Edmonton’s skyline is already changing as downtown revitalization and the development of the Ice District around the city’s new arena continues.
However, a new building being proposed just east of downtown, would dwarf anything that has come before it.
On Monday evening, dozens of Edmontonians gathered at an open house allowing them to sneak a glance at artists’ renderings of a development being proposed for The Quarters that – if approved – would see the building become the tallest in Alberta’s capital.
The vision of Alldritt Land Corporation and architect Brad Kennedy is a 280-metre high, 80-storey mixed-use tower, tentatively being called The Quarters Hotel and Residences, which would would be located on the south side of Jasper Avenue, just east of the Shaw Conference Centre.
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“We’re setting new height standards in our city and I think some people are fearful of that,” Kennedy said Monday.
“The feedback on height is more around the shadowing effects of a building of this magnitude – and placing it on the south side of this neighbourhood…and the effects on existing properties,” Travis Pawlyk, a senior planner with the City of Edmonton, said.
The proposed development would require council to make several zoning bylaw amendments to accommodate its ambitious height and the fact it would partially intrude on river valley land.
The building’s architect said public access to the river valley building would still be possible because plans include the development of a publicly accessible green space overlooking the river.
Coun. Scott McKeen attended the open house and suggested the skyscraper would need to meet a tall list of criteria to get the OK from the city.
“At the end of the day, it has to be (that) the positives for Edmonton outweigh everything else,” he said.
Just last month, the city approved zoning changes allowing for the construction of a new arts facility near where the tower is being proposed. The Artists Quarters building would be located at the corner of 102A Avenue and 96 Street. One area artist said she was concerned if the The Quarters Hotel and Residences gets a green light, the artists’ facility may lose sight of the river.
“Having a huge, hulking tower blocking the sun and blocking the view – which was one of the selling features of convincing people to live in this area – really disturbs me,” Shirley Serviss said.
Some citizens who attended the open house expressed interest in the developer’s plans, however.
“I think for the most part it’s a positive thing,” Ryan Duggan, an area resident, said. “I think that this area, in general, needs something to make it come alive.”
He hoped the project could be a catalyst for future development in The Quarters.
Edmonton city councillors are expected to debate whether to amend zoning bylaws and allow the building to go ahead later this fall.
In order for the development to go ahead, the developer said it would require two vacant apartment buildings to be demolished.
Currently, the Epcor Tower is Edmonton’s tallest building at nearly 150 metres.
-with files from Sarah Kraus
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