BY DAVID PARKER FOR THE CALGARY HERALD APRIL 22, 2011
A couple of years ago a number of Calgary architectural firms were feeling the pinch and having to downsize, but now there seems to be a resurgence of projects and firms are ramping up again. A good example is BKDI Architects.
Senior partner and founder Peter Burgener says the amount of work on his books has meant the firm has been re-hiring and it now has a complement of 58 busy staff working on a variety of interesting projects.
One that will have a significant impact on this city's retail scene is Hanson Square, currently under construction on the southwest corner of 8th Street and 17th Avenue S.W. on the site of the former Esso station.
A four-storey building, it will have 50,000 square feet of new retail over the first two floors and step back to smaller floor plates that offer 40,000 square feet of office space.
The design for majority partner and development manager Western Securities shows a corner entrance that opens to an escalator to the second floor which will be fully occupied by a Best Buy store. It features a dedicated customer elevator down to the four levels of underground parking for 200 vehicles.
Best Buy, plus main floor retail that is expected to be home to a classy restaurant and shops, will help keep this part of Uptown 17th a vibrant pedestrian area.
BKDI is also responsible for the master plan to remerchandise Brentwood Village Shopping Centre for its client RioCan REIT, where a start has been made on the north side to make way for the University City condominium complex. The big hole in the adjacent parking lot will soon be filled with a new building to house the Jameson Pub as the building it is in has to be torn down to make way for the towers.
BKDI staffs are also working with Bri-mor Developments on its mixeduse three-storey office tower and three singlestorey retail buildings on 85th Street S.W., a new sales centre for First Calgary Financial, and a new office building for Volker Stevin Contracting.
And BKDI, in association with the Toronto office of B+H Architects, is responsible for the major re-vitalization that is underway for Oxford Properties Group's Bow Valley Square, while de-malling Deer Valley Shopping Centre for First Capital Realty.
BKDI continues with ongoing projects for Hopewell and Bordeaux Development's Harmony community and is the master planning consultant for the Calgary Stampede.
Busy times again - and I understand that after several years of planning in joint venture with Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto, BKDI has finally received its development permit for the one million square feet of mixed use City Centre development, covering the entire block east of Canterra Towers that will include a residential portion that BKDI is working on in association with James K A Cheng Architects in Vancouver.
I wondered what a retired accountant, amateur rock drummer and ex-innkeeper would be doing to keep the juices flowing so when I caught up with Bob Brown, who with his wife Karen built, ran and then sold Kensington Riverside Inn, I was delighted to find he had become a social entrepreneur.
Brown has launched a new Calgary-based charity called Opportunity to Grow to provide micro-loans to low income women in Central America. He is kickstarting his new venture with a fundraiser featuring internationally renowned author and speaker Wayne Dyer at the Jubilee Auditorium on Tuesday, May 17.
Golder Associates, an employee-owned, global engineering and environmental consulting company, has acquired the Marston group of companies, a full-service mining consultancy specializing in mine planning and geological services for open pit and underground coal, metals, oilsands and industrial mines.
Marston's Calgary office will relocate into Golder's offices on Barlow Trail N.E.
DAVID PARKER APPEARS TUESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. READ HIS COLUMNS ONLINE AT CALGARYHERALD.COM/BUSINESS. HE CAN BE REACHED AT 403-830-4622 OR E-MAIL INFO@DAVIDPARKER.CA
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