Olds housing moves ahead ‘very slowly’

The developer behind a potential 300-unit residential complex above ground-floor shops in Olds is not rushing ahead with the project.

The developer behind a potential 300-unit residential complex above ground-floor shops in Olds is not rushing ahead with the project.

Calgary’s Carl Oram said he will continue working on the development, but a sluggish economy means it will likely be several years before the conditions are right to start constructing apartments.

Olds council cleared the way for the project on the west side of town earlier this month when it approved zoning changes to create a mixed-use district in the 46th Street and Hwy 27 area.

Oram said the project is still in the early stages.

A master plan must be created for the area and architectural drawings prepared of the proposed complex.

“It’s a big project. It’s something we would take very slowly.”

He’s looking at next spring as a rough target for putting in roads and services. Oram and another landowner have 17 acres to develop.

While the idea of combining retail with living spaces above is new to Olds, it is common in other jurisdictions.

Calgary’s Garrison Woods development is an example of the type of development being considered.

Apartments could range from 550-square-foot studio units, an idea for Olds College students, to larger two-bedroom units in the 1,000-square-foot range.

Oram is confident there is a market for this kind of project in Olds and said finding retail tenants will not be a problem.

The residential units would be built in phases as the market demanded.

The project would be located near Cornerstore Shopping Centre, a commercial power centre that includes a Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Sobeys, Ramada Inn and a number of other large businesses.

Leaside Development Corp. is developing a residential subdivision called Cornerstone Village south and west of the commercial area.

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