Riaz Mamdani: Repurposing office space is part of the solution

The following excerpt is from the Globe and Mail article “Can millennials save Calgary’s vacancy crisis?” 

Millennials are breathing new life into Calgary’s empty office towers, industry insiders say. But it’s not a return to business as usual.

“We’re battling the storm,” says developer Riaz Mamdani, who has successfully repurposed several empty office buildings into hip new rentals and self-storage space targeting those who can’t or no longer wish to own.

“The market is changing,” says Mr. Mamdani, chief executive officer of Strategic Group, one of Canada’s largest privately held real-estate companies. “Millennials are more interested in renting than owning. We’re creating a lot more purpose-built rentals than ever existed before.”

Office conversions are the hallmark of Strategic Group’s business plan. By the end of 2020, the company expects to have reduced its Alberta office space by 18 per cent and increased its residential units by 53 per cent.

It’s a business strategy necessitated out of “desperation,” says Mr. Mamdani, because the company invested in commercial real estate prior to the collapse of the energy industry that devastated Alberta and Calgary, the headquarter capital of the oil sector…

Read the rest at the Globe and Mail.

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Give warmth this holiday season

Strategic Group is once again partnering with the Project Warmth Society of Alberta to ensure no one is without warm cloths this winter. Project Warmth is a registered charitable association that supplies warm clothing, outerwear and blankets to several shelters, individuals and families in need throughout the city of Calgary and surrounding area. Since it began operations, Project Warmth has given over one million articles of warm clothing to people in need!

From December 2 to 27, we are inviting everyone to drop off new and gently-used winter clothing in the lobbies of our participating buildings including the Avenida Food Hall and Fresh Market and Store & Go. If you live in a Strategic Group residential building such as Marda and Cube, you can make a donation without leaving your home!

Some of the items most in need include:

  • Winter jackets
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Toques
  • Mittens
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Scarves
  • Snow pants
  • Sweaters
  • Warm clothes for women and children

Project Warmth at Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market – December 2 – 27
Visit the Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market for all your holiday shopping needs and get into the spirit of giving at the same time! Bring a warm clothing donation with you every time you visit and give warmth this holiday season.

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Strategic Group receives Mayor’s Urban Design Award for Cube

The first office-to-residential repurposing project in Calgary has won a Mayor’s Urban Design Award (MUDA) for Innovative Housing. Strategic Group’s Cube building is a mixed-use multifamily tower in the Beltline that was previously an aging and empty office space.

The panel of expert jurors selected Cube against 13 other unique housing projects that were completed over the last year. The award acknowledges Strategic Group’s leadership in repurposing while also honouring the unique design of the building which contributes to the livability and beauty of Calgary.

“With Cube, we know we have a successful project on our hands,” said Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani. “Repurposing a building like this is a smart opportunity for our business, our economy, our environment, and our local community. Recognition from our peers, urban designers, and The City of Calgary, is an honour and validation for our exceptionally creative and unconventional team.”

Cube moved from concept to reality in just over a year as teams worked to transform a dated office building into the colourful and modern rental residential community it is today. Residents began moving into Cube even before the project was completed, and it is now fully leased.

MUDA recognizes the contribution of Calgary urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and artists to the livability of our city. They leave a legacy of high calibre urban design, buildings and public spaces, and help set the standard for future municipal planning and development. Click here to learn more about MUDA and the 2019 nominees.

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