QUEBEC — Group Germain's Alt Hotels continue to evolve and grow in number, with the latest forming part of Calgary's Northwest University District community — a LEED Platinum development.
West Campus Development Trust, Group Germain Hotels, and Calgary-based Homes by Avi, have announced the latest addition to Calgary’s Northwest University District development plans, the construction of an Alt Hotel, a brand recognized for its contemporary design, eco-responsible features and affordable luxury.
“The opportunity came about at the West University campus area. We are looking at all growth opportunities, and the university is a fertile environment with a diversity of people,” said Hugo Germain, director of development. “It's close to the Children's Hospital, the Foothills Hospital, and a centre for research is being built. There's proximity to the Trans Canada Highway and sports facilities — the ecosystem is very much in favour of a hotel.”
There were synergies between the key players as well. “The [West Campus Development Trust] are creating a vision for a community on the university property that is something different,” said Germain.
The Trust’s approach embraces unconventional thinking, while the Alt Hotel brand is recognized as a creative market leader in the Canadian hotelier industry, embracing values such as sustainability and supporting the local community.
The new Alt Hotel, expected to open in the fall of 2020, will be 15 storeys,156 rooms, and include a retail and residential component as well as an underground parkade. The hotel will incorporate the brand’s signature colourful and creative design, featuring a welcoming lobby, café and restaurant. The building, by Lemay Michaud Architecture Design, will provide a dynamic and seamless street-level experience as the hotel and residences are situated above a retail podium with a diverse selection of shops and services.
Construction of the hotel will start in May 2019.
The Evolution of Alt
While each Alt Hotel incorporates various conservation measures, this is the first time Group Germain will build to meet the LEED Platinum certification requirements of the university.
“We will engage our teams to ensure we meet our guidelines,” said Germain. “Our previous hotels are the equivalent of LEED Silver — once this goes through it will enable us to come up with ways to push a little further with eco-friendly measures, lighting and recuperation of heat.”
Germain says the company has put Alt hotels in different environments including airports, downtown areas and retail, but this is the first one in a university context.
Alt accounts for more than half of the the Group Germain portfolio, with nine open now and two more at River Landing Saskatoon and Calgary East expected by year end. Group Germain opened two Alts in the past seven months: St. John's, N.L. in Oct. 2017 and Alt+ Brossard in April 2018. The company also opened a Le Germain in Ottawa a few weeks ago.
“We keep working on technology and ergonomics,” said Germain. “We are on the third evolution of room size — we've gone from 25 square metres [270 square feet] to 22 square metres [237 square feet] by changing the orientation.”
In St. John and Calgary, they are working with modular hotel construction. “Our technical people are pushing the envelope with a state of the art steel structure.”
In Saskatoon, they have kept the room components the same as in earlier Alts, but have better technology and a better looking design, said Germain. “It still looks like an Alt room, though,” he added.