Urban lifestyle draws single mom to Argyle in University District

Services, shopping, school, restaurants all close at hand to University District.

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Single mom Diana Herrera loves the pulse and the convenience of the urban lifestyle. So, when the opportunity arose to purchase a condominium in the University District, she didn’t think twice.

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For the past two years, she’d been renting a two-bedroom condominium in the community and really enjoyed the amenities and the lifestyle that it offered. She knew that she wanted to buy in the area, but until recently, she thought she was priced out of the market.

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“But then, I think it was in January, we were out walking the dog and we walked past the presentation center and there was a sign for a new condo development and it said: prices starting from the $300,000s and I thought, I could afford this,” says Herrera, who works in sales.

She made an appointment to tour the show suite of Argyle, a contemporary, six-storey, mixed-use condominium development, anchored with ground floor retail and designed by Homes by Avi.

She brought along her daughter, 13, and her son, who is seven.

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“We were all super excited,” says Herrera, who was born and raised in Columbia and has lived across the globe from Houston, Tex., to Dubai. Five years ago, she and her then-husband (she is now divorced) and her two children de ella, landed in Calgary. The children, who grew up in single-family homes, are now sold on the smaller footprint of condo living within a thriving urban village.

Located just west of the University of Calgary on 200 acres overlooking the Bow River and the Rocky Mountains, the University District is packed with amenities and green space, including a curated mix of shops and services. Favorites include Orangetheory Fitness, YYC Cycle, Staples, Cineplex VIP Cinemas and local eateries like OEB Breakfast Co. and Monogram coffee.

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The children go to school in the area. They enjoy walking to the restaurants, especially Five Guys and Village Ice Cream, and hanging out in the green spaces. Herrera’s daughter takes advantage of the convenient public transportation — the LRT station is at the doorstep and her son de ella skateboards in the park. Herrera also enjoys the restaurants.

“I can go for a coffee or a drink with friends and I don’t have to drive. I can also just walk to Save-On-Foods. It’s amazing.”

Walkability was just one of the ingredients that contributed to the University District earning the title of Canada’s best growing community at the 2022 Canadian Home Builders’ Association National Awards for Housing Excellence.

The Argyle is the newest offering at the University District and is comprised of 151 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom homes, along with a full gym on the sixth floor and a comprehensive owners’ amenity space, including a rooftop terrace on the second floor . It broke ground in May.

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The project’s architecture reflects a contemporary twist on masonry warehouse historical designs. The building’s layers, dimension and texture tie back to a literal description of the classic and timeless argyle pattern, exemplified in the facade’s punched window pattern and color scheme.

The show suite showcases the 545-square-foot A1 plan, a one-bedroom model, and the home is decked out in both color palette choices — the Wescott and the Harlequin.

“It was such a good experience to go through the show suite. It made me feel safe. I’m a very visual person and I didn’t have to imagine anything. It made everything seem very real,” says Herrera.

This motivated single-mom (she’s all about creating a great life for her children) purchased a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit on Argyle’s third floor. The home has a balcony with gas hook-up for a barbecue and room for a patio table with chairs. “I think I might put a hammock out there, too, just to make it really tropical,” says Herrera.

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The kitchen was also selling point for her. “For me, cooking is a tradition. When I think about family, I think about my grandmother and her recipes from her. I’m using them a lot now, cooking hot, fresh food for my kids. For me, the kitchen is definitely the most important place in the house.”

Carla Dean, designer, product development at Homes by Avi, explains that because the majority of Argyle’s homes are less than 1,000 square feet, the kitchens had to be extremely efficient within a small footprint. Each kitchen has a bank of drawers, built-in spice rack and multi-use box shelf, as well as a food and storage pantry. Noticeably absent from the design is an island, which Dean says was an intentional choice.

“Having a fixed cabinet in the middle of a small space takes away flexibility. Leaving it out opens up the space and allows for the possibility of a moveable island or dining room table,” she says.

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Herrera is happy to have the extra space and is already searching for both a dining room table and a small mobile island for her home at Argyle.

The icing on the cake for the family was choosing the color of their front door.

“The kids chose green, because it’s the color of hope,” says Herrera.

THE DETAILS

COMMUNITY: University District

DEVELOPER: University of Calgary Properties Group

DEVELOPMENT: Argyle, a 151-unit, six-storey, contemporary mixed-use condominium development, with retail at ground level. Amenities include underground parking, a full gym and an owners’ amenity facility on the second floor, including recreation room, kitchen and rooftop terrace.

DEVELOPER: Homes by Avi

PRICE: Pricing starts at the low $300,000s for a studio condominium. Pricing includes an underground parking stall and GST. Homes by Avi is offering price protection guarantee — if the price drops before possession, it will refund the difference. And for a limited time, it is also providing $20,000 towards interior selections or off of the purchase price.

FEES: Condo fees are 44 cents a square foot.

SHOW HOME: The show suite is located at the University District Discovery Center, 4410 University Ave. NW It’s open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 to 7 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 pm It is closed on Mondays.

INFORMATION: www.homesbyavi.com; www.myuniversitydistrict.ca

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