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Strategic Group opens Alberta’s largest office-to-residential repurposed building in Edmonton

Today, Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani joined Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson to officially open e11even, the largest office-turned-residential rental building in Alberta. Two years ago, the building was completely vacant and aging office space. Today, it has become 177 new rental residences in the heart of downtown Edmonton.

Transforming underused office space into homes for Edmontonians is a creative and unconventional response to Edmonton’s significant office vacancy rate. In contrast, the market is seeing a growing demand for new, high quality rental apartments. Repurposing projects take empty office space off the market while replacing it with more active, revenue-generating uses.

“Repurposing simply makes good sense,” said Mr. Mamdani. “While projects of this nature are complicated and risky, e11even is a success.”

“We see repurposing underused office space into high quality residential rental as a smart opportunity for our business, our economy, our environment, and our local community,” continued Mr. Mamdani. “For example, a downtown repurposing project like this becomes an economic and community multiplier. More people living downtown attract more businesses which, in turn, draw more people.”

By repurposing an existing building rather than demolishing it to build something new, Strategic Group saved over 18,000 tons of material from going to Edmonton landfills. The repurposed building is also constructed to meet Built Green Canada environmental standards.

“I would like to congratulate and acknowledge Strategic Group’s innovation and leadership in repurposing this commercial building,” said Mayor Iveson. “Saving thousands of tons of waste from going to the landfill while adding critical green housing options for Edmontonians is a great accomplishment.”

“The City of Edmonton was an excellent partner on this project and granted a complicated development approval in record time,” added Mr. Mamdani.

New residents began moving into e11even in September. It is just steps away from Jasper Avenue in the heart of Edmonton’s vibrant downtown and adjacent to the unparalleled river valley. It features urban design style, with chef-inspired kitchens embellished with stone countertops, sleek pendant island lighting, and soft close cabinetry all within spacious and bright open-concept residences.

“We are leaders in repurposing projects in Alberta,” said Mr. Mamdani. “It is exciting to see these buildings revitalized as new rental homes for Edmontonians.”

In Edmonton, Strategic Group is also repurposing a 13-storey building on Capital Boulevard. Appropriately named Capital, the former office building will be paired with a new six-storey building and underground parkade. It will be completed in early 2020 and will have 214 residential suites and street level retail. In Calgary, the company’s Cube project was recently completed, and Strategic Group’s iconic Barron Building office-to-residential repurposing project is underway. Strategic Group is also building ONE in Calgary—a 41-storey residential rental building that will be completed in 2020.

Photo above: Mayor of Edmonton Don Iveson and Strategic Group’s CEO Riaz Mamdani.

 

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Strategic Group transforms downtown pit into soaring residential tower

The newest tower to complete Calgary’s skyline has reached its peak. Yesterday, Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani joined community leaders to pour the final concrete on the rooftop of ONE—a 41-storey mixed-used, multi-family rental building in the fast-growing Victoria Park community of Calgary’s Beltline.

For years, Calgarians have traveled past a large pit on the corner of 10th Avenue and 1st Street SE. A remnant of the recession of 2008, the site lay dormant for years until Strategic Group purchased it with plans for development.

“We are very excited to celebrate the topping off of our 41-storey high rise—our largest high rise to date,” said Mr. Mamdani. “This is the culmination of our creative and unconventional approach. We acquired a six-storey, partially completed parkade and hole in the ground that was created well over a decade ago for a failed condo project and turned it into 379 rental residences in a dynamic retail environment.”

With a wide view of the city’s downtown behind him, Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas joined Mr. Mamdani in marking the milestone. When Strategic Group acquired the project in late 2014, it worked closely with The City of Calgary to get the appropriate development permits and zoning changes to allow for the current project.

“ONE represents the entrepreneurialism and resilience of Calgarians,” said Councillor Farkas. “A pit from two recessions past is now becoming a gleaming tower that will be home to hundreds of our citizens. Strategic Group is transforming our community in exciting ways, and I’m happy that The City of Calgary has played a role in making that happen.”

WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT ONE

Current analysis of the Alberta office market shows that the office real estate market will not balance for another 12 to 16 years. Combined with a growing residential rental market, Strategic Group’s business plan includes a pivot toward increasing its residential portfolio by building new residential projects, such as ONE, and repurposing underused office space into residential buildings, such as the recently completed and leased Cube building on the western side of Calgary’s Beltline.

