He applied to the province for the heritage resource designation in 1986, citing the British-style terrace construction and the Victorian architecture as aspects to be preserved.
Terrace is more than a Briticism for apartment building. The buildings have only a small setback from the street, allowing for involvement in the community street life. They originally had multiple front doors instead of one lobby. Each front door gave access to two stairways separated by a brick firewall, with one apartment at each landing of each stairway.
The three-storey, three-door Dafoe Terrace had 18 apartments when it went up 99 years ago. Fairey Terrace was built a few years later with 12 units on two storeys.
The buildings have the solid look of Victorian red brick with the Calgarian touch of sandstone trim. They remind one of the city’s nickname at the turn of the last century, the Sandstone City. The two terrace buildings have something in common with other structures in the neighbourhood, such as the sandstone Victoria Community School building and the old Customs Examining Ware-house.
The Fairey building was named for its builder, Frank Fairey, an early contractor who built several other structures in the area. Those included the recently restored Louise Block, built in 1910 at 2nd Street and 11th Avenue S.E., named for the builder’s wife.
Fairey Terrace is completely renovated with tenants including a fitness centre, hair salon and a magazine.
Dafoe Terrace is now being renovated. It has a restaurant at the north end and some apartment units remain in the mix.
Talking of the future of Victoria Park, Giammarco touches again on its history. Macleod Trail divides the neighbourhood, and new development first started in the western half.
Victoria Park should be integrated with East Village, north of the tracks, which would require the CPR to be onside, he says.
The area originated as a CPR neighbourhood, subdivided a few years after the railway arrived in Calgary in 1883.
Calgary’s downtown office vacancy rate edged ahead in the second quarter, rising to 10.2 per cent from 10 per cent, says CB Richard Ellis Alberta Ltd.
The amount of sublease space on the market is up but headlease space is down, says Mike Gigliuk, research director for the firm’s office here.
Calgary is doing well compared to the rest of the country. Edmonton and Montreal are ahead of Calgary in suburban office space absorption and Calgary is ahead in downtown office absorption for the year so far, he adds.
The suburban office vacancy rate in Calgary is also up to 10.96 per cent from 9.24 per cent at the end of the first quarter, says the CB Richard Ellis report.
CB Richard Ellis also cited a national office vacancy rate of nine per cent, up from 8.4 per cent in the first quarter.
The firm’s national numbers show vacancy rate drops in Edmonton, the technology triangle of Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge, Ont., and Montreal. In addition to Calgary, vacancies rose in Ottawa, Toronto, London, Ont., and Vancouver.
J.J. Barnicke Calgary Ltd. reports the suburban vacancy rate at nine per cent, a drop from 10.4 per cent at the end of March. Vacancies in the Beltline dropped to 7.9 per cent from 8.7 per cent. Barnicke’s figures also show suburban headlease vacancies down and sublease vacancies up, and the same pattern in the Beltline.
CB Richard Ellis says the downtown market cooling was mostly due to the energy sector’s rationalizing space needs.
Gigliuk adds that some oil and gas companies leased extra space to avoid moving again if they grew. In the meantime, they are subleasing what they don’t need. In the suburbs, cost-conscious smaller high-tech companies are hanging in.
The high sublease vacancy rate tempers rent inflation by landlords, he adds.
For the year to date, Calgary is only one of three major suburban office markets with positive absorption
Montreal and Edmonton are the other positive absorption cities at 568,580 and 193,924 sq. ft. Calgary is at 37,771 sq. ft.