Dream Unlimited takes a major step toward the realization of the long-awaited Alpine Park in Calgary, Alberta, with the recent groundbreaking on the $2.5 billion master-planned community. The mixed-use greenfield development, the first phase of which will span 476 acres, is a next-generation project that will help define the new urbanism movement in the Canadian city.
Alpine Park has been an exceptionally long time coming, as Dream began culling the land for the project, located in suburban Calgary’s Providence area, since 1997. Recently, a major piece of the puzzle fell into place, in the form of a vital component of infrastructure. The Government of Alberta awarded the construction contract for the final segment of the $2.2 billion Calgary Ring Road to Calgary Safelink Partners in June, paving the way for commencement of the transformative Alpine Park.
Envisioned with the assistance of architecture firm HDR/Calthorpe and landscape designer Civitas Inc., Alpine Park will bring a new concept to Calgary’s suburbs, with its focus on walkability. The initial 136-acre segment of the first phase of the development will feature nearly 1,300 residential units for roughly 3,000 people, nearly all of whom will live within an 8-minute walk of the Village Centre, the 10-acre, 120,000-square-foot retail showpiece that will serve as the heart of the community.
Dream has tapped Calbridge Homes, Cardel Homes, Genesis Builders and Homes by Dream to serve as residential building partners at Alpine Park. The initial phase of the project will take place over a five-year period, with the first offerings launching in 2021. At full build-out, which will occur over 15 years, the development will span 4,400 acres with 40,000 housing units to accommodate 100,000 residents.
Housing demand of tomorrow
Calgary, Canada’s top energy market, was already contending with the oil market crash of early March when COVID-19 took hold just weeks later and altered projections for many local industries, including housing. Population is strongly tied to housing demand in metropolitan Calgary and pandemic-related restrictions will significantly dampen many of the key sources of population growth—temporarily. “Natural population growth and intraprovincial migration into the Calgary area will likely remain net-positive, but reduced immigration and interprovincial migration will result in a reduction in demand for new housing units, particularly in 2020,” according to a summer 2020 special report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
And the same dynamics apply to the rental housing market. According to the CMHC report, “Net migration, from all sources, has historically been a key driver of population growth and rental demand in the Calgary CMA. Near-term immigration and interprovincial migration will be negatively impacted by the pandemic. This will result in significantly reduced rental demand.” On the upside, however, the report concludes that as the virus is overcome, cities will bounce back. And when the rebound occurs, Dream will be well prepared to accommodate the resurgence in demand; the company owns an additional 1,600 acres in the Providence area of Calgary.