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February 7, 2011

There’s no denying that Calgary’s real estate market hit a slump. Harder hit by the recession than its West Coast neighbour Vancouver, construction all but stopped between 2008 and 2009. The recession essentially killed development in a city where construction cranes used to be a ubiquitous sight. But we can finally breathe easy. Authorities have affirmed that a sales recovery has begun.

The 2011 CREB forecast expects Calgary housing inventories to stabilize, resulting in a return to a more balanced and sustainable housing market.

“This could be great news for those homebuyers who have been putting off purchasing in Calgary for fear that homes may still decrease in price,” said CREB President Sano Stante in The Calgary Real Estate News. “2011 will offer buyers the convergence of unprecedented affordability, low interest rates and a large selection of inventory.”

That’s excellent news for homebuyers and new product emerging in the Calgary market.

So things are looking good, but where to look?

There are lots of interesting developments taking shape around the city. In the Beltline a project called Luna by Qualex-Landmark is in the works. Along the river of the Gateway district, Riverfront Pointe is one development that is part of the East Village master plan. But we’ve been especially taken by an emerging project in Bridgeland called NEXT (buzz’d here, on the forum here), and evidently so have you.

We’ve had plenty of questions about NEXT and its Vancouver-based developer Bucci (all projects here) so we thought we’d dig a little deeper and give you the inside scoop.

We’re feeling good about Bucci Developments Ltd.

Arguably, the most blatant sign of development woes was in Bridgeland-Riverside with the City of Calgary’s project The Bridges. When development of The Bridges on the old hospital lands in Bridgeland came to an exhaustive halt it was a surefire sign that the recession had set in. Although infrastructure is set to resume this spring, people have been wary of presale investment ever since.

We understand the concerns around presale homes, but we’re feeling pretty good about Bucci. The developer’s fresh perspective on home building is to focus on only a select few developments each year, which has resulted in a smooth move through market upheavals.

Despite the recession, Bucci continued with construction on their Downtown Calgary tower Xenex. The 18-storey tower on 12th Ave SW was completed in February 2009, and earned them the CHBA’s Multi-Family Concrete Apartment Builder of The Year Award for 2010.

NEXT in Bridgeland looks promising

Bucci’s latest project NEXT looks to be just as promising. Site acquisition took place Summer of 2010 and the building looks to be a very cool mix of contemporary and traditional. Designed by NORR Architects, the exterior makes use of materials traditional to the area and presents them in a functional, forward-thinking, two-building design.

And it’s green! Or at least it is going to be a Built-Green building, which we’re all for.

Inside, the interiors are sleek and smart. Portico Design Group has designed NEXT with innovative features like Echo Wood sustainable cabinets, quartz countertops and made-to-order barcode glass accent tile in the bathrooms, giving these homes a modern smart, but rugged feel.

Right on Edmonton Trail and 4th Street NE, NEXT is also accessible. The building is practically next door to Diner Deluxe and The Fiddlers Courtyard Irish Pub, uphill from 1st Ave and a hop, skip and a jump away from Downtown Calgary. Walk to work, take a bike, catch the bus. Sounds good to us.

We have commented before that Bridgeland is a fantastic neighbourhood that’s quickly gentrifying. It’s definitely a community that has good long-term growth potential. And NEXT is right in the heart of it.

The presentation centre is set to open February 26th on 1st Ave NE. In the meantime, check out their website at nextliving.ca for more information.

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