The City of Calgary recently approved a name change for a new Calgary neighbourhood. Previously known as West Campus, the 184 acres of inner-city land belonging to the University of Calgary and administered by its not-for-profit development arm, West Campus Development Trust (WCDT), officially became known as the University District.
“At final build-out,” says Emily Allert-House, communications and marketing lead for the WCDT, “we anticipate that the University District will be home to more than 15,000 people and jobs, and nine million sq. ft. of residential, retail, and office space.” Allert-House feels that the development will give a net benefit to the surrounding communities by “providing a complete slate of amenities for people living, studying, and working” both on campus and in the existing neighbourhoods.
Although not providing student housing in the traditional sense, Allert-House notes that the University District will offer a diverse range of housing options for a broad demographic. “There will be multi-family residential leasehold purchase options for people of all ages and stages of life, from students to young professionals, to empty-nesters.” Allert-House sees the development as a “long-awaited bridge” between the university and the city.
“Currently, we are contemplating design details such as how to incorporate crime-prevention measures through environmental design, how to embed strategies around energy and water conservation in the community, and how to deal with sidewalk maintenance and the desired aim of walkability given that Calgary is a winter city.”
Net revenue earned by the WCDT will be redirected back to the university. “The development has been inspired by the University of Calgary’s bold vision for an urban hub that is connected, sustainable, and vibrant,” adds Allert-House. “Our goal is to build an enviable, globally relevant neighbourhood that fosters healthy and active lifestyles, builds on the character and strengths of the surrounding neighbourhoods, and supports a conscious urban culture.”
Bordered by 32nd Ave. to the north, the University of Calgary campus to the east, 16th Ave. to the south, and Shaganappi Trail to the west, this new community promises to offer wide sidewalks, retail shops, restaurants, a grocery store, and a community centre as well as a four-acre park complete with a farmer’s market, ice skating rink, and pop-up eateries.
Construction is expected to start in 2015.
Photos by: Ailsa Dyson