Money from sale of park land clears way for Richmond Green revitalization

The city's planned redesign of Richmond Green includes new amenities such as pickleball courts, a pump track for cyclists and cricket batting cages. The land sold to a housing developer is located to the left of the baseball diamond. (City of Calgary - image credit)
The city's planned redesign of Richmond Green includes new amenities such as pickleball courts, a pump track for cyclists and cricket batting cages. The land sold to a housing developer is located to the left of the baseball diamond. (City of Calgary - image credit)

The City of Calgary has found a buyer for park space it put up for sale last year.

The previous city council approved a plan to sell five acres of land at the west end of Richmond Green. The idea was to create new housing and generate money that the city could use to upgrade the park.

The city's website shows the asking price for the parcel of land at the corner of Richmond Road and Sarcee Road S.W. was $12 million.

In a statement, the city says it has a conditional deal.

"At this time, the sale is still pending. Please follow-up early September for a potential update at that time."

The sale price is not being disclosed.

350 units to start

A local developer, Sarina Homes, is the buyer.

Developer Sarina Homes plans to build 350 housing units on the site, ranging from one to three bedrooms each.
Developer Sarina Homes plans to build 350 housing units on the site, ranging from one to three bedrooms each.

Developer Sarina Homes plans to build 350 housing units on the site, ranging from one to three bedrooms each. (Courtesy Sarina Homes)

It's planning to build 350 housing units on the site, ranging from one to three bedrooms each.

There will be two six-storey buildings with some commercial ground-floor space.

There are also plans for townhomes to be built along the Sarcee Road side of the site.

The president of Sarina, Naz Virani, said they have not decided at this point if this will be a condo development or rentals.

"The location is wonderful, right? It's very close to downtown and to Crowchild Trail and there's a BRT stop just around the corner," said Virani.

"And it's a walk into a pretty busy hub corridor with Marda Loop."

Engagement underway

He acknowledged there has been some dissatisfaction in the surrounding community. Many residents opposed the sale of the city land to allow for new housing.

But Virani said engagement has been ongoing and some of the community's concerns are being addressed with the plans his company is developing.

"They're seeking a good quality building. They're seeking some thoughtful solutions relating to traffic and parking," he said.

"The community wants to activate the corner by adding a coffee shop to the project and get a little bit more vibrancy on that corner."

He added that planning for townhomes along the Sarcee Road side of the property allows for better integration with the single-family houses located across the street.

In 2021, the previous city council approved new zoning for the land parcel as well as the sale.

Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott called Tuesday's four-year budget proposal a "status quo" budget.
Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott called Tuesday's four-year budget proposal a "status quo" budget.

Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott said the proceeds from the land sale will cover the planned revitalization of Richmond Green. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The company plans to apply for a development permit this fall, with construction starting in spring 2025.

Councillor excited

The city councillor for the area, Ward 8's Courtney Walcott, said he's pleased with the sale. He said the proceeds from the sale will cover the planned revitalization of Richmond Green.

A preferred plan for the new look was unveiled last year. It includes new amenities such as pickleball courts, a pump track for cyclists, cricket batting cages, a running loop and a destination playground.

The goal is to turn the site — which used to be the home of a city-owned golf course — into a regional park like Bowness Park or Stanley Park.

"I'm excited because very soon, that means that we will start breaking ground on that park that everyone has been working so hard to actually envision and grow," said Walcott.

While the park is losing five acres with the land sale, the city is actually increasing the size of the green space by 10 acres as it's decommissioning a former works yard.

Walcott said he expects construction of the revitalized Richmond Green will start next spring and the work will be done in phases.