Regina's Newest Communities

Posted: September 8, 2011

Not since the 1950’s have we seen such growth in the city of Regina. Our economy is booming! Jobs are available across every industry, and we are experiencing an influx of population from other provinces. As our economy has expanded, our city has grown along with it and the Residential Construction Industry has played an integral role in the city’s expanding ‘infinite horizons.’ Many new communities have sprung up in response to the increased demand for new housing. What is the nature of these new communities and just how are they adding to the overall make up and character of our city? Are we experiencing a new urbanism?

To answer these questions, let’s take a tour of these new communities with our first stop on the east side, The Greens on Gardiner. No sooner do we enter into this new community and we can see that there is something happening here – something that is a little different. Rows of single detached, two-story homes, closely shouldered together, are fronted with quaint verandas, adorned with hanging flower pots, and with garages in the back facing onto a back lane, rather than attached in the front. This is called “eyes on the street,” said Lorne Yagelniski, creator of The Greens on Gardiner. It is part of a new urban design that is said to promote safer neighbourhoods, and more pleasing streetscapes, while adding to the overall sense of community. In The Greens on Gardiner, about 30 percent of the new homes will be of this variety. There will also be a selection of homes on slightly larger lots with front facing garages, as there is still a definite market for this type of housing, in addition to larger homes on 50 foot to 60 foot lots, some with walkout basements. Condominium developments are also being added, making it a community truly characterized by a mix of housing options that will eventually provide 1500 new housing units to the city of Regina.

Remember the old days when grassy boulevards separated the sidewalks from the streets, and were lined with decorative lighting? That is another striking feature of this new community. “New communities must be designed so that they are safe for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as for cars,” said Yagelniski. Woodland Grove Drive is being upgraded by Yagelniski to include one more lane for traffic and an additional separated walking and cycling path, making this thoroughfare a “complete street” that accommodates all modes of transportation. Transit routes are all connected to each other and to the rest of the city, whether they are off-street, through the cycling and walking paths, or on-street, and roads are developed to include public transit. Ample green spaces, including parks and conservation of the environmental reserve, were all guiding principles underlying the design of this new “green” community. In the future watch for a mixed use of space with a small commercial centre at the hub, as well as a large sports park and high schools, providing an additional element to The Greens on Gardiner. Yagelniski has been inspired with new guiding principles for his future developments that include communities that are more complete, where one can not only live, but shop and work as well, more “complete streets” that accommodate all modes of transportation, and housing that fits all lifestyles and stages of the life cycle and that is more sustainable through compact design.

Our next stop is The Creeks, located just east of The Greens on Gardiner. “As you travel towards The Creeks, you leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and arrive home to a peaceful setting that is connected to nature,” said its creator, Kevin Reese. Every area of The Creeks is connected to a greenway – pathways lined with grass and natural foliage, and all the greenways are connected to each other and will pass through two new parks in this area, as well as to the McKell Conservation area. The greenways and roads will eventually connect with the neighbouring communities, and have been developed to accommodate public transit. The Creeks remains within the city’s compact footprint which means that for this new neighbourhood, which is on the outlying east part of the city, it is still only a 10 minute drive to downtown or the University of Regina, with the commercial amenities on the east side of the city very close by.

Other features that punctuate this new neighbourhood include wider roads for safe cycling, more pleasing streetscapes with sidewalks that are separated from the streets with boulevards, decorative lighting, and a beautiful brick wall that defines its boundaries and adds to the aesthetics of the city. This new neighbourhood will eventually provide 600 new single family homes, many of which are on mid-range to larger sized lots of 48 to 60 feet, and about 180 townhouses in The Creek’s Edge, a condominium development. One little known fact about this new neighbourhood is the new 8 million dollar pumping station that was front-ended by the developer which will provide not only services to the 780 new homes in The Creeks, but has the capacity to service up to 14,000 new homes, thus providing some of the infrastructure for neighbouring and future communities in this area.

Closer to the heart of the city, we come across Canterbury Park, nestled next to the St. Chad’s heritage buildings in the College and Broad Street area. Canterbury Common, twin buildings set close to the street, will frame Badham Boulevard off of Broad Street, and will be home to commercial businesses such as restaurants or offices on the main level, with residential condominium apartment space in the two stories above. This new community will also be home to Canterbury Estates which will include 26 bare land attached two-storey and bungalow condominiums. “Buildings were designed to fit in with the existing Heritage architecture,” said Vince Fiorante, one of the creators of this new community, “and are in the same architectural style and finished with the same dark brick as the existing buildings.” With the compact designs and the mix of commercial and residential, a stroll through this new development provides one with the sense that Regina developers truly are embracing a new urbanism. One can live in this new community and never own a car. Many recreational and retail amenities and places to work are close at hand within walking and/or cycling distance.

