Large residential projects on the rise in Calgary

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Global economic crisis. Recession. Worldwide financial collapse. With these terms being tossed around by the media so frequently, it seems that the financial world is struggling to survive, and that an individual making any sort of investment is asking to go bankrupt.

Why then are the sights of large residential developments becoming more common in Calgary?

One of these larger residential developments is NEXT, a 132-suite condo project in Bridgeland that broke ground four months ago.

Shane Styles, the sales manager with Bucci Developments, the firm that owns NEXT, said while there certainly is global economic turmoil, it doesn’t change the way his company does business.

“We’ve been building for 53 years; we’ve seen recessions,” Styles said. “In relative terms, these problems may seem large, but they aren’t really that big in terms of things we’ve seen in the past.”

NEXT Development

The NEXT project in the community of Bridgeland is one of many new residential developments on the rise in Calgary.

Photo by: Steve WaldnerBucci Developments isn’t alone in their desire to build in Calgary. In September, the value of Calgary’s building permits was up $387 million, a 68 per cent increase from last year. As well, the value of residential building permits, year-to-date, was $1.7 billion, up 27 per cent from last year.

Susan Thompson, business development manager of real estate with Calgary Economic Development, said new developments in the city are a sign that, despite global crises, the local economy is doing fine.

“[The level of development] speaks to the health of Calgary, everyone sees that Calgary is continuing to grow,” she said. “Calgary is predicting growth, developers want to capitalize on that growth. It takes time to build a building, and developers are anticipating the market will need additional capacity by the time these projects are built.”

Thompson said there were 33 permits this year that were above $10 million; of these, about 20 were for larger residential projects.

Sano Stante, the president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, has been in the real estate business for the past 26 years in Calgary. One can’t look at real estate from a global perspective, he said, and local factors are much more vital when deciding to develop.

“The local economy is strong, and I think that real estate is a local phenomenon, and also a long-term being,” Stante said. “You don’t look so much at minor or short-term fluctuations.”

In the end, Styles said that despite the global worries of the economy, he has yet to see the effects in Calgary.

“Of this moment, [NEXT] is 72 per cent sold,” he said. “In early October, all this stuff has been happening with the Euro debt crisis, and we’ve still sold a ton of homes in the last month. If everyone was freaked out about that kind of thing, they wouldn’t be buying these homes.”

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