Rendering of the Shepard Station Building. For David Parker column July 2019.
Few families have been associated with the Calgary construction industry as long as the Simpsons. Their history dates to 1942 and the Burns and Dutton Concrete and Construction Company that hired Jack Simpson as chief engineer in 1949. By the late 1970s, under the name of CANA, he was chairman and majority shareholder.When Jack died in 1984 his son, John, took over as president of the company, working hard to maintain its well-earned reputation of being professional, consistent and reliable.Now, John, as chairman of CANA, has handed the baton to son Luke.“I’m very impressed by Luke and his ability to, what I call, ‘get it’ at his point in his life,” said John. “I have encouraged him to take the reins and put me out to pasture.”That means John is spending more of his time managing affairs at the Simpson Ranch, where a herd of a thousand cattle need a lot of looking after.One of the first tasks Luke was confronted with was to merge CANA’s High Voltage and Utilities divisions into CANA Energy, under a new leadership team led by president Rahim Adatia.The continuing development of Shepard Station is also high on the list of priorities, which has been boosted by a decision by PBS Systems to build a new office building in the commercial park.It came about in what John says was an easy “shake of the hand” commitment, after PBS president Dave Bradley called CANA to ask if it could begin right away on a new consolidated headquarters for his company. An 80,000-square-foot, four-storey building had already been designed by Kasian Architecture and had received city approvals. Construction has begun, with a completion deadline of December 2020.Adjacent to the new building is 2.65 acres of land set aside for a hotel. It would be part of a very active area where Shepard Station, at the intersection of Deerfoot Trail and 130th Avenue S.E., is zoned for 1.5 million square feet of office on the site of the proposed Green Line, and is across the road from CANA’s Shepard Regional Centre — a 1.3-million-square-foot completed retail development.Another recently established division is CANA ReNew, led by vice-president Patti Stebbe who joined the CANA family last year from EllisDon, that has been formed to focus on tenant improvement and renovations.It completed its first interior renovation projects for the Olympic Volunteer Centre Red and White Club and a 45,000-square-foot, three-level office renovation for Mancal. ReNew has won seven of eight projects at the University of Calgary plus work with the Len Werry Building downtown, and has been awarded a contract for AHS in Red Deer.Fabrizio Carinelli, president of CANA Construction, is naturally proud of the job his team did in completing the new YW Hub facility in Inglewood and turning over the new WestJet Dreamliner hangar, and reports the BRIO apartment block — a joint venture between Rio-Can and Boardwalk at Brentwood Village shopping centre — has been closed in and the crew is now completing the interior stage. Targeted for completion in January 2020, it will provide 163 units above one level of retail at grade.North of the airport, a 146,000-square-foot addition is underway for Kingswood Manufacturing, and in Banff the Homestead Inn has been demolished to make way for a replacement property of 73 units. Later this fall, the adjacent Melissa’s restaurant is scheduled to make improvements to the exterior and kitchen area.CANA has always been involved in farming but has received a change of land use from Rocky View County to develop its 1,500 acres on the edge of city limits — to the east of Stoney Trail northwest of Indus — as a new industrial park. It is crossed by the Canadian Pacific tracks and the company plans a portion for a new marshalling yard that will accommodate a two-mile-length train.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.