Just a few blocks north, on the south corner of Broad Street and 15th Avenue, is Centre Square Place, a ten-storey, very centrally located, condominium complex featuring 71 luxury condominiums, including townhouses that are recessed into the main level, and penthouses for those desiring sophisticated downtown living. The building’s circular form combined with large horizontal windows provides panoramic views from every suite and the design reflects and reinforces the quality of the surrounding cityscape. This signature project will include commercial space on the main level for shops and eateries, business offices on the mezzanine, as well as a roof top garden, walking track and fitness centre. Wayne Hydeman, developer of Centre Square Place, was inspired for the design of this very contemporary structure by his travels all over the world.

Evans Court, located on the southern border of Wascana Centre, boasts a prime infill location in the existing community of Hillsdale. As an infill development, Evans Court achieves a key City objective of sustainability by utilizing the existing infrastructure, neighbourhood shopping, offices, restaurants, and the world class amenities that Wascana Park offers. “Being one of Regina’s premier locations, we were thrilled at the opportunity of being awarded the property,” said Merna Evans, the developer of Evans Court. This community also provides a mix of housing choices to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, including single detached homes, the Phase 2 Birkshire Townhomes, and the one-of-a-kind Ramsgate Hall apartment condominiums. The architecture compliments the incredible location, featuring classic Craftsman design, that offers all the charm and appeal of the best of old Lakeview combined with the advantages of modern floor plans and 21st century energy efficient construction.

In the southwest, “a community of choice - a community to live, work, and play” is the underlying theme inspiring the design of Harbour Landing. “When designing a new community,” said Ned Kosteniuk, Vice President in charge of land development for Harbour Landing, “developers must take into account the variety of needs in the market place and create housing choices that accommodate all types of lifestyles and affordability.” Harbour Landing is all about providing those choices. Compact building designs are one of the guiding principles underlying sustainable development. Originally designed with a 40/60 split between higher density and mid-density housing, the Harbour Landing community concept plan has been modified to change this split to 60/40.

Higher density units include Sky Harbour Estates, which provides over 300 much needed rental units, in the northeast corner, where Reimer Crossing also features Cornerstone Heights, a four-storey luxury condominium complex, and Meadow View Estates, walkout town homes that back on to a beautiful green space. Adjacent to the Grasslands commercial area, Harbour Village features a 57-unit town home condominium complex and Willowdale Pointe, a three storey offering walk-up apartment-style condominiums. Just south of this development, another multi-unit housing complex includes attached bungalows, detached townhouses and three-storey stacked condominiums. In this same area, Sage Developments features condos that are both townhouse and garden style. This brings us to The Landings in the far southeast corner of the community, designed for mid-density, single-detached homes. In addition, an area just south of Reimer Crossing is dotted with lovely single detached homes on lots ranging from 38 feet to 50 feet wide, including some walkouts. These options are included to accommodate all aspects of the market.

The next phase of development will include brand new initiatives which will add significantly to the choice and character of urban living in Regina. After much discussion with the City, the go ahead was given to design on narrower lots, with reduced front yard setbacks, allowing for larger back yards, which back onto a lane. “The reduced lot sizes and front yard standards will facilitate wonderful opportunities for creative housing diversity and increased density,” said Paul Moroz, Land Development Manager for Harbour Landing. This type of urban design creates the opportunity for a streetscape that is more active, engaging and secure and will further facilitate a range of housing options that will meet a diversity of housing types and prices, and can certainly accommodate more “eyes on the street” type of developments. There will also be additional lane and non-lane product, including opportunities for those desiring single detached units. The concept plan is also undergoing modifications to capture the ever increasing demand for apartment-style condos and seniors’ housing. Altogether, when the community is complete, it will add 4,500 to 5,000 new units to the city that will house about 12,000 residents!

In keeping with the theme of “live, work and play,” Harbour Landing has a web of connected off-street and on-street walking pathways. The on-street pathways are enhanced by street separation with a boulevard. Pathways that line the greenways and parks wind through this new community connecting with the city’s existing system. By 2012, Harbour Landing will have contributed four new parks to the city with over 120 acres of parks and open space. Roadways have been created to accommodate public transportation and all paths and roads connect with a business section in the north and a large commercial area to the east. The Grasslands commercial area includes a Walmart, Lowe’s, and many other retail and service amenities. Grasslands Village, a unique project in the commercial area, is an urban village design that will house independent retail, office and restaurant type businesses on the main and second levels, in a town square format that emphasizes the pedestrian realm, with a “main street” feel and parking at the rear. This Town Square will serve as a community gathering place, making this development a quintessential example of new urban design. The business section in the north area of Harbour Landing will front on to a plaza and, once developed, will be the icing on the cake for making this new neighbourhood truly a complete community.

