March 14, 2016 7:33 pm
Updated: March 14, 2016 7:37 pm

Northlands site could one day be home to retail and residential space

Conceptual design showing retail and restaurant space at Northlands.

Courtesy, Northlands

EDMONTON — Northlands provided new conceptual designs Monday of what the site could look like when the Edmonton Oilers move out at the end of the hockey season.

Residential and commercial spaces are laid out in the new proposal, which will be presented to city council Tuesday. The new pictures also showcase the possibility for two new hotels – one near the Ice Coliseum that could serve those attending hockey tournaments, and another near the Edmonton Expo Centre that could serve the convention industry.

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It’s all part of Vision 2020, Northlands’ bold plan to redevelop the site when the Oilers and concert industry move on.

READ MORE: New $165M vision for Northlands includes 7-sheet ice facility, outdoor concert space

City Councillor Michael Oshry, who sits on the Northlands board, said the land is a prime piece of real estate because of its proximity to the downtown core and an LRT station. He believes the concept, while lofty, could work.

“It is a really unique piece of land in the sense that it can be a little community that has a little bit of everything,” Oshry said.

“You’ve got to have something that’s viable there and this plan, while really complicated and it’s going to take some time, is in my opinion viable.”

The City of Edmonton owns the land but would not develop it. Instead, portions of the site would be set aside for private development. The profit could then fund part of the three-pronged redevelopment proposal, which includes the seven-sheet ice facility inside the arena, an expanded Hall D inside the Expo Centre and the festival site.

READ MORE: Northlands president asks Edmonton residents to define its future

Oshry said Northlands has been in contact with both retail and commercial developers who have shown interest in the project.

“It’s really complicated, a lot of moving parts,” he said. “Lots of money is going to be needed but it’s a really big opportunity, a really huge opportunity for the city so hopefully there’s a way that we can get it all or some version of it done.”

Fellow city councillor Tony Caterina believes there would be a lot of interest from people who want to live in the area.

“Where it’s located—with the LRT there, with the river valley there, with the medicentre there, with the road systems that are already in place—it’s an ideal location for redevelopment,” Caterina said Monday.

Northlands will present its vision, some of the costs associated with the project and a possible timeline to city council on Tuesday.

“Tomorrow’s decision is, ‘Do we agree or not agree with the vision?’ Preliminary now as it is,” Caterina explained. “And if we do, then the next step is to see what the staging would look like and where the monies would come from.”

Global News recently sat down the Northlands President and CEO Tim Reid to hear his thoughts on the future of the site. You can watch the interview below:

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