By Mary Savage
Ron Kellam and Wayne Berg. Photo by Mary Savage.
Contributing to Calgary’s Growth for 30 Years
or the past three decades, Kellam Berg Engineering & Surveys Ltd. has helped to shape Calgary’s iconic skyline – from downtown highrises and residential communities to commercial and industrial business parks. In a word or two, they are ‘unequivocally synonymous’ with the city’s planning, growth and development – bringing innovative solutions to otherwise complex projects.
Originally, the company emerged from a partnership that was formed in 1976 by Ron Kellam, Wayne Berg and Brian Renton, as the three principals. In 1983, Renton retired while Kellam and Berg retained the partnership, but changed the name to more accurately reflect who they are and the services they provide. Both Kellam and Berg brought decades of experience to the business and combined, the two men created a dynamic team.
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“…we have grown and expanded – doing complex projects including commercial and industrial developments as well as downtown projects.” ~ Ron Kellam Kellam’s direct involvement in subdivisions and urban development has garnered extensive experience in planning and approval procurement, design, construction and land survey, project management and coordination, development agreement negotiations, contract administration and supervision/inspection of construction. Berg’s background provides four decades of expertise and management in both field and office legal survey, processing and registering complex condominium and subdivision plans. And as it relates to the significant projects that have shaped Calgary’s development, there isn’t much that has bypassed the Kellam Berg office – from the early days of staking residential lots to defining strata titles on downtown skyscrapers. “We provide a total package that combines civil engineering, planning, condominium planning, surveys, legal agreements and we process all of this through city hall,” remarks Kellam, president and principal. “Over the decades and as we’ve grown the business, most of the people we used to work with at city hall and the other consultants have retired, so we are like the old dogs in the neighbourhood now … and we carry a substantial history
when it comes to the development in this city,” he continues. When the economy turned in 2008, it was the third time Kellam Berg had witnessed – and survived – a downturn. They had learned a thing or two during the recession in the early 1980s – which by Kellam’s recollection was much worse than 2008. “We learned about the importance of diversification in the early 1980s. We went from 65 employees to six – overnight,” says Kellam. “During that time, we were very focused on a specific core business. Since that time, we have grown and expanded – doing complex projects including commercial and industrial developments as well as downtown projects.” Looking back, the firm’s success is largely attributed to how both Kellam and Berg embarked on their careers – givgiv ing them the foundation and expertise necessary to succeed. “When we graduated from university, we both worked in the field – we weren’t hired as designers,” says Berg, vicepresident and principal. “We worked in the field as surveyors for almost two decades and we did the survey work ourour selves. We know what’s involved, the skills that are required and we know what a drawing has to look like in order to go out into the field and build it.”
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Over the past five years, Kellam Berg has been involved with the Keynote project, the development around Eau Claire, Stampede Station, First Canadian Centre (FCC) and The Bow.
The Keynote development on 11 Ave S.E.
Defining Property Lines – In Thin Air Kellam Berg has been a longtime front-runner as the company to call when creating strata titles on complicated downtown projects. “We lead the industry with strata title solutions and the combination of condominium solutions,” says Berg. “Stampede Station was the first strata title we completed and over the years, we have received calls from coast to coast regarding the strata titles process. Today we look after about 80 per cent of these projects in Calgary.”
When the economy started to slow down five years ago, it was a ‘bump in the road’ for the firm. “At the time, the majority of our work was located downtown which was a big shift for us as we had very few single-family projects underway,” notes Kellam. “And we have continued to work in the core on long-term projects.” Over the past five years, Kellam Berg has been involved with the Keynote project, the development around Eau Claire, Stampede Station, First Canadian Centre (FCC) and The Bow. They are also involved with Eighth Avenue Place and once completed, it will offer over two million square feet of commercial office space. CONGRATULATIONS ON ! 30 YEARS OF DESIGN EXELLENCE
Congratulations on your 30th Anniversary and thank you for your contribution to the success of the Keynote Urban Village
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Sharing your vision. Building success.