Taking our tour to the northwest side of the city, we enter the beautifully-landscaped, golf course community of Fairways West – an established residential area in its final phase of development. This community is defined by open green spaces, overlooking both the Joanne Goulet Golf Course and Wascana Creek. This community supports an active lifestyle with walking trails throughout the neighbourhood and along Wascana Creek that connect to the City’s pathway network and the Devonian Pathway. It offers safe, quiet, peaceful streets that only see neighbourhood traffic, giving this desirable neighbourhood a small-town feel inside the city limits. Shopping centers, schools, recreation centres and medical facilities are all located nearby.

“Fairways West was designed to offer housing types that appeal to virtually every budget, allowing home owners to reside here continually throughout each phase of their lives,” said Dennis Nagel, Land Development Manager for this community. Fairways West offers traditionally styled homes as well as homes with rear lanes and garages, designed to suit a more affordable lifestyle. Many of the homes sites offer fantastic views of the golf course, centrally located parks and environmental reserves. Check out Greenside Terrace, offering estate style homes with exterior maintenance included, situated on a terraced slope. It will include 31 single detached estate lots.

Still in the northwest, we enter Westhill Park through beautifully landscaped boulevards taking us past the focal point of this community, the centrally located park. This new neighbourhood, which is also in the final phase of development, will accommodate 300 new homes, and will offer a variety of housing types that are in easy walking distance to the central park. The mix of housing will suit different lifestyles and the location of the lots within this new development will offer a variety of options. For example, there will be walkout amenity lots backing the golf course, traditional large lot front garage, large lot rear lane, small lot rear lane, and small lot front garage styles.

Hawkstone, a brand new neighbourhood in the north of the city, also falls into the category of a complete community, which will eventually be home to about 4,000 residents. Situated just north of Argyle Park and Englewood, it will contain a mix of low, medium and high density housing, with lane and non-lane product, multi-unit complexes and single detached homes, and wider roads and decorative streetscapes. It will be located within walking distance to the commercial area on Rochdale Boulevard and Pasqua Street, and will include new commercial development, with the potential for business development. Extensive walking paths will connect this affordable community to neighbouring areas including Argyle Park and Lakeridge, and will add three new parks to the city as well as converting the pipeline corridor into walkable space. “This community will support and rejuvenate existing schools in the Argyle Park and Englewood areas, thereby breathing new life into surrounding neighbourhoods,” said Kevin Reese, one of the creators of this new community.

Kensington Greens is another community in the north that provides a range of housing options, from starter-type condominiums, to single detached two-storey with lanes, and homes fronting garages on slightly larger lots. It hosts a large central park area with over 20 acres of green space, and thoughtfully landscaped pathways that are connected to existing areas. There are many amenities close by and this new community will eventually create 500 new housing units for Regina.

Skyview, also in the north of the city, is adding to the overall housing mix in the city, by offering lots that are wider than the new norm. “What distinguishes this new neighbourhood from some of the others,” said Doug Rogers, who is overseeing the development of this community, “is that every home will be built on a 60-foot-wide lot.” This is a small new community, created close to the existing amenities in Lakeridge and including connecting walking paths and parks, which will retain the existing flora and fauna distinct to this area.

Are we experiencing a new urbanism? Yes, we most certainly are. There is something happening here. As our city grows, its developers are embracing new urban designs. Designs that produce more sustainable and affordable compact housing and a mix of housing types to accommodate many budgets and lifestyles. Designs that include “complete streets” that can accommodate all modes of transportation, including walking and cycling. Designs that produce more pleasing streetscapes, more green space, and connectivity with nature, with neighbouring communities and with the city as a whole. Communities are becoming more “complete” as they include not only places to live, but to work and play and shop as well. And where these communities are infill developments, they have honoured and complimented the style of existing heritage structures and the flavor of neighbouring communities and cityscapes. New development has unfolded with a balance. There is still strong market demand for the single detached home on a wider lot, and our community developers continue to accommodate this market. This has created a balance not only within these new communities, but among them as well. A balance that will continue to define our neighbourhoods of the future.

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