The New Kid on The Block
Qualico Through the Decades – 1990s
Throughout the past half-century, Canada has seen a series of peaks and valleys in the housing industry, including post-war financial hardship in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, multi-family properties had begun to pop up in Eastern Canada in the form of condominiums, but Western Canada’s housing market still struggled to meet the needs of lower-income families.
In 1969, Quality Construction brought the condo concept to the west and introduced its first multi-family project—Lakewood Village in Winnipeg—intended solely to introduce affordable housing to the lower-income market. The vast success of this project started a path to new housing innovation within Quality Construction, eventually creating the need for a dedicated business unit and resulting in the inception and growth of StreetSide Developments in the 1990s.
The Rise of StreetSide Developments
StreetSide Developments was originally founded in Calgary, Alberta in 1990 primarily focusing on multi-family villas for age 55+ retirees. Del Monica Villas, located in Monterey Park, was its first property under construction, fulfilling a significant gap in Alberta’s housing market.
Although StreetSide Developments was operational in Calgary, multi-family properties were still being constructed under the Qualico name in both Winnipeg and Edmonton. As operations in the multi-family space strengthened, the need for unity surfaced and drove the decision to align the brands.
In 1998, Kevin Van stepped into his first senior leadership role with Qualico and was appointed Assistant Vice-President of Qualico Multi-Family in Winnipeg. Not long after his transition into to the role, Kevin drove the unification of the StreetSide Developments brand across Western Canada.
“We were Qualico Multi-Family for the longest time and then I really pushed to change the name,” said Kevin Van,
President & CEO, Qualico. “We were really looking to call ourselves something other than Qualico, and went through a whole number of potential names – and then we thought, ‘We need to be aligned with the StreetSide name that we already have in Calgary.’”
It was Kevin’s experience with StreetSide Developments in the late 1990s that led to the decision to unify the multi-family brands across the regions. During his tenure, the multi-family housing market experienced shifts in homebuyer demographics, presenting new challenges in which the growing company could find opportunities to reach new markets.
Aligning the Brand Across Western Canada
In the beginning, the unification of Qualico’s multi-family business units was met with some uncertainty. Various regions expressed concern that the new name was not suitable for the current multi-family homebuyer, as rebranding amid established operations can present a certain level of risk. Additionally, brands across each region had been developed individually to meet their unique markets.
“Everybody had a different logo, everybody had different colours, and we said, ‘Let’s all get on the same page,’” said Kevin. “If we’re going to be StreetSide Developments here in Winnipeg, we need to look the same as StreetSide Developments in Edmonton and Calgary.”
Originally, StreetSide Developments in Calgary had introduced some odd—but attention-grabbing—branding. Using a zebra as their visual entity with wild shades of teals and greens, it is no surprise that other regions were hesitant to take it on. Luckily, as market demand started shifting toward the younger demographic, the brand was refined to its simpler form we see today and adopted by the Winnipeg and Edmonton teams.
Kevin’s persistence in unifying the brands helped push the various regions to work closer together and agree on common goals. Regional markets were shifting to a younger demographic with very different needs than those of existing multi-family homebuyers, and Kevin’s experience at Qualico Multi-Family in Winnipeg showed proven results in creating new products to meet these new needs. Over time, the StreetSide Developments brand was adopted across all regions.
The unity of the brands introduced an unprecedented level of collaboration. With the shift in market demands, teams started sharing lessons learned, tested and proven product offerings, and new ideas to meet changing homebuyer needs. As a result, StreetSide Developments has become a widely recognized brand name across Western Canada.
“Those groups have been able to leverage what’s been successful and bring it into the different regions to collaborate on and share some of the good plans,” said Kevin. “That was not being done before. They're aligning a lot better with some of the cutting-edge products that we’re seeing in Calgary or Edmonton. As I said, there’s differences, but I think we’ve come a long way in terms of collaboration, aligning the StreetSide Developments business unit. Our leaders are thinking a lot more alike, and I think that’s shown we’re able to really improve the name and align some of the product we’re offering.”
Expanding to New Markets and Meeting Homebuyer Needs
The StreetSide Developments product line may have begun with villa style properties and condo buildings to meet the needs of the 55+ retiree and long-term care market, such as Horizon Village and Shephard’s Care in Edmonton, but since the 1990s the multi-family product demand has shifted to include first-time homebuyers, those seeking more affordable new homes, and those looking for a carefree lifestyle. The company made a conscious decision to expand into new markets, meeting the unique needs of a variety of different homebuyer groups.
