When NHA became mortgage-free in 2018, we knew it was time to add to our portfolio and offer more Calgarians housing in a safe and diverse community.
We gathered input from stakeholders and weighed our values carefully: what – and where – could we buy that would be close to important amenities, such as transit and grocery stores, offer options for families, and ensure that staff could efficiently manage the new building without heavily increased admin costs?
We narrowed it down and started the hunt, and what do you know!? Before long, we found the perfect spot and a family willing to give a non-profit with a mission a bit of a deal. Community looking out for community!
And that is how we came to own Riley Park Place. Boasting 24 units, a mix of studio, 1 and 2 bedrooms, plus a ground floor and elevator meant that we could hope to serve both small families and persons with varied mobility needs. Plus, and perhaps most incredibly for us, it sits in the heart of Hillhurst-Sunnyside – where we already operated 5 other buildings – and is close to the train, schools, parks, and grocery shopping. Success!
We were thrilled. And we haven’t looked back since.
Riley Park Place is an excellent building, with a good structure, and had been well cared for over the years. But in holding with our service delivery principles of providing quality homes in good neighbourhoods, we knew that we could still improve it for our current and future residents.
So we got to work. And it has been an exceptionally busy – and fruitful – 18 months.
Here’s an account of improvements our team has made in the last 18 months to make sure that our apartments feel like home:
In the front entry, lobby, and all of the hallways, we put in new carpet, painted all the walls, and installed vinyl plank, updating the space to a brighter, more modern feel.
Low energy and brighter LED lights were installed in all common areas and hallways of the entire building. This not only upgrades the building visually, but increases mobility and access, as well as security.
Automatic LED lights were placed at the rear of the building, improving safety and security in the parking lot and most used entrance for residents.
We installed automatic lights in the laundry room to aid residents with full hands, as well as lower energy consumption in the building.
In order to maintain consistency with our other buildings, and align with our mandates around accessibility and safety, a keyless fob system was installed at Riley Park Place at both major entrances. Additionally, a new intercom was installed on the outside of the building (as opposed to inside the double doors), enhancing security again.
The front entry doors were automated and a cement ramp built leading up to the main doors. As mentioned, the building has an elevator and ground floor apartments – excellent mobility options. But without a ramp and automated doors, the building could not be made accessible to those who might benefit. We’re excited that we will now have a second building in our portfolio that is partially accessible and offers a greater diversity to our awesome resident population.
Balconies were overhauled, too, with new railings of a modern aluminum installed that’s also sturdier over time, any cracks in the cement were fixed, and all were re-sealed to preserve the concrete and provide a more aesthetically pleasing look to the building overall.
As units turn over, many are also being overhauled and updated. Plenty of them have had kitchen updates with new countertops and refinished or replaced cupboards as well as new vanities installed in the bathrooms and tubs resealed. Many of the units have had old carpet flooring replaced with modern laminate. And water shutoffs, plumbing, lighting, fixtures and more have all been updated and replaced.
And those are just the big items. To say that the entire operational team has been hard at work would be quite the understatement!
We’re really proud of the work that’s been undertaken to ensure that all of our residents live in a safe, beautiful, and dignified home. And even more importantly, to ensure that everyone can remain adequately housed well into the future.
There are some big learnings we’ve taken away from this big endeavour and we’re excited to apply those lessons to new projects and more opportunities to provide Calgarians with affordable and appropriate housing in the coming year(s)!
Stay tuned, because we’re just getting started.