According to Calgary Chamber CEO Sandip Lalli, adapting business strategy is not uncommon in Calgary’s new economy.

“Strategic Group is an excellent example of a Calgary-based business that is thoughtfully responding to our changing economy,” said Dr. Lalli. “Their confidence in the future of Calgary and our business community is infectious, and I’m proud to have Mr. Mamdani and his colleagues be Chamber members.”

ONE is located on the southeast corner of downtown Calgary in the vibrant and diverse Beltline community just blocks from the soon-to-be developed Calgary Event Centre and Cultural and Entertainment District. The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (BNA) is an active participant in advocacy and planning in the community.

“This is exactly the type of development we champion in the Beltline,” said BNA President Peter Oliver. “It’s exciting to see an empty corner be transformed with interactive retail and a vibrant community of residents in a multi-family residential tower like ONE. Strategic Group is a good neighbour in the Beltline, and we’re pleased to see this latest project from them take shape.”

When ONE opens in 2020, residents can expect the following amenities:

  • Luxury lobby with concierge
  • Coffee lounge
  • Party room with demonstration kitchen
  • Commercial-grade fitness facility
  • Podium level terrace with BBQs, fire tables, community garden, and variety of dining and lounging furniture
  • Meeting rooms
  • Sky lounge on the 41st floor
  • Rooftop patio with BBQs, outdoor movie screen, fire tables, and variety of seating for lounge and dining
  • Automated parcel delivery system
  • Bike wash
  • Car wash
  • Dog wash
  • Secure bike storage
  • Secure underground parking

With the completion of the concrete pour, ONE remains on schedule and on budget. It is being built by Strategic Group’s in-house development and building teams. To date, over 291,300 hours of work have gone into building ONE with as many as 160 workers on site on a single day.

ONE construction facts:

  • Cubic meters of concrete: 15,870 (parkade & tower).
  • Reinforcing steel: 1,905 tons
  • Weight of concrete: 27,931 tons
  • Approximately 1,450 truckloads of concrete
  • Approximately 95 days of pouring concrete

Photo: Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas, Aaron Wilson from Calgary Chamber, Tamara Marajh from Beltline Neighbourhoods Association, and Strategic Group CEO Riaz Mamdani atop 41-storeys at ONE.

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A unique vantage point opens up the possibility for innovation – Strategic Group enrols four projects in Built Green’s High Density Renovation Pilot

With a mantra of creating value others can’t by seeing what others don’t, Strategic Group understands the market, their own strengths and opportunities, and makes deliberate decisions about how to be successful in an uncertain world. The company experienced significant gains and successes in 2018 through their creative and nimble approach to business and the real estate industry. In 2019 and beyond, Strategic Group’s growth will be in their multi-family residential rental business: which is linked to their focus on environmentally sustainable building and property management practices.

“As we move forward with our business plan and strategy, we know it makes good economic sense to include environmentally sustainable practices in our work,” says Riaz Mamdani, Strategic Group CEO. “Our tenants and residents, stakeholders and neighbours expect a collaborative approach to environmental action, and together we are making smart and creative choices that limit our collective environmental impact.”

All of Strategic Group’s new construction and office-to-residential repurposing projects earn environmental sustainability certifications, and each of their office buildings are BOMA BEST certified, which indicates excellence in energy and environmental management and performance, along with improvements in commercial real estate.

Four of Strategic Group’s repurposing projects are enrolled in Built Green’s High Density Renovation pilot program—the first company to enrol projects in this new program. Consistent with Built Green’s other sustainable building programs, the High Density Renovation program focuses on the same seven categories for a holistic approach that includes energy & envelope, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and business practices. Compared to the new High Density project program, the main differences in this renovation program affect Energy & Envelope, Materials & Methods, and Waste Management. While program participation is affordable, in select markets, incentives and rebates are available.

“Strategic Group’s business model includes an appreciation for environmental sustainability that is integrated across their operations—they understand the social, human, environmental and economic benefits of sustainability,” says Jenifer Christenson, chief executive officer at Built Green Canada. “They have energy reduction and other conservation, recycling, and environmental initiatives in place that allow the benefits to continue after the build or renovation is complete: tenants and residents have tools to make informed decisions about their consumption habits.”

To read the full article, please visit builtgreencanada.ca.

For more information about the High Density Renovation Pilot and Strategic Group’s role in it, click here.

Above photo: Cube, Calgary, AB, one of Strategic Group’s four repurposing projects.

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