Atlas raises bar for new development
By David Parker, For the Calgary Herald | March 23, 2012
The BMO branch on Macleod Trail is getting bigger and better as it moves just south of its current location across from Chinook Centre.
Michael Evans, president of Atlas Development, came to the rescue after BMO found it was unable to renew its lease. The company was soon able to secure sufficient land and, in a remarkably short time, was able to break ground on Dec. 1 and will have it open for business on April 30.
The new branch will be on land that was purchased from Home Depot, adjacent to another Atlas development at the corner of Macleod Trail and Glenmore Trail, which is home to Canadian Western Bank, Marks, A&W and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Evans credits many things for getting the branch designed, approved and built within a five-month window, including the opportunity to work with a great team that included BKDI Architects, Graham Construction and project manager MHPM, and also the "make it happen attitude" of BMO's senior manager of retail portfolio, Cheryl Borisenko, recent recipient of the BMO Best of the Best National Award.
At 7,000 square feet, the new BMO branch is a thousand square feet larger than the one it is vacating and will boast a more open interior look with lots of glass throughout. The Macleod Trail branch has always been one of the bank's busiest. As well as better access to parking, the new bank will be open seven days a week.
Atlas has benefited from owning the huge piece of land across from Calgary's busiest shopping centre where Staples and CIBC Bank are also tenants.
It also owns two prime locations in the Connaught Beltline area of 17th Avenue S.W. At the corner of 8th Street across from Tomkins Square, Atlas redesigned it’s building, where Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut is a popular destination. At Hillier Square at the corner of 9th Street, the new CIBO, an 8,000-square-foot Italian trattoria and outdoor patio, will open shortly.
Evans says the planned 10-acre McKnight Corporate Centre on the corner of McKnight and Aviation boulevards is progressing nicely. It’s located across from the fast food pads and Superior Propane building he developed with partner Bernie Slogotski. He expects to begin construction on the retail portion within a couple of months.
And a new tenant has been secured for half of the vacant 25,000-square-foot building occupied for the past 25 years by GMC at the corner of Blackfoot Trail and 42nd Avenue N.E. The site has 125 parking stalls so the remainder should be leased fairly soon.
Over in Bowness, Atlas did a fine job in renovating the Bowness Hotel into Hextall Place and has welcomed Bow Liquor into Blockbuster's former space.
Atlas has been busy improving many of its Calgary locations but the one I am most interested in seeing redeveloped is its former UMA/AECON three-storey, 42,000-square-foot building at the corner of Kensington Road and 25th Street N.W. It's just to the west of Crowchild Trail, with plenty of parking and close to downtown – ideal for a tenant to lease or have a design-built office tower.
David Parker appears Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Read his columns online at Calgary-Herald.com/Business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or e-mail info@DavidParker.ca
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