Ship Street Village was a pillar project in the shift to new markets. Under Kevin’s leadership, this unique condo building was one of the premier features on the revitalized Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg. A historic area, Waterfront Drive was designed to convert former railway transfer land into mixed-use development, sustaining the historic beauty of the neighbourhood.
Rendering of Ship Street Village Condos in Downtown Winnipeg's Waterfront Drive
This unique property offered beautifully designed condos with main floor commercial, roof top terraces, semi-private elevators, and luxury townhomes. The prairie architecture of the complex suited the history of the area, setting the stage for the surrounding properties to follow. The complete lifestyle concept of residential, commercial, and convenient amenities, combined with the higher price point, attracted a unique type of homebuyer to downtown Winnipeg.
“I was proud to be part of that project,” said Kevin. “It was really an evolving market for condos at the time.”
Ship Street Village launched StreetSide Developments as a leading condominium developer in Winnipeg and played a significant role in the company’s shift into new condo markets across the various regions.
How Far We've Come – StreetSide Developments Today
Showcasing Our Innovation
Today in Edmonton, StreetSide Developments is testing a brand-new townhome design to meet an even more aggressive price point demand for first-time homebuyers. These tiny townhomes are 14 feet wide, smartly designed at 1,100 square feet to be both functional and modern, to meet a price point more affordable than rent. In the fall of 2021, an even smaller, 12-foot design is to be introduced to the Edmonton market, all without compromising the total square footage. In an era where government-implemented mortgage stress test rules are limiting affordability in the first-time buyer market, these unique products are attracting homebuyers where they would not qualify for a mortgage otherwise.
StreetSide Developments Edmonton's 14-ft. Townhome, The Abbey
Innovation across the company continues to grow in new regions. StreetSide Developments BC recently embarked on its first ever high-rise condo project earlier this year, located in Surrey’s city centre. With over 300 residential units and 31 floors, the project will provide modern living with nearby access to the SkyTrain. The overall design of the project is still underway, with plans to include a variety of modern amenities such as a plaza with outdoor seating, a rooftop outdoor area with water features, and a kids’ play area on the podium area rooftop. Atop the pinnacle of the building there are plans for a bar and lounge area with stunning views of downtown Surrey and the North Shore Mountains. The project is expected to be ready in 2025/2026 and will be a unique living experience for Surrey condo purchasers.
Preliminary Sketch of StreetSide Developments BC's 104 Avenue High-Rise (Subject to Change)
Showcasing Our Marquee Collaboration
“Multi-family in Calgary has evolved over time to meet the needs of the consumer,” said Glynn Hendry, Regional Vice-President, Southern Alberta Region. “We’ve constructed high-rises, four-storey apartments, townhomes and fee-simple townhomes. The list goes on and on. In Calgary, StreetSide Developments started as this fledgling little company with retirement villas and it grew into a much bigger business, meeting the purchasers’ needs. Today’s consumers are so much more sophisticated.”
The company’s principles on building community also drive philanthropic endeavours, such as the RESOLVE campaign. StreetSide Developments' commitment to the project involved building Aurora on the Park, a 25-unit fully accessible property in Calgary supporting vulnerable Calgarians with limited mobility and past substance abuse.
“Aurora on the Park, StreetSide’s contribution to an industry-led initiative for the 10-year plan to end homelessness, was well-received,” said Glynn. “StreetSide was the third project of the 12 participants and they did a great job. It was our way of giving back to the community in which we make our living.”
Aurora on the Park was designed to promote a sense of community for its residents, providing a stable place to live, common areas, and a shared dining experience. StreetSide Developments’ involvement in the project carries out the values instilled by Qualico to build better communities through innovative products and hearing the needs of all types of residents.
To Sum It All Up
StreetSide Developments’ success since the 1990s is a result of the dedication and collaboration between the regions to work toward a common goal. Qualico Multi-Family set the stage in the late 1960s to innovate its products and ways of thinking to fill everchanging gaps in a volatile Canadian housing market, and StreetSide Developments has collectively moved the concept into new territory time and time again.
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