CALGARY -- A new community hub is coming to Calgary’s East Village next year, offering residents a space to cook, create and access mental health supports.

Village Commons will feature a community kitchen, an art studio, recreation spaces and a family counselling centre.

Construction officially kicked off Thursday, with a preview of what to expect from the space that will be located on the second floor of East Village Place on Eighth Avenue S.E.

The Calgary Housing Company is behind the project, in partnership with Carya and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

Officials say the space will offer new food and nutrition options at affordable prices, or for free.

“We are pleased to have found such great partners, and that we are able to be part of developing an important resource for the community,” said Calgary Housing Company president Sarah Woodgate.

According to the city, 65 per cent of residents in East Village live alone and the hope is the space will help connect neighbors in the area.

“After months of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this community gathering space will be more important than ever,” said Carya CEO Monique Auffrey.

Area Coun. Druh Farrell says the project will fit in well with the neighborhood that is home to the Calgary Public Library, Studio Bell and Salvation Army.

“It’s another piece in the puzzle of a diverse new community coming together,” said Farrell.

Carya expects some 24,000 people to access the space in the first five years of operating. Commercial space on the ground floor of the building is also available for lease.

Village Commons is expected to open to the public in early 2021.