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Edmonton City Council to consider 2 more downtown tower projects

Artist's rendering of a proposed high-rise tower for 104 Street in Edmonton.
Artist's rendering of a proposed high-rise tower for 104 Street in Edmonton. Taken from https://www.edmonton.ca

The head of the Downtown Edmonton Community League never has a shortage of proposed projects to consider.

Chris Buyze says he sees “six to eight applications at any one time.”

City council will vote on two of them on Wednesday afternoon.

“There seems to be a new momentum downtown, and in Oliver and the surrounding neighbourhoods for more buildings like this,” Buyze said.

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Both a proposal for a high-rise, mixed-use development along 104 Street north of Jasper Avenue, and a double high-rise tower project along Jasper Avenue at the corner of 108 Street are being endorsed by city planning staff.

“We are seeing proposals that are much more dense than we even saw 10 years ago,” Buyze said. “That’s kind of a shift in the market.

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“Land prices continue to go up as downtown becomes more desirable.”

Buyze credits the new Oilers arena and Ice District for luring institutional investors to the area, wanting to meet a specific demand.

Watch below: (From June 6, 2019) Edmonton city councillors debated the merits of three different high-rise proposals on Thursday. As Sarah Kraus reports, developers were given the green light to go ahead with two of the projects.

Edmonton City Council approves proposals for 2 new high-rise buildings
Edmonton City Council approves proposals for 2 new high-rise buildings

“There’s also a shift towards more rental, and those buildings tend to be a little bit larger,” he said. “There’s concern that we could have too many of these proposals saturate the market, but in the case of most of the proposals that are happening right now, they are mostly rental and there seems to be a pent-up demand for that kind of building.”

The proposed Mackenzie Tower by Urban Capital is zoned for approximately 38 storeys. It would have a brick facade to match the surrounding feel of the block, and the podium would be three storeys to match the other buildings next door, which are five storeys tall.

This development brought attention to the Blue Plate Diner which will look for a new location.

READ MORE: Proposed condo puts future of popular Edmonton diner in doubt

Watch below: (From Aug. 29, 2018) Opinions are mixed about a development proposed for downtown Edmonton. As Julia Wong reports, if the development goes through, it could see a popular restaurant be forced to move.

Proposed high-rise development in downtown Edmonton has people divided
Proposed high-rise development in downtown Edmonton has people divided

“Generally, what I’m hearing from residents, is reservations about some of the designs, but they’re generally positive about further development in the core,” Buyze said. “I think there’s concern on 104 Street in terms of the significant heritage nature of the block, and now, the new proposal affects the east side of 104 Street.

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“It essentially hasn’t changed in 100 years. If you look at historic photos and look at it today, it’s pretty much the same as it was, and then that’s married with a lot of new development within the last decade or so.”

The two high-rise towers for 108 Street are being brought forward by Pangman Development Corporation, John Day Developments and Maclab Development Group. Buyze said the district park between 106 and 107 streets, just north of the Boston Pizza, is what’s driving interest in the warehouse area of downtown.

They would be 45 and 35 storeys, with an 11-storey building connecting the two. Just over 1,000 residential units would make up the project, including 24 three-bedroom, “family-oriented dwellings.”

“That’s certainly a choice the developer has, in terms of the community amenity contribution, to put it towards family-friendly units,” Buyze said. “I think there’s a few developers that are betting there are families that want to live next to that park.

“In fact. we see some developers proposing more than the city is even requiring for three-bedroom units.”

City council approved a land expropriation in January to make the park happen.

City planners in June held an open house for the Warehouse Campus Neighbourhood Central Park as they work to develop it. Construction is set to begin in 2021.

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READ MORE: City pushes for expropriation to build large park in downtown Edmonton

Watch below: (From June 4, 2019) It promises to be another gathering place in downtown Edmonton but with lots of grass and greenery. Vinesh Pratap has an update on plans to bring a new park to the heart of Alberta’s capital.

Plan to bring new park to downtown Edmonton moving forward
Plan to bring new park to downtown Edmonton moving forward