By Mario Toneguzzi
Calgary-based Royop, a commercial development and property management company, has started construction of its first phase of the regional development Township which will include initially about 300,000 square feet of retail space.
And the developer has already lined up an impressive list of retailers for the project’s first phase, a $125-million mixed-use development in the deep south of Calgary, which spans 60 acres and will include 1.5 million square feet of retail, office, residential, hospitality, entertainment and food and beverage space.
“Township will be a complete community with a heavy focus on celebrating local businesses, providing everything a Calgarian would want in one place. It’s not just a spot to shop, but a hub where you’ll want to try the latest in boutique fitness or catch up with friends at your favourite craft brewery,” said Jeremy Thal, Royop’s president and CEO. “From pop-up farmers’ markets in the summer to outdoor public skating rinks in the winter, we’ll be bringing the community to life all year long.”
Thal revealed to Retail Insider the following retailers and businesses who have signed up for space at the new Township development: a traditional Sobeys grocery store, 45,000 square feet; Bed Bath & Beyond, 26,000 square feet; buybuy BABY, 17,000 square feet; Winners, 26,000 square feet; BrightPath Child Care & Daycare Centre, 20,000 square feet.
Thal said there will also be a Canadian Brewhouse, a Starbucks, and an A&W and more than 200,000 square feet of other space is committed to negotiated offers to lease or letters of intent.
“You start with the anchor tenants which we’ve done and then we start to bring in all the smaller concepts and local businesses, which we are working on now. Round two of leasing,” explained Thal.
Construction has started with Ledcor the general contractor. Businesses are expected to open in the Spring of 2021.
Township is located at Macleod Trail and 210th Avenue Southeast, near Highway 22X and the Ring Road which is under construction. It’s in an area that has seen tremendous population growth in recent years with more to come in the near future.
Trevor Thomas, Vice President of retail for JLL, which is leasing the Township retail project, said the location is ideal due to its accessibility off of Macleod Trail and the Ring Road when it is completed.
“When the Ring Road is completed, it’s just going to open up the market to that much more people,” he said. “The accessibility is important. But what we’re doing here with Township . . . is we’re really creating something never seen in Calgary before. It’s not just your typical power centre. This shopping centre really is going to be the definition of mixed-use.
“We’ve got the retail. We will have office. We will have residential. We will have the entertainment factor. But aside from that we’ll also have the public realm where there’s going to be a calendar of events which is going to be drawing people to Township on a regular basis . . . This is really going to be the epicentre for south Calgary and everything we’ve seen, and everything that Royop has provided us with drawings and plans, it’s really shaping up to be that destination.”
The project will also feature larger-than-life art installations and a unique combination of services and community spaces featuring immersive year-round programming with core and experiential shopping.
“We really want to create a community where people of all ages can come together and experience something new each and every time and redefine a modern community,” said Thal.
He said Royop is back to the drawing board currently to determine how the rest of the project will unfold. The company will be looking for residential partners towards the end of this year.
“We could see phase two commence construction probably the summer 2021,” he said, adding the project will likely include a 40,000-square-foot professional building.
“There’s demand for seniors (housing). There’s demand for condos. There’s demand for purpose-built rentals. There’s demand for towns (townhomes). Add to the whole idea of creating a township.”
Royop’s portfolio includes 75 Alberta properties in Calgary, Cochrane, Lethbridge, Strathmore, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Edmonton, Airdrie, and Fort McMurray.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.