Congratulations to Kellam Berg on their 30th anniversary
We are more than builders. We are construction partners who are passionate about what we do and about our partners’ success. Shown: Palliser South Professional Building and Office Tower
Happy Birthday, Kellam Berg. From all of us at Kidco. kidco.ca
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2540 Kensington Road NW Calgary AB T2N 3S3
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Centron would like to offer its congratulations to Kellam Berg on 30 years of success!
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Recently they were selected as the civil consultants for Brookfield’s latest project, Brookfield Place Calgary. The development boasts 2.4 million sq.ft. constructing the tallest building in western Canada.
Brookfield Place Calgary. Photo credit: Brookfield Office Properties.
Recently they were selected as the civil consultants for Brookfield’s latest project, Brookfield Place Calgary. The development boasts 2.4 million square feet constructing the tallest building in Western Canada. And they are also busy with the redevelopment of Palliser Square – a twin tower project reaching 26 storeys high that
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will flank the Calgary Tower on either side. The majority of these redevelopment (highrise) projects require complex strata titles that call for clearly defined property boundaries that run both vertically and horihori zontally. “The property lines on a single-family house are vertical and run from heaven to hell, but the strata titles run both vertically and horizontally,” says Kellam. To simplify the concept of strata titles, Kellam explains these titles are akin to a layered cake. “You have a title for the bottom (parkade), a title for the filling in between the layers (podium/street level), another title for the top layer (office towers) and a title for the icing,” he states. “There are ‘fee-simple’ titles versus condominium titles, bare-land condominium titles or unit titles,” he adds. “Strata titles are an ownership that’s similar to the ownership you have when you purchase a house, but the lot is described in three dimension to include length, width and height, and a strata title is usually capped off at a particular height,” adds Kellam. As an example of this complicated process, the property lines for The Bow illustrate the complexities involved with
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Congratulations, Kellam Berg on 30 years! We wish you many more years of success. Kellam Berg | 30th Anniversary | 7
Congratulations to Ron Kellam of Kellam Berg on this 30 year milestone! We wish you many more years of success in the industry.
…the property lines for The Bow illustrate the complexities involved with these skyscrapers: parkades, city roads, retail shops at street level and the office towers above. these skyscrapers: parkades, city roads, retail shops at street level and the office towers above. “The city wanted to retain ownership of 6th Avenue, so there’s a property line between the public road and the parkade below, and another property line below the parkade. The city owns the property above and below the parkade, but The Bow owns the parkade,” says Kellam. Eighth Avenue Place (formerly Penny Lane) encompasses the entire block with the exception of the Shaw building. The premier twin-tower office complex is owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, AIMCo and Matco Investments, and the redevelredevel The Bow, looking east down 6th Avenue S.E.
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Eighth Avenue Place (formerly Penny Lane) encompasses the entire block with the exception of the Shaw building…and the redevelopment will consist of an underground parkade, a podium level and two towers. opment will consist of an underground parkade, a podium level and two towers. “The original plans called for the development of the parkade, podium and first tower, but the developer wasn’t sure when construction on the second tower would get underway, so how do you define all the strata titles, who owns them and how do you ensure there will be sufficient parking for the second tower?” asserts Berg. The solution: create four individual titles. Each portion has a separate title – the parkade, the podium and a separate title for each tower. To address the parking needs for the second tower, Kellam Berg came up with another ‘simple’ solution. “If you condominimize all the parking stalls in the parkade, the second tower ends up owning all the unit titles in their building, so they have a right to a certain amount of parking in the parkade,” adds Berg. “This is Eighth Avenue Place. Rendering by Studio amd.
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a simple example of a very complex approach to creating multiple titles on one lot.” As the owners have observed, there are other companies that can do this same type of work, but Kellam Berg knows how to integrate all the components: financing, servicing, queries of the city planning department and understanding the ECR (easements, caveats and restrictions covenants). “These are all legal caveats that speak mostly to fire access in the event there’s a fire because legally, there needs to be an easement right of way when you’re building multiple towers. The ECR agreements are in place because the lawyers have to protect their clients,” notes Kellam. Moving around the downtown core where the business of strata titles are typically found, Kellam Berg has carved out a well-respected name for itself among these highrise towers, however their scope of services reaches well beyond the borders of a skyscraper.
