As the first LEEDⓇ-ND Platinum Certified Neighbourhood development in Alberta and the largest in Canada, University District (U/D) promises great things for northwest Calgary. With the official private and public openings of the U/D Discovery Centre during the week of March 6, many of those great things can now be viewed up-close and hands-on by visitors interested in the development.
Located immediately west of the University of Calgary campus, U/D is a 200-acre mixed-used development that will include various types of residential, retail, commercial and parkland space. The land is owned by the University of Calgary and will be leased to homeowners in a public/private leasing model used at some of the world’s most prestigious universities (including Harvard, Yale and Oxford).
A master plan for the community integrates urban design and green space, retail and office buildings on the High Street (the heart of the community), and pathways for walking and biking.
“University District has been designed to encourage multi-mode travel,” says James Robertson, president and CEO of West Campus Development Trust, the organization overseeing the development for the university. “People won’t be dependent on vehicles to find the amenities they need. Everything is close by – from groceries to other shops, and for many residents, their jobs.” Those jobs may be at one of two hospitals (the Alberta Children’s Hospital and Foothills Medical Centre) or the university, all of which are located nearby.
The Discovery Centre employs an open concept and features a full-scale interactive model of the development complete with touch-screen displays and informative collateral as U/D develops. A coffee and refreshment bar and a “cosy corner” for kids are on hand, as are two new show suites by the development’s builders – Brookfield Residential and Truman.
The openings welcomed many neighbours and visitors to the centre, including Mayor Naheed Nenshi, philanthropist W. Brett Wilson and local media.
The official public opening on March 11, which celebrated all things local, was well attended. Special activities included a Bricksware custom LEGO mosaic station, balloon-art installations and entertainment, lessons in how to be a friend to the environment, terrarium building workshops, live music from local musicians and local food trucks.
“The feel of the event was uplifting, curious and infectious,” Robertson says. “The public attendance was diverse and a reflection of the broad interest from the community. We were thrilled with the end result of both events, and are greatly looking forward for all things to come from U/D continued development as it grows closer to welcoming future residents home.”
The first phase of residential construction is set to start this summer, with new residents moving in by late 2018.