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FRAM+Slokker Real Estate Group has a string of successes in mixed-use development in Eastern Canada and the US. The group has committed to building over 600,000 sq. ft. of mixed-use residential and commercial development in the River’s Edge and Parkside areas of East Village. “This is a chance to create a mixed-use development that will embrace environmental, social and economic values,” says FRAM president Frank Giannone. “We are eager to help re-define the look of Calgary’s downtown.”
Developing, building, and managing projects in Greater Toronto, southern Ontario, the United States and Italy, FRAM has been developing mixed-use neighbourhoods since 1981.
“FRAM is guided by the highest standards of urban planning, building design and materials,” says FRAM President Frank Giannone. “That’s why East Village and FRAM are a great fit.” Developing, building, and managing projects in Greater Toronto, southern Ontario, the United States and Italy, FRAM has been developing mixed-use neighbourhoods since 1981.
Phase one of the multi-phase project has been dubbed FIRST, for the free-spirited pioneers who will make East Village their home. And there are plenty of them in Calgary. “No doubt about it, there’s a sense of energy at so many levels,” says Ralph Giannone, an architect of FRAM+Slokker’s projects. “On the business side, it just smells like potential, and there’s a sense that things can get done there.”
FIRST is located just off RiverWalk in the River’s Edge area, one street back of the Bow River. “We spent a lot of time trying to understand the importance of the river to city,” says Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW, the Toronto architecture firm designing FIRST. Rom Colthoff, an avid backcountry skier and hiker, has been a longtime observer of the Calgary skyline and landscape. “The river is this forgotten gem, and it’s nice to be part of its rediscovery and reanimation.”
FIRST is a graphically-striking 18-floor building surrounded on three sides by a four-story podium. There are views both toward the river and westward, toward the city. “We’re not going traditional at all,” says Rom Colthoff. “That’s part of the way we work.” The graphic aspect of the building comes from black metal that frames sections of windows to great effect. Wood framing on the low rise adds to the visual interest. A courtyard on the third floor of the low rise gives everyone views and fresh air in a sheltered environment, even in winter.
What’s it like designing a developer’s first East Village building? “It’s kind of daunting,” says Rom Colthoff. “You’re taking the first step and everyone’s looking at that. We’re trying to find a new palette of materials, a different palette for Calgary. We’re setting the tone for a new kind of high rise, a new community in the sky.”
FRAM+ Slokker own four parcels of land in East Village. Just to the south of FIRST is a parcel in the Parkside area that includes a unique pedestrian street – The Riff. Inspired by England’s pedestrian mews, The Riff is a narrow pedestrian thoroughfare that slices across EV’s square street grid at a 45-degree angle. “It’s this idea of a space that has a wonderful quality that you might see in London’s Soho or Belgravia,” says architect Ralph Giannone, who will be designing buildings along The Riff. “It’s incredibly narrow and intimate. I think it’s going to create a little micro-climate, a tertiary experience, a street and a space entirely out of the ordinary.” See what happens on The Riff when FRAM+Slokker start work on Phase II of their development.