Adherents to tradition will be relieved. You’ll find anything but a suburban mega-mall in the new shopping district planned for Cochrane’s Greystone.
A thoughtfully planned commercial area built downtown and close enough to be considered an extension of Cochrane’s historic main street is poised to bring more of a good thing to this Alberta town. Residents and day-trippers looking for a dose of nostalgia will be drawn to Greystone, whose commercial district promises to give charming local stores and popular national brands an equal footing on the shopping landscape.
Expect Cochrane to provide more entertainment and options for leisurely shopping, and dining, said Harish Consul, founder, president and CEO, of Ocgrow Group – one of the largest developers at Greystone, overseeing the commercial section of the project, and a high-end multi-family district.
“Everything is within walking distance and at your doorstep. We believe that Greystone is the ultimate live-work-play community,” said Consul.
The vision for the design includes generous pedestrian areas and outdoor spaces that will bring people together, including a vibrant main street area where a few angled parking spots out front provide convenience, but shift the focus on people, easy access to appealing storefronts, and place an emphasis on charming architecture instead of paving over the neighbourhood with vast parking lots.
“We didn’t want to bring in big-box national retailers. We will have a mix of local community boutique tenants and new national brands offered at the right scale,” explained Consul.
“It is rare to find a neighbourhood public space like this. As a result, retailers love what we are building and how it will support business.”
From grocery shopping to strolls by the pond, from family dental visits to pet-friendly walks, Greystone will add charm and personality to your basic routines.
“It will be entertaining,” he said, adding you can walk to the river, and rec centre from the shops so that outings and activities can blend seamlessly.
Master Planned Marvel
A community isn’t complete without its favourite businesses that eventually set up shop, but Greystone’s commercial district will offer a spot for the local business community to integrate from Day One so that they’re positioned within easy reach for residents without delay.
“Cochrane is a tight community and everyone who lives here is proud of the heritage and the culture and maintaining a very friendly community. So, you can’t bring a power centre to Cochrane, it's not appropriate,” said Consul.
“What is more appropriate is exactly what we’ve created. We’ve had months and months and years of feedback, and the Cochrane town planners are very supportive and have promoted guidelines that are matched with our vision,” said Consul.
Many will reflect a local culture that’s causal and relaxed, with the flair of classic Western hospitality, and will be unlike suburban malls. Instead, Rockland Ave will be hub, and its preliminary drawings call for an old-fashioned high street design that promotes an afternoon stroll of window shopping, and sidewalks alive with neighbours and a unique blend of community-driven enterprises.
A Haven for Progress
Cochrane is one of the fastest-growing communities in western Canada and saw a population surge of 24.5% from 2016 to 2021 according to a Statistics Canada census. The town now also experiencing a retail rush to serve an active population. New restaurants, novel retail concepts, and innovative services are finding a home here.
Ocgrow is curating a selection of diverse tenants, ranging from food and beverages to quick-service restaurants, all aiming to bring fresh, exciting experiences to the people of Cochrane.
Pedestrian-Focused Planning satisfies Craving for Togetherness.
Greystone bridges the gap between tradition and trend – answering the desire for handy shopping with the option for discovering local treasures and low-key browsing.
Urban planners tasked with designing Greystone’s shopping observed the popularity of iconic districts like Calgary’s Kensington and Marda Loop where urban walkability creates a community destination and sparks bustling business opportunities. Pedestrian-focused planning builds ambiance where outdoor café spaces, casual spots for nightlife, and exquisite dining options cater to those who cherish togetherness.
However, customers are more likely to step out and support local businesses when those services are close to home.
“People are looking at living in Greystone because they want a life where new services are available, but without driving an hour to get them,” said Consul.
“Depending on your neighbourhood in Cochrane, there was a time when you would have to drive out 30 minutes to get a carton of milk or a bottle of wine – it’s a lot of time lost each way,” he said.
The Future of Cochrane
Greystone is the manifestation of sustainable growth, close to jobs, and feeding on the excitement of new households forming, and support every stage of life in one community. It's where a mix of low- to high-density housing brings a population that is hungry for easy access to a spectrum of shopping options. People want to be energized by a bustling, lively atmosphere that feels easy – without traffic headaches.
“People are craving to be in the community now. They’re looking for ways to connect in person, and feel good and relaxed when they’re out and about,” said Consul.
Why not give people an experience, and the simple joys of an open-air stroll and a little vitamin D on their faces?
As the community evolves, so will Greystone, ensuring that Cochrane continues to thrive and preserve its essence, he said.
Do you want to lease space in Greystone's new commercial area? Get in touch with the team at Ocgrow at https://ocgrowgroup.com/