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Strategic Group brings Alberta its first five-storey wood-frame building

Written by: Claire Young, Calgary Herald

Strategic Group will be the first to market with Centro, a purpose-built residential rental building of five storeys with 69 units, with a coffee shop and five work-live units on the ground floor. Tenants will be able to move in Sept. 1 to the building at Centre Street and 20th Avenue N.E.

“We’re pretty excited about being Albert’s first five-storey wood-frame building that will receive occupancy and will be the first one people will be living in as a consequence of our new building code,” says Riaz Mamdani, president of Strategic Group.

The City of Calgary announced in November 2014 that it would accept variances for applications for up to six-storey wood-frame buildings, and that is now building code in the province.

Strategic Group, headquartered in Calgary, owns, manages and develops office, retail and apartment properties across Canada.

“We’re excited about the ability to build higher density, and specifically higher density in the inner city,” Mamdani says. “There is an evolving trend in the major cities involving densification. What five-storey or six-storey wood frame allows us to do is create two real efficiencies that didn’t exist prior to this happening. One is economic and the other is environmental.”

Building taller in wood can be less expensive than concrete, allowing for greater density in a smaller footprint that can ultimately add support for smaller neighbourhood retail or commercial space. Taller projects bring support for better lifestyle for the greater community as well as for tenants, Mamdani says.

“The higher density allows us to create a critical mass for neighbourhood businesses, including businesses that would be in our own project. Lower density uses don’t allow for the amenities that densification does,” he says.

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To celebrate the new development, Strategic Group Team Members and construction crews on the project gathered for a BBQ lunch at the Centro site on May 13. Make sure to watch the video below: