Mary Llaneta can easily walk to one of her nursing jobs from her new home in Seton.
When the 27-year-old and her 33-year-old digital marketer husband, Brandon Potts, were looking to purchase their first detached home, a key pre-requisite was a walkable, convenient location.
“Spending your life in your car decreases happiness, and the amount of time we would have to spend in traffic was a huge motivating factor in where we decided to buy,” she says.
The couple’s purchase of a single-family home blocks from the South Health Campus in the southeast Calgary neighbourhood fit the whole “live, work, play” theme they were interested in.
“You hear a lot about live-work, but this really is,” says Llaneta.
The Seton Urban District — billed as south Calgary’s urban “core outside the core” where you can “shop smart, work close and live easy” — has already brought a strong mix of commercial/retail/employment centres (including the hospital, which employs about 2,400 people) and the 16-acre Seton Central Park to the neighbourhood. While there are increasing residential options, fully half of Seton will be dedicated to non-residential uses.
Jason Palacsko, vice-president Calgary communities for Brookfield Residential, Seton’s developer, says a good proportion of homebuyers to date work at the South Health Campus and really like the connectivity of the community.
Seton currently has about 500 residents of the more than 16,000 (amongst the projected 4,300 multi-family units and almost 4,000 single-family homes) expected to live in the neighbourhood at completion.
Palacsko says there are currently about 1,000 multi-family units, from apartment condos to townhomes, under construction by six or seven builders and several additional sites, next to single-family developments, are expected to be released this year. Brookfield also expects to service and release 200 to 300 single-family lots this year (200 were released in 2018) in Seton.
He says new and unique home products will be introduced by the end of 2019 or early in 2020 that address continued buyer demand for affordability.
Purchasers to date, says Palacsko, have been a mix of move-down buyers, families and first-time owners.
Llaneta says their Belvedere 3 model home, by Brookfield Residential, also met the couple’s other top priorities: affordability while giving maximum space, including a large backyard on a corner lot, for the couple’s two rescue dogs.
She works casual hours as a registered nurse at the South Health Campus — “About 75 per cent of my unit live in the surrounding area” — and full-time as an occupational health nurse in Ogden. Her husband works at an auto dealership off Deerfoot South.
Llaneta and Potts already car-pool to their full-time jobs but can walk or bike to the hospital, or to buy groceries.
In addition to the ability to shop locally, “it’s convenience, but it’s also having a smaller environmental footprint,” says Llaneta, who likes the energy-efficient design of the homes and the hospital’s own LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified status.
And the knowledge Seton will be the eventual southernmost terminus of the new Green Line was a plus for someone who grew up in a community near a CTrain station.
“I don’t have to take cabs or carpool if there is transit,” Llaneta says, adding the line will also connect the couple to downtown and other communities.
Llaneta and Potts, who both grew up in south Calgary, looked at Seton because of the overall plans for the community representing a new urbanism within suburbia. They moved from their condo in Cranston to their new home last November.
In January, the world’s largest YMCA, the $192 million Brookfield Residential YMCA (Brookfield contributed $3.5 million), opened in Seton. The 26,384-square-metre facility includes fitness and gym areas, library, art studios, theatre, daycare and two arenas. Recreational pools are slated to open in March.
Brookfield also plans to add about 2.5 million square feet of retail and office in Seton Urban District and 40,000 square feet of retail in the South Seton Neighbourhood Retail Centre in coming years, in addition to that already leased (including major anchor Mountain Equipment Co-op in 2018). The retail district will not only serve Seton proper, but is also expected to draw from the 120,000 people living in surrounding neighbourhoods.
Palacsko says Brookfield is about one-third of the way to its commercial/retail objective and about 10 per cent towards its residential vision.
Another important link for the community will be the opening this year of the $40-million, 212th Avenue S.E. interchange to Deerfoot Trail that will improve accessibility to and from Seton, as well as to the hospital and the Green Line station.