Building Magazine


Calgary will soon boast the first-ever downtown apple orchard

You have to admit, this is definitely thinking outside the box. Or maybe bushel.

An innovative condo development anchored by a one-acre apple orchard is poised to put Calgary on the map in terms of creative city planning. And a survey of Canadians and Americans shows the city is not top of mind when it comes to progressive real estate developments and innovative urban design.

When shown an image of the condo design, including the orchard, 16 per cent of Americans guessed the project will be built in eco-friendly Portland, followed by 11 per cent saying Vancouver and 11 per cent New York City. Calgary ranked 12th, with 4 per cent, barely beating out Boston, which ended up last.

A third of Canadians guessed Vancouver, followed by 21 per cent saying Toronto and 9 per cent NYC. Calgary was in the middle of the pack with 7 per cent. Only 11 per cent of Albertans envisioned the project in Calgary – with their top guesses Vancouver and Portland.

“Calgary has a hard-earned reputation as a hub for a wide range of creative, successful people and businesses,” says Brad Lamb, CEO of Lamb Development Corp. “I hope our project helps showcase the city’s hunger for imaginative design that puts urban lifestyle front and centre.”

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 Americans and Canadians, also found that the two country’s share a common demand for more liveable urban neighbourhoods. 

  • 93 per cent of Canadians and 90 per cent of Americans want more green space downtown;
  • A similar number (93 per cent of Canadians and 91 per cent of Americans) say cities must be more creative with green space;
  • Growing food downtown would be a welcome trend, with 90 per cent of Canadians and 88 per cent of Americans supporting the idea.

Younger people on both sides of the border are more attracted to living downtown, especially if there was ample green space and walkable areas. Of those polled who are 18 to 34, 70 per cent of Canadians and 64 per cent of Americans would choose living downtown as opposed to the suburbs. That rate drops as they get older, with only 48 per cent of Canadians and 41 per cent of Americans 55-plus willing to live in the heart of the city if it meant more green space, walkable areas, and convenience.

“Condo developers must start thinking more courageously when it comes to designing downtown projects,” says Lamb. “City living has so much to offer. Now is the time to start reinventing the way we envision downtown communities, especially the integration of shared green space.”

The Orchard is a planned, two tower condominium project at 5th Street and 12th Avenue in Calgary.  The approximately 61,000-sq.-ft. land parcel will include the two 31 storey buildings separated by a blooming apple orchard featuring two variations of apples. The Orchard will be designed to specific conditions needed to grow and sustain the food source.

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