Arena district sparking ‘historic’ development in Edmonton core

Watch above: In the past 24 hours, developers have announced a new commercial tower and a luxury condo complex. Fletcher Kent examines area district development.

EDMONTON – A new commercial tower has been announced for the Edmonton downtown arena district, less than a day after Toronto’s “condo king” shared his vision for the city’s core.

Brad Lamb, a high-profile realtor and developer who had his own HGTV reality show, is planning to build Jasper House: a 36-storey luxury condo complex on 106 Street just north of Jasper Avenue.

“I think that people in Edmonton are ready to live in the city to a higher extent than they are now. And I think the arena district is a huge catalyst for this,” he said.

One feature of the complex that might surprise you: an outdoor pool.

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Sketch of proposed outdoor pool at the Jasper House condo complex.
Sketch of proposed outdoor pool at the Jasper House condo complex. Supplied

Lamb’s building isn’t the only sign of growth in the area. Stantec has just announced a partnership with the Katz Group and WAM Development to build a new commercial tower in the arena district. The tower will house the design company’s global headquarters.

“With the Stantec announcement today, we’re going to have three new high-rise commercial buildings under construction in 2014. That’s historic,” said Jim Taylor of the Downtown Business Association (DBA).

The DBA notes there will be at least three commercial high rises under construction this year, not to mention all the condos going up.

“I’m not surprised, I’m thrilled,” Taylor said.

“This new high rise…Jasper House, is not really in the arena district, it’s on 106th street but it’s already extending that arena district out, further and further. And that’s what we said would happen and it’s happening.”

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A DBA report had predicted there would be roughly $5 billion of construction projects in the downtown core over five years. A good chunk of that is already underway, and Rogers Place only broke ground in March.

“I think we’re going to see a lot more announcements in the next couple years,” said Chris Buyze of the Downtown Edmonton Community League.

Lamb, for one, thinks Edmonton has room for up to 40 high-rises over the next decade. He already has plans to later build a second tower, that one 40 stories tall, at the northeast corner of 106 Street and 103 Avenue.

One bedroom units in the Jasper House complex are expected to start at $239,900, and the two top floor penthouses will likely go for more than $1.5 million each. He expects that the units will go for sale in October. Construction won’t start until at least late 2015.

Stantec hasn’t said when it hopes to start work on its tower.

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News