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Large bar proposed for 104 Street will have lower capacity than first reported: owners

A developer is applying for a development permit for a pub at 104 Street and 102 Avenue. Julia Wong/Global News

The ownership group currently applying for a development permit to build a large bar on downtown Edmonton’s 104 Street says the size of its hotly-debated proposal has been blown out of proportion.

In a news release Tuesday, Urban Sparq Hospitality Group, which owns other downtown pubs and restaurants including The Pint, said “the larger occupancy numbers often cited over the past two weeks were based on the total square footage of the raw space and does not reflect the designed occupancy of the space.”

Urban Sparq’s Brendan Crooks told Global News that while the code occupancy load is for 600 people, that does not take into account the design of the establishment, which he said would have a maximum capacity of 400.

A number of area residents as well as Coun. Scott McKeen and the Downtown Edmonton Community League, have expressed concerns over building a massive bar on 104 Street.

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“It seems completely out of character for that area,” McKeen told Global News earlier this month.

READ MORE: Controversial 600-person pub proposed for downtown Edmonton

While the area is zoned for pubs with a maximum occupancy load of 100 or less, city administrators have the discretionary power to approve or reject any proposals for larger-occupancy developments.

“We are excited to invest in downtown Edmonton, as we have for the past 10 years, and we want to help contribute to the downtown’s vibrancy as Rogers arena opens this fall,” Brendan Crooks, a senior manager with Urban Sparq, said in a news release Tuesday.

Peter Ohm, the City of Edmonton’s chief city planner, has said city policy in the area gives it a mandate to “introduce some vibrancy” but also said the opinions of area residents and the size of businesses wanting to open there also have to be considered.

“We recognize 104 Street is a special urban community and we want to be good neighbours and help contribute to a bustling street life, while operating as safely and responsibly as possible,” Crooks said in a release.

Urban Sparq has also applied for a development permit for a live music venue able to hold up to 1,400 people on 109 Street and 102 Avenue. Crooks told Global News the 1,400 number was the code occupancy load and that it isn’t yet clear how many people the venue would actually hold after design plans are implemented.

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Tuesday marked the last day for area residents to approach the city’s development office with their concerns about the proposed pub for 104 Street.

The city expects to have a decision on the 104 Street proposal within the next month.

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