Eyesore no longer: development plans released on empty Whyte Avenue lot

EDMONTON — Development plans were released Tuesday for a long standing empty lot on Whyte Avenue.

The building will be constructed on a piece of land at 82nd Avenue and 105th Street that has sat empty since an Esso gas station was torn down in 1998.

The Raymond Block will be six storeys, with a total of 132,000 square feet. Twenty one thousand square feet will be for retail space, 50,000 square feet will be designed for office space, and there will be 96 residential rental suites.

Calgary-based developer Westford Developments is confident in the project despite the downturn in the economy.

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“I think retailers and office tenants will recognize that they cannot get in this location no matter what is going on in the economy,” said Kendal Harazny, Principal, Westford Developments.

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“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to secure a location on a prime corner of Whyte Avenue.”

Last year, city council unanimously approved the development. Construction is dependant on the signing of retail and office tenants.

READ MORE: Potential sale of parking lot land concerns Whyte Avenue businesses, customers

The design will maintain the aesthetic of Old Strathcona which includes making Whyte Avenue more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.

One Old Strathcona retailer is pleased to see the development proceed, but is concerned the focus will be on attracting national chains instead of independent retailers.

A date hasn’t been confirmed on the start of construction.

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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