Not only Calgary is trying to solve the challenges of downtown office vacancies and an urgent need for housing — there are huge problems for many cities across North America.
Calgary is leading the way in the conversion of B- and C-class unoccupied office buildings into residences — including the empty 200,000 square feet on the top floors of Palliser One for higher-end living.
In response, Doug Hayden has launched a visionary startup with a mission to transform the housing industry and address the urgent need for cost-effective, sustainable and efficient housing.
As president and founder of Arthroto, he has partnered with DIRTT, the Calgary-based global leader in industrialized construction for interior spaces, to focus on prefabrication methodologies to convert underutilized office spaces into modern residential and mixed-use housing.
“By leveraging the principles that have existed for decades in prefabricated, prefinished, volumetric construction, Arthroto applies massive gains in productivity,” Hayden says. “By using new technologies, we can ensure cleaner and safer construction projects, rapid deployment times, reduced on-site labour and help clients meet their ESG targets, which in turn helps pave the way for sustainable urban development.”
Hayden certainly understands the need and, with experience in technology, construction and real estate, he is confident his new company is an innovative and holistic solution.
He has more than 20 years in commercial and residential real estate. Before that, he sharpened his skills in the ream of business development, holding prominent roles at multiple tech startups. His knack for identifying potential and strategically positioning businesses for success was further cemented during his tenure at SMED.
In rallying an expert team to lead Arthroto, Hayden has been joined by Spencer Marks as co-founder and COO. Located in Dallas, Texas, Marks is a seasoned executive with Cornell Engineering roots and has a reputation for efficiently leading tech startups. In financial terms, Marks’ oversight of multimillion-dollar budgets and vendor relationships adds significant value to Arthroto.
The third member of the executive team is Eric Lieberman, executive vice-president of government relations and development, a distinguished figure in land-use planning in Los Angeles where he founded QES Inc., reshaping Southern California’s real estate landscape.
Hayden says forming strategic partnerships with market leaders such as DIRTT ensures embedded quality and efficiency throughout the construction process.
DIRTT CEO Benjamin Urban says: “Our collaboration with Arthroto represents an innovative stride in urban redevelopment that aims to set new standards in the industry. Our approach to adaptable interior construction and our focus on sustainable building aligns well with Arthroto’s mission.”
Hayden and his team are currently focused on developing strategic alliances and joint ventures, along with uncovering potential projects.
The need is great — the office market may never be the same again. New York City reports 100 million square feet of office vacancies; Los Angeles has 30 million, with a vacancy rate of more than 20 per cent.
CBRE reports that of 40 markets tracked, 60 million square feet of office conversions are planned or in progress, and 100 projects are expected to be completed in major U.S. cities thanks to increased incentives and other support from local and state governments.
Arthroto expects to be a transformative player in the prefab construction industry, delivering end-to-end solutions to ensure efficient construction processes and superior quality.
The reimagined Vivo for Healthier Generations has been officially opened in the northeast community of Country Hills, a testament to a labour of love by Dialog for almost a decade. The architectural transformation expanded the existing facility to 269,000 square feet, with a focus on connecting people and the community with not just a structure, but shaping the future of healthier generations. The facility houses Calgary’s first of its kind, 19,500-square-foot indoor park.
“The ultimate goal was to create a space that is truly thoughtful in its ability to improve the community it serves,” said Dialog architect John Souleles. “Vivo isn’t merely a development, but a movement. Our hope is that Canadians of all generations are inspired to achieve optimal health whether they are at home, school, work or at the facility itself.”
“We are thrilled to announce the completion of the expansion project at Vivo, and our partnership with Dialog has been instrumental in bringing the community’s vision to life,” said Cynthia Watson, chief evolution officer for Vivo.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]