Cindy Stephen, For The Calgary Herald
Published On: November 4th, 2016
It could have gone either way. The massive building currently under construction on 16th Avenue N.E. next to Peter’s Drive Inn could have been a hotel. But in the end, Meenaz Rajan and his partners at Marquee Group of Companies decided to build a splendid eight-storey rental apartment building.
“We want to bring an extra touch of hospitality to our apartment rentals. After all, these are people’s homes and we want them to have a more meaningful at-home experience,” says Rajan, an embedded Calgarian with years of experience in both apartment rentals and hotels.
Marquee Group owns and operates hotel properties in Ontario and B.C. With the coming of Marquee on 16th, this is the first foray for the company into new construction rental apartments.
“The location is perfect for a rental community,” Rajan emphasizes. “It’s in Crescent Heights, one of Calgary’s most desired neighbourhoods. The access to downtown is outstanding via the new bridge. It’s near Deerfoot Trail, it’s close to the university (of Calgary), to SAIT and the hospitals – really is an unbelievable location.”
Rajan notes that the City of Calgary has been trying to encourage development of the corridor along 16th Avenue for years.
“It has the potential to be a major urban corridor,” he says.
Collier’s International is in charge of leasing the building, and senior associate Nick Preston calls Marquee on 16th a “rare offering.”
“The thoughtful design of the main floor units with high ceilings and excellent frontage will attract a variety of users. Marquee will be an energetic hub for residents of the building and the neighbourhood,” Preston notes.
Collier’s hopes to start leasing suites and the commercial space on the ground floor in November. Marquee Group would love to see a high end coffee shop, a wine shop, a health-food grocer and perhaps a fitness studio set up shop.
Rajan says new city zoning bylaws now mandate mixed-use space in new buildings and he declares that it’s a “good decision.”
“We want to create a community there so that downstairs has amenities for our guests and also for the area,” he says. Landscaped patios on the second and seventh floors will have barbecues and fire pits to further promote a sense of community in the building.
The residential portion of Marquee on 16th will feature 138 one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den and two-bedroom suites with high end finishings. Quartz countertops, closet organizers, stainless-steel appliances and in-suite laundry, roller shades and other amenities such as bike storage will appeal to Marquee’s target demographic – young urban professionals.
“We designed this building to appeal to 25-to 40-year old professionals who could buy a new home but would rather rent,” Rajan says. “Young adults don’t want to commit to buying. Their priorities do not include home ownership. They want a flexible lifestyle. They might work here for three years then spend a year travelling. Renting just makes sense for them and a lot of people their age.”
Rents will vary according to where the suites are located. One bedrooms will start at $ 1,000 a month with two-bedroom units on higher floors with city views fetching around $ 2,000 a month.
On-site management will ensure Marquee’s tenants, or “guests”, as Rajan calls them, receive hospitality-level service.
He says Marquee has no hesitation about jumping into the rental market even now as vacancy rates threaten to reach double digits.
“I’m a long-term believer in Calgary. I’ve been here since 1979 and there’s always an uptick after a down turn. It sounds obvious, but most people can’t see out of the hole we are in,” Rajan says.
“Right now, some people don’t want to buy. They’re saying, let’s rent and see. People need at least $ 30,000 for a down payment – that’s not easily saved up. So it’s kind of a stepping stone to come here and stay for three or five years and save some money and see how the economy goes before the jump into buying.”
What You Need to Know:
Building: Marquee on 16th
Address: 16th Avenue N.E. and Centre A Street N.
Developer: Marquee Group of Companies
Leasing: Collier’s International
Rental Rates: From $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 plus parking
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