Seton is becoming Calgary’s south urban district

10/08/2014

By Marty Hope

Community envisioned as a suburban downtown

Calgary Herald - September 25, 2014

Seton is becoming Calgary’s south urban district

Brookfield Residential An artist’s conception depicts the front entrance to Seton, which will eventually be a trading area of 120,000 people.

So much has been done, and there’s oh so much left to do.

After all, designing and developing a vibrant downtown that will cater to the wants and needs of what will be a trading area of 120,000 people can’t be done overnight.

And so it is with Seton by Brookfield Residential, envisioned as Calgary’s south urban district, says Warren Paulsen, vice-presidential of commercial for Brookfield.

“We will accommodate everything that will make up a downtown — with retail, office space, parks, pathways, a school, a main street and a hospital,” says Paulsen gazing over the first 130,000-square feet of retail space from a sun-splashed cafe table outside of Save-On Foods in the Gateway retail sector. “And we’ve got a lot more coming.”

Hard figures set the size of Seton at 165 hectares. Breaking that down, there will be more than one million square feet of restaurants and pubs, hair salons, food anchors, drug stores, liquor stores, spas, all the major financial institutions, flower shops, gas stations, a City of Calgary multi-services facility, and a multi-screen movie theatre.

Add to that another 1.5-million square feet of office space, that includes a 95,000-square-foot professional medical building now under construction and already more than 60 per cent leased, along with approximately 1,300 multi-family housing units, a seven-acre regional park, a 230,000-square-foot recreation centre, a public library, a high school, and plenty of green space, and, of course, the 10-storey South Health Campus — and you have Seton.

“It’s probably one of the most comprehensive mixed-use developments in North America,” says Paulsen. “The vision was, and still is, for Seton to become Calgary’s true urban district outside of downtown.”

Planning for Seton started in 2000 and four years later, the area structure plan and outline plan had been approved by city council. The sister community of Auburn Bay on the north side of Seton Boulevard started to take shape, then ground was broken for the much-needed and much-anticipated hospital located in Seton.

In addition to providing everything the approximately 3,000 residents of the community would need, Seton will also serve southeast communities including Auburn Bay, Cranston, Mahogany, Heritage Pointe and those who will be living in the recently-approved Rangeview area structure plan region that will be located on land south of Seton. But it will pique interest of thousands of others who will venture up or down Deerfoot Trail to see what the suburban downtown has to offer, making Seton a destination location.

“With more than 12,000 jobs to be created in Seton in the next decade, residents of the nearby area can walk or bike to work and services,” says Paulsen.

Chad McCormick, a partner in TMAC Pub and Restaurant Group, says he was anxious to claim a piece of property in the first retail phase of Seton because he believed in the concept of Seton.

“I know we’re a bit ahead of the population curve, but we wanted to get in, get established, and to be here on the ground floor of growth,” he says among the patrons soaking up the sun on the rooftop patio of Tommyfield Gastro Pub.

TMAC and Brookfield have a history. The company’s Kilt & Caber House doors were open on High Street in Brookfield’s McKenzie Towne in the community’s early days.

“We knew when we built the Kilt & Caber, we were probably three or four years early,” says McCormick. “But the community grew up around it.” Ditto the Seton location. The glass-wrapped pub of 6,600-square feet can seat more than 200 patrons.

“The customer base is great and still growing, we’ve had great support from the area.”

The pub is just a part of the overall vision for Seton, says Paulsen.

“Put it all together, the shops and restaurants, the rec centre, the housing opportunities and you can see the concept of live, work, learn, shop, and play all right here,” he says.

So, stealing a line from the movie Field of Dreams — “if you build it, they will come” — Seton continues to grow in readiness for the population growth of the southeast quadrant of the city.

And 2015 is expected to be a busy one in terms of new amenities with a seniors’ care facility, the 200-room Marriott Hotel, Real Canadian Superstore, Cineplex VIP theatre and the medical office building all expected to open late in the year or early in 2016.

The central boutique region called Market Street will begin to take shape in 2017 and will include some 300 multi-family residences above the retail shops. As well, there will be three hectares flanking the seven-hectare regional park that will accommodate about 1,000 multi-family units.

Seton is located east of the Deerfoot Trail on Seton Boulevard. It has bus service and is on the approved southeast LRT line. A smart growth community, Seton makes use of solar panels to provide parking lot and decorative lighting, has bioswales to assist in filtering surface water from the parking lots, and dedicated bike lanes.

“Seton is coming along,” says Paulsen. “All things being equal, we hope to have it completed by 2021."

 

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