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A look back on the transformation of 1800/Missao

“With Manasc Isaac Architects’ help, Strategic Group developed a new vision for 1800, transforming the colourless eyesore into a winsome monument for the Mission neighbourhood.”

Written by Jen Janzen and originally printed in Reimagine Magazine, Winter 2015

As the city of Calgary emerged from the devastation of the 2013 flooding, as debris was cleaned up, electricity restored, and as life once again bustled in the downtown core, it was fitting that the first post-flood development permit the city issued would also facilitate another transformation. The project: redeveloping the 1800 building, a mixed-use structure named for its address (1800 – Fourth St. S.W.). The building is located in the Mission area, south of the downtown core, which was among the places in the city hardest-hit by flood damage.

Thanks to its higher elevation, the 1800 building hadn’t been harmed in the flood. The ground level of the building features several retail rental units, and office spaces fill the floors above, crowned by several floors housing 100 apartment units. Strategic Group, a Calgary based real estate development and property management firm, purchased 1800 – then known as Hillsboro Tower – in 2010. Randy Ferguson, Strategic’s chief operating officer, concedes the original tower wasn’t much to look at. “You would see this tall parking structure, then you’d see a rather dilapidated facade to the south,” he says.

Though the building’s interior was also in need of an update, Ferguson says the exterior was the most urgently warranted fix. The dated brown-and-beige façade edging the retail spaces made the property resemble a run-down strip mall more than a proud member of the up-and-coming Mission district. “Passersby who don’t have a reason to enter the building won’t see the inside, but the entire community sees the exterior. It was dilapidated and uninviting,” Ferguson says.

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