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June 01, 2016

The Avi advantage

Avi Urban’s big win at the SAMs marks new milestone


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Winning isn’t everything, but it is wonderful to be appreciated. Avi Urban is in the business of developing stylish, well-built and affordable multi-family homes, not collecting accolades. But when you’re the best at what you do, recognition is sure to follow.

Avi Urban won the Grand SAM multi-family builder of the year award in the 2015 SAM Awards that honours the best in Calgary’s housing industry. Avi Urban has produced some of the most intelligently designed, lifestyle-affirming condos and townhomes in Calgary’s most popular communities.

It was a big night for Avi Urban — the multi-family arm of similarly renowned Homes By Avi group — as they also took home the Janine Coughlin Marketing Campaign of the Year for Duke at Mission and Best Town Home from $300,000 to $359,999 for Jasmine E in Willow at Sherwood. 

But beyond the glitz of the gala, Avi Urban has done what few condo developers can, in that they have found success in both inner-city and suburban markets. A thorough understanding of the needs and wants that fit these two disparate markets has been key to their success, but it is their ability to grow and learn along with their buyers that has been their greatest advantage.

“Avi Urban has experienced considerable growth as the need for multi-family (developments) in our market has grown over the past 16 years,” says Avi Urban President Charron Ungar. “Our core philosophy has always been to lead by example, meaning that we set our own bar at the highest level we feel we can achieve. Not all our efforts have been successes, but every community we built, we took away a lesson on how to do it better. I think that with over 20 developments under our belt, we achieved a level of proficiency as a multi-family developer that made us worthy of the recognition.”

Just take a look at the list of current developments Avi Urban is currently offering: Duke at Mission and Juno at Currie Barracks are two of the most compelling inner-city condos around; while Jackson at Walden, Canoe at Auburn Bay and Willow at Sherwood demonstrate their deep understanding of the suburban multi-family market.

All of them are the result of years of listening to the needs of their customers, blending these with the realities of the economy, and then adding their own touch of design brilliance. Ungar believes that this unique approach has given Avi Urban their perch atop the market, and resulted in recognition by the industry and their customers as an innovator and trusted home builder.

He recognizes that getting the Builder of the Year honours is no mean feat. “This honour is special because it is given by our peers in the industry. The Builder of the Year award is very elusive and when it comes your way it tells you and your team that you are doing a great job,” he says.

“That feels good, but it also reaffirms to our customers that we are a recognized professional organization that has garnered the respect of our industry. The award is a well-respected third-party endorsement provided to Avi Urban from the people that know the industry best.”

Buyers have been similarly impressed, making Duke at Mission and Jackson at Walden some of the hottest selling condos in town.

Duke at Mission is going up on the corner of 18th Avenue and Centre Street S.W., right at the border between the popular and historic neighbourhoods of Mission and the Beltline. It will have a total of 47 homes, collecting 43 apartment-style condos and four townhomes in its uniquely W-shaped four-storey building

From attractive price points, to stylish finishes and an unbeatable location in the heart of Mission, Duke’s apartment-style condos and townhomes are decidedly the most urbane choice for a home in the inner-city.

A deciding factor in its design is its wood frame construction. After their previous downtown success at The Block, Avi Urban made the conscious decision to also offer Duke as a wood frame multi-family development.

“We made a conscious choice to use wood, not concrete, when building Duke. Wood gave us the option to create a boutique four-storey building that is modern without the cost and restrictions of concrete construction,” Ungar says.

He adds that using wood allows Duke to feature larger suites than what are commonly offered in concrete buildings, it also allows for greater diversity in floor plans, as Duke offers more than 20 different models to choose from.

Jackson at Walden will feature 150 three-storey townhomes offered in two- and three- bedroom models ranging from 1,150 to 1,450 square-feet. All will have two car tandem garages, and a space for a third car in the driveway. And although it is distinctly a suburban townhome, it will definitely have an urban feel to it.

Jackson — located in the popular southeast community of Walden — takes a page from Avi Urban’s past developments in scope and overall look, but Jackson is also an evolution of original ideas. “At Avi Urban, innovation is always at the top of our must-do list in every development,” Ungar points out. “We drew from our over 20 enormously successful developments to come up with a fresh new take on multi-family living that impacts not just the looks of the condo, but the lifestyle of its residents.” 

“Jackson will feature new materials, colours and a number of new innovations based on feedback from customers. The overall flow and functionality of the floor plans have also been refined and we’ve added as much space as we can in the six models available,” he tells Condo Living.

The diversity of multi-family housing choices is one way to judge the livability of a world-class city and Avi Urban has certainly contributed to raising Calgary’s stature in this regard.

“I believe that as an industry we need to offer the best we can for our market. Not just the best design, but, as builders we need to stand behind our commitment to build great product and deliver what we promise to our homebuyers,” says Ungar — a past president of the CHBA – Calgary. (Now, CHBA – UDI Calgary Association.)

“At Avi Urban we recognize that we need to do our part to live up to the world class reputation of our city by providing world class housing product for our market. Multi-family is still quite a young trend in Calgary, with many cities that have far more experience with the built form than we do, but that doesn’t take away from my belief that Calgary can do it better, and Avi Urban is up for the challenge.”


Fast Facts

Developer: Avi Urban

Project: Duke at Mission; Jackson at Walden

Community: Mission; Walden


Duke – Boutique apartment condos and townhomes

Jackson – three-storey townhomes

Size: Duke – One-bedroom condos from 550 sq. ft., and townhomes from 1,350 sq. ft.

Jackson – 1,150 to 1,450 sq. ft.

Price: Duke starts from $270,000 plus GST; Jackson from the $300,000s plus GST


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