Edmonton city council approves developer’s plan to build towers on 99 Street in Old Strathcona

A revised planning application has been received to rezone the Bateman Lands on 99 Street in the Strathcona neighbourhood, which includes a plan amendment and partial lane closure. Supplied: City of Edmonton/Bateman Properties

The developers looking to build 15- and 18-storey towers in Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona neighbourhood have been given approval to do so even though the area is zoned for only medium-height buildings.

On Monday night, councillors voted to approve an amendment to the Strathcona Area Redevelopment Plan bylaw in order to allow for the two-building, mixed-use development to go ahead at the northwest corner of 99 Street and 89 Avenue. The bylaw amendment caps the height of the east building at 54 metres and the west building at 63 metres.

In the amendment, council said it decided to allow for rezoning of the site “due to the built form of each building being comprised with a podium and associated stepbacks that provide for a transition in height with the surrounding residential area with the podiums reflecting proportions, materials, mass and height of existing structures.”

READ MORE: Strathcona development application revised from 1 tall tower to 2 shorter ones

Watch below: In the fall of 2017, there was a large turnout at an open house as Edmontonians sought to learn more about a rezoning proposal that would let developers build a 31-storey tower at 89 Avenue and 99 Street.

Click to play video: 'Edmontonians go to open house for proposed high-rise in Old Strathcona' Edmontonians go to open house for proposed high-rise in Old Strathcona
Edmontonians go to open house for proposed high-rise in Old Strathcona – Mar 23, 2017

High-rises in that part of Old Strathcona are normally not permitted to be higher than six storeys, but council’s decision makes an exception and allows for more height for this development.

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Initially the Bateman Lands tower proposal was for a 31-storey tower with 240 suites, commercial space on the main floor, underground and bicycle parking. But concerns were raised about the height of the building during the public consultation process and the development proposal was tweaked.

“Since our initial proposal presentation and community open houses, we have reviewed the feedback and actively listened to the community,” the Bateman Properties, which is working with ONE Properties on the project, wrote on its website in November. “We have reviewed the proposed zone and have accomplished a significant amount of work to improve the level of design detail.

“The new schematic design will reflect the community’s preference for a reduction in height while still preserving the same floor area density,” the company added. “We look forward to sharing renderings of the revised design with you soon.”

READ MORE: Edmonton councillors vote to let developer build up – way up – on Whyte Avenue

Watch below: On March 20, 2017, Vinesh Pratap filed this report after Edmonton city councillors gave given the green light to a proposed high-rise and low-rise development on Whyte Avenue.

Click to play video: 'City council gives green light to Southpark on Whyte proposal' City council gives green light to Southpark on Whyte proposal
City council gives green light to Southpark on Whyte proposal – Mar 20, 2017

City planners had expressed support for the site because they said it allows for “integration of higher densities in a manner that is compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood.” They also said it “supports a diversity of housing options and provides a positive reinvestment opportunity at an underutilized existing neighbourhood commercial node that’s well supported by transit.”

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City councillors also voted to partially close a back lane west of 99 Street and north of 89 Avenue that currently that currently runs between the Wild Earth Bakery and what used to be a trio of other businesses.

Global News has reached out to Ben Henderson, the councillor for the area, for comment on the development.

-With files from Emily Mertz

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