Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood is filled with sandstone buildings and hundred-year-old homes — but now there are plans for a 50-metre condo tower in the city’s oldest neighbourhood that have some residents upset.
“A 50-metre building, according to the developer, will be like a landmark gateway to the community but it will actually be an eyesore to the community,” said Phil Levson, president of the Inglewood Community Association, on Saturday.
“It doesn’t fit. The pure height of the building is not in any kind of historical context.”
The project is called the Grid and would be located on a former gas station site just off 17 Avenue S.E. by 19 Street S.E. The proposed building would be 16 storeys. The current standard height under the Area Redevelopment Plan is six storeys.
Residents who protested against the development on Saturday said they’re not anti-development and would be in favour of more mid-rise buildings like the ones already in the neighbourhood.
“It feels like the city has an agenda because this is going to be a transit stop — they want to have density,” said resident Fiona McKenzie. “It’s not that were opposed to density but we would like to have some discussions and be engaged.”
Proponents of the project said it’s a great fit for Inglewood because it will be close to a new Bus Rapid Transit station and it fills a hole in an area that is dominated by automotive businesses and parking lots.
Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra believes there is a compelling case for the developer but said he’s also sympathetic to the community’s angst about the change.
“My question to them when you stand on the street: do you really know whether it’s 16 storeys or 12 storeys? That doesn’t really matter. The person on the street is much more focused on the quality of the public realm,” Carra said.
“This is density where density belongs and it interfaces with the community in all the ways you could possibly want.”
Council approved the tower in principle on Dec. 10. Second and third readings are being withheld pending the results of talks between the province, city and airport authority in making exemptions to the airport vicinity protection area regulation.
Those regulations limit development in the flight path, so the tower would not be allowed under current regulations.