With the exterior now complete, Edmonton’s newest skyscraper is beginning to take shape in the east end of downtown.
A special ceremony was held Wednesday to celebrate the milestone in the construction process of the Edmonton Tower.
While the Rogers Place arena will be the centrepiece of the Ice District, a concerted effort to revitalize that portion of the downtown core, the 29-storey Edmonton Tower is also a significant piece of architecture as well as being the Ice District’s first commercial building.
“Downtown is the anchor of the economic vitality of this entire region and this is a big milestone for all of northern Alberta,” Mayor Don Iveson said Wednesday.”It’s going to be a centre for commerce, a centre for governance, a centre for crucial activity in our city.”
“If you look at the architecture of this building, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Glenn Scott, senior vice president of real estate at the Katz Group and the developer for Ice District, said. “The building is about 75 per cent leased already.”
But of that 75 per cent that’s already been leased, 65 per cent will be used by the City of Edmonton while only 10 per cent is taken up by other tenants, although developers say more will come.
“Look at this building – look at the architecture – it’s right at centre ice,” Scott said. “It’s connected to everything Edmontonians want to have in the Ice District. We’re confident it’s going to be 100 per cent leased.”
In total, 613,000 square metres of space is under construction in downtown Edmonton during a time when Alberta’s economy continues to struggle over the collapse of the price of oil. However, at least one developer suggested that it hasn’t hampered the ability to fill what he considers state-of-the-art buildings.
“We’ve been very successful here and also in the Stantec Tower,” WAM Development Group’s Darren Durstling said. “There’s a number of tenants that want a better quality building.”
The Stantec Tower is going up right by the Edmonton Tower along with a hotel and condo complex.
“The shape of the city is changing,” Iveson said. “It’s a wonderful time to be an Edmontonian.”
The City of Edmonton leased space in the Edmonton Tower in order to move 2,300 employees there and the move will allow citizens to access all city services at one location, something city officials believe will improve services and the permit process.
Construction work is expected to continue on the Edmonton Tower for another six months.
-with files from Fletcher Kent