Accessing the Industrial and Commercial Sectors When Kellam Berg was awarded the position of managing consultant for the development of the infrastructure and legal survey for the Deerfoot Meadows project, it proved to be a significant contract that opened doors. “It gave us provincial exposure in terms of dealing with access to highways and interchanges, and ultimately that project led to our involvement with CrossIron Mills shopping centre,” explains Kellam. “Our company obtained the approval for the interchange at CrossIron Mills where it had not been considered previously. And in both cases – Deerfoot Meadows and CrossIron Mills – we worked with all parties and offered interchange and transportation solutions that had not been previously considered,” he asserts. Kellam Berg is associated with the development of largescale industrial and commercial projects that involve hundreds Congratulations to the Kellam Berg team on reaching their 30th Anniversary milestone. Kellam Berg Engineering and Surveys has provided services on many projects that Lawson Projects has managed over the years and we appreciate their efforts.
Cross Iron Mills shopping centre
of acres – on any given day. “Currently there are about 300 acres underway in Balzac, another 800 acres at StoneGate, an additional quarter section with a large homebuilder and a few smaller projects that are on-going,” notes Berg. For the past decade, Kellam Berg has been involved with the Balzac development and their initial involvement included planning, road access, grading and infrastructure issues for the CrossIron Mills shopping centre. Ten years later, they are still on site and have shifted their focus to the racetrack that sits just east of the shopping centre. “It was originally a superior one-mile track that’s been underway for the last seven years,” says Kellam. “The original plans for the racetrack called for a dual track, but
Congratulations Kellam Berg on your 30th Anniversary. We are proud to be part of your history and success!
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For the past decade, Kellam Berg has been involved with the Balzac development and their initial involvement included planning, road access, grading and infrastructure issues for the Cross Iron Mills shopping centre.
modifications had to be made given the space limitations, and that meant we had to come up with a creative solution. We had to design a track that would handle most of the races and fit on the remaining downsized property.” The new track design measures five-and-a-half furlongs – slightly longer than the track at Northlands and Stampede Park. However the track can accommodate eight and nine furlong races, plus the quarter-horse races. The track also includes barns and a maintenance building located at the south end along with parking at the north end. “We’ve designed the track to accommodate about 95 per cent of the desired races – it’s a very customized track,” adds Kellam.
Kellam Berg is also working on the development of ‘StoneGate,’ an industrial and commercial development that’s being overseen by WAM Development Group (Western Asset Management) and is located about four kilometres south of CrossIron Mills shopping centre. This site will see future development that’s a mixture of retail, suburban office and warehousing.
Working with Homebuilders – For Three Decades Kellam Berg has always been involved in the singlefamily homes sector and started working with smaller homebuilders during the 1980s. “We looked at that portion of the business and made the decision to grow our market share,” adds Kellam.
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“We have many long-term relationships and although they have evolved over the decades, they are still very strong.” ~ Ron Kellam Over the years, Kellam Berg has worked on multi-family projects and assisted the builders with site planning, land use and development permits. “During the 1970s, we were known as the ‘Condo Kings’ because all we did was multi-family development. Since that time, we have helped develop residential communities throughout Calgary and the surrounding regions,” he says. “And this growth has helped to stabilize the company during the economic peaks and valleys,” he continues. As an example, the development of Douglasdale was a significant project for Kellam Berg and it paved the way for other largescale opportunities. “For Douglasdale, we looked after the planning and engineering of the subdivision, and 20 years later we’ve watched it grow. We take great satisfaction in seeing a nice neighbourhood created,” Kellam comments.
30 Years Later… In a day and age where the business world seems to move faster and faster each year, there are some things that have remained the same. “In 30 years, our relationships with the contractors and homebuilders hasn’t changed,” observes Kellam. “We have many long-term relationships and although they have evolved over the decades, they are still very strong.” As Kellam Berg celebrates their 30th anniversary, they would like to extend a sincere note of gratitude to their customers, business partners, suppliers and employees for making the last three decades so successful. “Everyone has contributed to our growth and they have all played an important role in helping to shape Calgary’s skyline and vibrant communities,” Kellam adds with a smile. •
www.kellamberg.com Office (403) 640-0900 | 5800 - 1A Street S.W., Calgary, AB, T2H 0G1
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