A Moment of Pride for Calgary’s University District
The stars seem to be in perfect alignment for Calgary’s University District lately. Just last month, they appear to have hit a sweet spot with a record number of university students preferring to live in and around the campus residences despite the fall in rental rates across the city.
Now, the University District, a 200-acre community that offers a variety of housing options, services, amenities and public spaces, has been awarded the distinction of being the largest residential development in Canadian history to earn a Platinum Certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED®-ND).
The LEED® Platinum Certification
The Platinum certification is the highest honor in the country for a commitment towards an environmentally sustainable excellence which is awarded by LEED®, an internationally recognized certification system.
LEED® is administered by the Canada Green Building Council and they award this certification to the construction and operation of green buildings and developments based on a range of principles and practices that reduce the environmental impact.
The Green University District
The University District was awarded the designation for its excellence in location, design and green building. The community plan features functional areas with housing available close to jobs, diverse uses of space, protection of endangered species and ecological communities’ conservation, habitat restoration and long-term conservation management.
The walkable community was designed to be affordable for a range of incomes. The neighborhood includes mixed-use buildings, a community center, a reduced parking footprint, public and recreational spaces throughout the area, tree-lined and shaded streets, access to transit facilities, intentional connection to bike and foot transport pathways and bike storage.
The development conserves water both inside buildings with water-efficient fixtures, and outside, by using native and drought-tolerating greenery in landscaping.
It has also created solutions for activity pollution prevention, solid waste management, storm water management, using recycled content in infrastructure, light pollution reduction, integrated pest management through landscaping and ongoing green education.
Statement from the Proud President and CEO
“Our goal from the very beginning was to create a sustainable and vibrant community that residents felt proud of, and the surrounding communities supported,” said James Robertson, West Campus Development Trust President, and CEO.
“We scrutinized every detail of the community in the planning stages to be certain that we were creating a legacy community that would change the way communities in Calgary and the rest of the country were built in the future.”
“University District offers a complete city life, with diverse housing and office space, abundant retail, plentiful outdoor space and countless community amenities,” Robertson says.
“We see this as one of the most exciting real estate projects in Calgary’s history; a neighborhood for changing values and changing times, with a view to the future.”
Another Alternative for University Students
The West Campus Development Trust is an independently operated, non-profit subsidiary of the University of Calgary that is overseeing the development of the University District, on 200 acres of land west of the University.
A complete slate of amenities will be provided for people living, studying and working on campus and in surrounding communities. This could prove to be another alternative for the students of the University of Calgary who have not been admitted into the campus residence, as it still allows them to attain the complete university experience.
Potential Bad News for Residential Landlords
The Calgary rental market has been suffering for some time now, with the number of vacancies of rental properties at an all-time high. Added to this is the fact that first-year, as well as senior students of the University of Calgary, prefers on-campus residences for a better university experience. This trend is happening despite the fact that landlords have significantly reduced their rental rates.
Landlords, who were hoping for students to turn towards their properties because of their cheaper rents, may be disappointed now that extra residential options within the campus have been created.
But with landowners lowering their rental rates to all-time low rates along with added incentives, students will find it difficult to ignore such attractive off-campus rental prices.