Melcor – building on a 100-year foundation

Story by Jim Zang

Spring 2023

Imagine it’s 1923.

King Tut’s burial chamber has just been opened; the first home game is played at Yankee Stadium in New York; Ford’s Model T is the best-selling automobile of the year; the village of Airdrie has around 170 residents – and Melcor Developments is founded in Edmonton.

Fast forward 100 years, and the Model T is long gone; Airdrie’s population has grown to nearly 80,000; and Melcor is still going strong, having developed hundreds of new communities across Alberta during that time.

The company was originally founded as a real estate company intent on helping people attain the dream of home ownership, says Erin Cripps, marketing project coordinator at Melcor.

Over the next 50 years, Melcor grew to be the largest real estate brokerage in western Canada, until that part of the business was sold to A.E. LePage (now Royal LePage) in 1976. Over the years, Melcor established synergistic subsidiaries to help achieve the goals of providing housing and improving quality of life for western Canadians, including mortgage, insurance and land development firms and a home building division.

Since the 1970s, Melcor’s main business lines include developing master planned and amenity rich communities (several including golf courses) and planning, building, and managing income generating commercial assets.

With over 140 residential communities and millions of square-feet of commercial properties built, Melcor has played a significant role in shaping the urban and suburban landscape of Alberta and today manages over 4.8 million square-feet in commercial properties.

In Airdrie, Melcor has been actively developing new communities for the past 25 years, including Lanark Landing, King’s Heights, StoneGate and their newest master-planned community – Cobblestone Creek, in the city’s deep southwest.

“We have an attention to detail when we’re doing our master plans that is executed not only from the conceptual stage, but down to the actual details of the design, the architectural controls and the final product that’s on the ground,” says Cripps.

“We put a large focus on amenities within the community. For example, parks, open spaces, a pump track in Lanark, and hockey rink in Kings Heights. In Cobblestone Creek, we’re planning basketball, tennis and pickleball courts, with construction to start this year.  Our attention to detail is probably why our communities are some of the best selling historically in Airdrie.”

A public Kindergarten to Grade 9 future school site is also located within the development.

A scenic creek runs along the east border of the community, says Cripps, offering homeowners the opportunity for a relaxed lifestyle of quiet creekside living, a return to a slower pace of life and reconnection with nature.

The architecture of the homes in the community will be based on traditional home styles, including Prairie Brownstone, Tudor, and Craftsman – adding to the classical and traditional feel of the neighbourhood. A bright colour palette brings a modern element to the design that helps homes feel contemporary, without losing the focus on its traditional roots.

The community is designed to be walkable, with a variety of walking paths and outdoor gathering locations, encouraging residents to interact with nature and connect with each other as they stroll through the neighbourhood. Many of the homes in the community will have front porches, further encouraging residents to engage with nature and with their neighbours.

This interconnectedness of the community is symbolized in the brand and logo through its interlocking elements and the use of nature photography, says Cripps.

Cobblestone Creek residents can rest-assured the picturesque neighbourhood will maintain the high standards Melcor demands, thanks to the community’s homeowners’ association, who will look after bylaws in terms of architectural standards and fencing, among other responsibilities.

The 156-acre master-planned community is entering its third phase this spring and will have 1,200 homes at build-out.

Phase 1 show homes opened in March 2022, with new show homes from Shane Homes, Excel Homes, Douglas Homes and Rohit Custom Builders opening last September. Prices from the low $420,000s to just over $800,000.

“There’s lots of selection for both first-time homebuyers and move-up homeowners,” says Cripps. “Our buyers are families and couples looking to set their roots in Airdrie.”

In fact, Melcor’s unique doorhanger program offers a free tree to every home buyer so that they can literally put down roots in their new home.

Maybe, like Melcor, it will still be there in another 100 years.