Developer Joe Starkman thought Calgary’s first condo without a single stall for tenants’ automobiles would attract millennials.
Between the complete absence of parking and the millennial-friendly perks that come with the purchase of a unit — think an Ikea gift card for furniture, a new urban bicycle and credit for car-sharing service Car2Go — you can’t blame him.
Residents started moving into the history-making, parking-free N3 development on Monday and while the majority are under the age of 35, Starkman has been pleasantly surprised at just who will be living in the 167-unit tower in the up-and-coming East Village.
“Generally, it’s a younger group moving in,” said Starkman, with Knightsbridge Homes. “But the other anomaly we had is we ended up with a whole bunch of seniors.”
Starkman said he’s heard from older buyers who don’t drive and are keen to live close to a transit station, amenities including a yet-to-be-opened grocery store, and a diversity of ages.
“One actually said to me, ‘I’m tired of living with all of these old people,” he said.
“It leads you to think maybe we need more of a mix, instead of us putting all of our seniors in seniors homes overlooking the grass growing out in the suburbs.”
Whether young or old, the people who will call home a 465-square-foot one-bedroom or a 625-square foot two-bedroom inner-city condo are living in a piece of Calgary history.
When city council in notoriously car-loving Calgary unanimously approved the 15-storey parking-free condo tower in May 2015, it was a first for the city.
Under normal Calgary rules, a tower of N3’s size would require about 100 parking stalls and Starkman estimated because of the water table needs in the area, each would have cost $50,000.
The absence of underground parking stalls allowed Knightsbridge to finish the development quicker than a typical build and offer a lower price point.
Starkman said he was first inspired to build a car-less condo after offering his daughter an old car while she was studying at Dalhousie University.
“She said, ‘A Car? What am I going to do with a car,'” he recalled. “(She said,) ‘I’ve got a transit pass, a bike and I can walk.'”
The conversation spurred baby boomer Starkman to hire marketers who talked to young Calgarians in downtown coffee shops. They found 30 per cent of the people surveyed lacked drivers licenses and 50 per cent didn’t own a vehicle.
With all but 20 units sold, Starkman said there’s clearly an appetite for the no-car concept in Calgary.
“I’m not saying this no parking should take over the world in Calgary,” he said.
“We’re not downtown Toronto or London, but it seems to me there was a bit of a gap in the marketplace that nobody was really approaching.”