Calgary Homebuilder Turns Dreams into Reality
Canadian homebuilder Truman Homes is based in Alberta, mainly serving Calgary and the surrounding areas. Company President George Trutina previously made his name in construction after emigrating from Croatia, with the dream of creating and owning a company. From this dream, Truman Homes was born in 1995, starting with the purchase of about thirty acres of land in Chestermere, Alberta.
The operation then expanded to create Chesterview Estates, a neighbourhood in Chestermere, Alberta, and continued growth into the nearby Calgary and Spring Bank areas over the ensuing twenty-five years, eventually outgrowing its initial focus on single-family homes to include multi-family, commercial, and rental spaces in its current repertoire.
Marketing Manager Morgan Fraser outlines that the biggest drive forward for Truman Homes is a commitment to quality, sustainability, and versatility, and all the company’s standards and design specifications for home projects are of premium quality. “We always offer the top specs regardless of options,” she says. “The baseline [of specification] is the highest premium we can offer.”
All Truman homes are designed to save money and energy with high-performance wind resistance, quality insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Many of its buildings are LEED Platinum certified (the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification possible) and are, as Fraser puts it, “as green as can be.” Whether using double-paned windows, unit temperature regulations, or any other number of sustainable solutions, the company’s commitment to using less of the planet’s limited natural resources is a big part of its values.
With over thirty-five years of experience in the home industry, Truman has learned from its experiences and mistakes in that time. The effort to understand consumer trends—particularly those of Calgary—has allowed the company to adapt to home-buying, design, and lifestyle trends quickly and intelligently. One such recent trend is the fact that more people are leaning toward owning single-family homes due to a desire for outdoor space and privacy, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fraser says that understanding customers allows for a greater ability to provide for their needs, and leads to finding more effective ways of communicating its vision effectively to them. Planning and having a good foundation is vital, not just in the realm of construction but in planning for and accommodating delays or issues with blueprints, materials, or construction times. The staff members of Truman Homes draw on this deep well of knowledge constantly, granting it a certain edge.
Despite anxious times across many industries in the past two years, Truman Homes has kept very busy. Amongst its roster of projects, the West District is Truman’s newest master-planned community, the biggest of its kind in southwest Calgary. The company is taking control of everything from rental spaces and single-family homes to commercial space, road building, and transit.
Fraser believes that this will have the biggest impact on Calgary due to both its sheer size and how it will fit the needs of people in the area, from family homes to commercial space and rental accessibility (the latter being a rarity in the southwest area). The project also involves creating a central park development, intended to be the biggest feature of the district, which will have a pond for year-round community gatherings as well as integrated parks and pathways within the community and surrounding areas.
The goal is to make these places as accessible as possible, promoting a community connection instead of just homes on a lot. A rental building in West District will feature universally accessible housing to fill a large need, based on feedback that rental units can often be inaccessible to those with physical handicaps. Fraser also mentions a combined master plan development in Calgary’s university district, on which the company is focusing as it looks to promote sustainability further.
She feels that the last two years have been strange for the housing market thanks to historically low mortgage rates fueled by notable lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, such as a focus on work-from-home employment. She also mentions the industry’s lumber crisis which began last year, leading to the property being “worth more than gold,” with little availability due to material shortages. The issue continues to this day, affecting home construction and selling, leaving companies unable to build as fast as buyers crop up.
Calgary’s home market has seen its strongest sales of the past five years, which Fraser explains was just about enough to offset the losses from the first COVID-19 shutdown into the surge of new buyers. She notes that the biggest challenge for every homebuilder, regardless of the market situation, is meeting customer needs and keeping specifications within budget.
Amid a busy time for the homebuilding sector, Truman’s biggest focus in the next couple of years will be on developing Calgary’s West District even further, making it an accessible and growing area. Fraser says that plans are in place to create a road that connects both sides of the district as, at present, only certain areas are accessible without a connecting road.
After the completion of West District, further attention will be given to rentals and the development of 17 West, a rental development project close to downtown Calgary. The idea behind this project is to give those seeking more flexibility in their lifestyle an opportunity to find a great place to live, such as professionals who travel a lot, or people who don’t want the added pressures that come from home ownership.
Fraser notes that the trend of home buyers wanting single-family spaces will likely continue into 2022, as people in the market seek a space that truly feels like a home rather than just a place to sleep and eat. Time and care are paid to build around what a customer wants and needs from a living space as well as trends and area demographics, and Truman strives to offer its premium specifications with the thought that everyone can live better in a sustainable and timeless home. Truman always makes sure these wants are considered while allowing for flexibility in the space for the different lifestyles.
Truman Homes focuses on “homes that withstand trends and focus on quality overall to ensure they can withstand ten to thirty years without needing major updates or changes that would impact our green initiative.” The company is ready to handle the changing needs of its clients, as it has for over three decades.