Most of us are happy to live in the big city but still yearn for that feeling of belonging found in smaller Prairie communities. Centron Group CEO Bob Harris, who founded the company here in 1984, shares that sentiment.
And as a reminder of being brought up in rural Saskatchewan, he has named his massive 766,176-square-foot mixed-use development on 10th Avenue S.W. after the County of Oliver, where he learned small-town values.
Oliver will provide tenants with amenities that help build community spirit while benefiting from a location just a short block to the downtown.
The first tower, rising 31 storeys on the corner of 10th Avenue and 4th Street S.W., will have its 412 one- and two-bedroom suites available for possession by May 1.
Being able to walk to work is a bonus, as are the amenities on the second and third floors that include a 15,000-square-foot outdoor space featuring a dog-friendly area, seating, fire pits, community garden, dining and shared barbecue areas, plus a large recreation space.
Residents will also have the use of a fully equipped fitness centre.
Centron president and COO Cole Harris and Calgary architectural firm Gibbs Gage have designed Oliver with many additional gathering spaces that mean tenants “need never leave the tower,” including a community kitchen, lounge, games room and even a pet wash. The resident lobby offers parcel storage and concierge, and boasts a 1933 Fleetwood Cadillac with only 8,000 original miles on permanent display, a classic piece of art. And Fleetwood, the premiere cocktail lounge on the main floor of the three-storey podium, is just one of five restaurant/food locations. They are all under the guidance of Lance Hurtubise, president of the Vintage Group and longtime veteran of the industry in Calgary.
The restaurant/bar spaces have been designed by Paul Lavoie Interior Design. Lavoie says the 64-seat Fleetwood features plush velvet furniture and is nobly appointed with wood to give it a classy Cole Porter attitude, complete with horseshoe bar and a patio area facing onto the avenue.
Across the lobby is a huge patio cornering 10th Avenue and the busy pedestrian walkway to the core along 4th Street S.W. It is also the location of the Pazzi Pizzeria, reeking with 1920’s Italian tradition, and an adjoining deli market and butchery where fresh everyday grab-and-go meals, specialty cheeses and wine will be available.
Luca Restaurant Mercato, the main dining room, is a fresh take on traditional Italian design offering fine dining in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Embedded along the 4th Street side of the building, Treno Coffee and Prosecco Bar will be a morning wake-up java venue and an evening hangout with friends.
It completes the five venues to be overseen by executive chef Giuseppe de Gennaro, culinary director of the Vintage Group.
A marketing program is underway to lease the suites in the first tower that sits atop 500 underground parking stalls to serve residents, retailers and visitors for both towers. The second tower, of 35 storeys and offering another 452 rental units, is currently under construction.
Oliver will welcome many more residents to the downtown in its more than 860 apartments, people to help rejuvenate the core as an ideal place to live, work and play.
Diane Jones Konihowski is retiring after eight years as director of fund development and communications at Distress Centre Calgary. Joining the organization just three days after the flood of 2013, she has been instrumental in raising the awareness of the centre in our community and in ensuring its financial sustainability each year. Jones Konihowski will stay on to help co-ordinate the centre’s 12th annual Lend an Ear fundraiser event in September that combines her passion for the centre with her love of sport. Named to three Olympic teams, she was chef de mission of the 2000 Canadian Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia. The virtual fundraiser will feature sports broadcaster Ron MacLean as MC and a panel of Olympic athletes discussing mental-health challenges faced during their careers.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected].