Tenant announcement: Cube retail space home to Sola Salon Studios – Opening soon!

Strategic Group is pleased to welcome Sola Salon Studios into the storefront level of Cube – our first office-to-residential repurposing project now open in the Beltline community of downtown Calgary, located on the corner of 11 Street and 11 Avenue SW.

Sola Salon Studios has 400 locations across North America and is a high-end, fully-equipped salon studio that also provides education, services, and tools needed to help people launch salon businesses of their own. It will be a new and exciting hub of independent stylists empowering each other and the community around them. The business will occupy nearly the full street-level floor of Cube.

Cube is a 7-storey, 51,733 square foot building featuring 65 residential suites. Over 60% of the building is already leased to residents. The Beltline is a vibrant, trendy location close to the downtown core, home to many annual festivals, and rich in amenities. On behalf of everyone at Strategic Group, we are excited to introduce this amazing retailer to Calgarians!

Cube is owned, operated, and managed by Strategic Group. It is located at 1177 11 Ave SW in Calgary, Alberta. For retail leasing inquiries, please contact Ryan de Boer 587.747.5227.

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Strategic Group finds opportunity in empty offices

Where some see an old empty office, Strategic Group sees opportunity.

Cities like Calgary have seen office building vacancy rates as high as 27 per cent in the past few years. Rather than let downtown buildings go unused, developer Strategic Group has been converting them into housing.

“It is definitely a challenging process and takes a lot of planning up front,” explained Ken Toews, senior vice president of development at Strategic.

The process begins by finding a building that is empty or will soon be empty. Then the team must determine if its floor plate will accommodate resident units. Most won’t, noted Toews.

“They are usually too big, or the distances are from the core of the building to the glazing is too long,” he said. “Usually it takes a lot of creative thought to make it work. It takes a lot of time to make the suite layouts work. We could spend three or four months just doing that because if your suite layouts don’t work, you just can’t go forward with the project.”

Once that layouts are completed, the team determines what condition remaining components are in like glazing or structural pieces.

“The mechanical and electrical have pretty well come out of it so you don’t really have to worry about that, but you try to save what you can. Once that is done, you can do a full financial analysis,” Toews said.

The project must also work its way through the city approval process, which has been without issue in Calgary for Strategic. Toews noted city officials have bent over backwards to help make the company’s innovative repurposing projects work.

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Above photo: render of Barron Building as an 11-storey residential building.

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Leading the industry with creative and unconventional thinking to recreate new spaces that thrive

At the cornerstone of our strategy for growth and diversification, are six office-to-residential repurposing projects. Higher than normal vacancy rates in downtown office buildings require creative and unconventional thinking to find the right solution for our economy, community, and environment. Market demand for residential rental is increasing as Alberta’s population continues to grow and consumers turn more to home rental than home ownership. There is a proven demand for new, high quality rental apartment homes in dynamic inner-city communities.

We currently have four amenity-rich, environmentally advanced, and architecturally unique repurposing projects under construction in Calgary and Edmonton – with another two projects in the design stages. Through thoughtful repurposing, we are also supporting the environment and the local community. By choosing to repurpose rather than demolish buildings, our current projects are keeping an estimated 55,965 tons of material from going to landfills in Edmonton and Calgary. With each new residence and retail space in the inner city, we are helping create the vibrant streetscapes that encourage even more growth and vitality downtown.

Not every underused office building is right for repurposing into residential homes. Poor location and challenging floor plates can make certain buildings uneconomical choices for repurposing. However, Strategic Group has the expertise and the right buildings in its portfolio to make repurposing a good choice for underused office buildings. Some of our office-to-residential repurposing projects include Cube and the Barron Building.

Cube is a seven-storey, 51,733 square foot former office building now featuring 65 new rental residences. It is in Calgary’s inner-city Beltline neighbourhood and surrounded by valuable community amenities including a supermarket across the street, a dog park one block away, and the Bow River and downtown just minutes away by foot or bike. With outstanding support from the City of Calgary, we were able to turn the Cube repurposing from idea to occupancy in just over one year.

Strategic Group is proudly bringing the iconic Barron Building back to life with our office-to-residential repurposing in downtown Calgary. When it opened in 1951, it was Calgary’s first high rise at 12 storeys. It marked a significant turning point in the oil and gas industry and was a symbol of Calgary’s economic, social, and political growth. The 85,223 square foot office building is being repurposed into a mixed-use space with retail and 94 rental residences.

Honouring the legacy of the building is an important component of this repurposing project. We will preserve the art deco-styled exterior along with some interior details. Sitting on the corner of 5th Street and 8th Avenue SW, the Barron Building will return to its place of prominence in the heart of downtown Calgary. It will also be the first residential building in Calgary to be connected to Calgary’s famous +15 walkway. The Barron Building is scheduled to open to residents in 2020.

For more information on Strategic Groups office-to-residential repurposing projects, please refer to the 2018 Annual Review.

Above photo: Artist concept of the Barron Building repurposed.

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