I spent the day in Edmonton. I went up for an early meeting with the finance company, the architect, and the builder. We are trying to get the budget numbers in line for financing purposes and so the project makes sense on paper. My gut tells me that the project will come in at less that we are currently projecting. I think that everyone is so rattled by two years of escalations rates that it hard to believe that things are leveling off. Nonetheless we will make this work. I have good confidence in the builder, the materials supplier, the architect, and even our young finance group. Everyone left feeling confident and it is good for me to know that there are two investors willing to come in even it the finances at this level becomes troublesome. It is interesting and quite wonderful to know that there are business people out there that are up for a challenging project when they understand that it can make a difference in their community.
I left the meeting feeling exhausted and a bit down. So much hinges on this stage of the work. Of course there is always talk of 'not building' or 'building.' Not building is not an option for me and neither is it for the partners, so in some sense that is reassuring. We have come this far and I know that the project is good and can succeed. I certainly see why other developers replicate the same old formula instead of tramping into new territory.
After the meeting I went to the Alberta Art Gallery and had a good look at the Capital Modernism show that Shafraaz is the curator for. It was really really great to read the biographies of some of the leading architects in the modernist movement. Their words about meeting humanity's challenges and coping with a changing world real did make me feel better about our project and the complexity of the process. It's the right thing to do, and when I looked at some of the great work that other architects have done it confirmed to me that this work we are doing will be among the great things that can be looked back on years from now. Developers that are replicating stick frame walk-ups won't have contributed to society in any way, and likely in 20 years their buildings will be replaced again. Ours will be a landmark and the defining characteristic of downtown Red Deer for decades. I truly believe that it has the power to change the way the industry thinking about the environment and community. Our website is coming along at www.swerveliving.com if you want to get a closer look at the design.
So we press forward and we will complete this building in due course. Our deconstruction party is now schedule for September 15th, on Earth Dance. We have the kill orders in place for the services and by the end of the month the building should be ready to take down. Presales of the units will start in September and prices are now close to being set.
The public art project is proceeding. All of the the jurors have now looked at the works and have narrowed down their choices. We'll announce the three main contenders for the piece on the 15th of September as well.
So today was a little about progress and a little of perspective and a great reminder that great things take time but have a lasting impact on the world.
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