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July 01, 2017

Downtown south

Seton is bringing urban living to southern suburbia

Andrea Cox

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Touted as Calgary’s next downtown, the new community of Seton in the city’s deep south is already beginning to hum with life.

“Life in Seton is going to be about easy access to everything,” says Elton Ma, director, commercial at Brookfield Residential. He’s says that has been Brookfield’s vision from the project’s conception, a genesis that initiated close to 20 years ago, when the concept for Seton was born.

“We wanted to be on the leading edge, creating a smarter community in the sense of providing the outlying areas with the types of amenities that you would find in a core situation,” says Ma.

At the end of the day, Seton’s urban district will have 1 million square-feet of retail space that will blossom into a multitude of offerings, from the Superstore (already open) to the Cineplex VIP Theatre — the first ever in Alberta (coming soon).

There will also be High Street type pedestrian friendly stores, adding the pulsing vibe of local offerings — the kind of offerings that create community and foster urban planning success stories.

Residents can expect vendors like Mountain Equipment Co-op and Tim Hortons to join the list of amenities already in place — the list is long for a community that literally is beginning to rise from the ground — Tommyfield Gastro Pub, Starbelly, Shoppers Drug Mart, Save-On Foods and Starbucks are all on scene now.

“At the end of the day Seton will have everything that you would need to satisfy your daily necessities right through to your luxury wants and desires,” says Ma.

The heart and soul of the district will be the Market Street District where the street oriented detail will meld with vertical mixed-used components — condominiums and apartments on the second level above the shops. Here, Brookfield has entwined many beautiful place making sculptures and light displays to add elements of architectural appeal.

Part of Seton’s vision also entails office space in the form of a business park with over 1.5 million square feet of employment space. “We wanted to reverse some of the traffic flow so that people have job opportunities here and don’t have to go downtown everyday,” says Ma.

Seton will have a definite impact on lives of residents of Calgary’s southernmost communities like Auburn Bay, Cranston, New Brighton, McKenzie Towne (all Brookfield communities), Copperfield and Mahogany (both by Hopewell Residential), which are all within a 10-minute drive. This development will likely change the way of life in the whole southern sector of the city.

Certainly the new South Calgary Health Campus will provide a slew of job offerings as well as providing a solid central health amenity for every age group. The Marriot Hotel is also a significant employer in the area. Add to that the new YMCA, which will be one of the largest recreational centres in Calgary with its selection of ice and hockey rinks, pools, fitness areas, theatre space and public library and Seton will be fully self-contained. The YMCA is under construction now and is slated to open in 2018.

The new LRT Greenline connection to downtown and beyond will transform the fabric and texture of the area. “We’d always planned Seton with the future LRT coming online,” says Ma, adding that it will really provide the connectivity to the south end of town, adding to the multi-modal flavour of the community, where driving, walking and biking are all supported.

And, at the fore of environmental design, Seton incorporates a bevy of green features, including solar technology (all of the display lighting is powered from solar power). The hospital, fire hall and business park, are all pursuing LEED certification and the shopping centre has already attained LEED status as a Greenfield project. “Everyone is really doing their part in creating lower carbon foot print building. Tie that all together with a very walkable, multi-modal community design and we think we are really ensuring that we are providing sustainable development,” says Ma.

Seton’s urban district encapsulates 365 acres east of Seton Boulevard S.E. and is bordered by Auburn Bay to the north and Mahogany to the east and Cranston to the west. Upon final build out the community will be home to 3,500 people living in 1,300 multi-family designed homes.

The target market is multi-generational from first time buyers to downsizers and aging in place. The community is slated for assisted living multi-family product and purpose built rental apartment homes. A new high school is opening in September 2018, which will accommodate 1,800 students in grades ten through twelve. “Brookfield’s vision for Seton is to attract a variety of residents and the high school really provides the authenticity to the development,” says Ma.

The first residential offering, Seton Park Place, a four-storey condominium project by Cedarglen Living broke ground in April of 2017. Also coming in is Rohit Communities Calgary with new condos and townhomes

And, Brookfield has recently purchased another 600 acres adjoining Seton’s urban district to the south and plans are in the works to create what will be called Seton, the single family adjunct to Seton’s Urban District. “It will be purely residential and offer another 7,500 single-family homes to the area,” says Ma.

The entire community when finished will be slightly less than 1,000 acres and encapsulate Brookfield’s long-term vision. “We are very excited about Seton. It has been a long-time in the making. Life here is going to be about easy access to everything — people can live closer to where they work, they can shop, they can be entertained and from a health and fitness perspective, it is all here,” says Ma.

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