The site of the old casino is already properly zoned, according to Tim Shipton, senior vice-president for Katz Group/Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), but approval from the city is needed to rezone the lands north of Rogers Place for the other nine towers.
Shipton said all 12 towers could have up to 4,000 residential units and range in height between 10 to 12 storeys and 40 storeys. There would be retail and commercial space in the first few levels of the towers; there would also be a public green space and pedestrian promenade in the development.
“Phase 2 is more focused on creating a residential face in the downtown core, bringing more people, more families into the downtown core,” Shipton said.
“The focus with Phase 2 is doing something extraordinary for the city and pushing development north of 104 Avenue into an area that really is right for development, lots of pent-up demand in that area for development.”
Phase 1 included Rogers Place, the Stantec Tower and the J.W. Marriott Hotel. The concept for Phase 2 was first brought up in 2017 but the plans were shelved for a couple of reasons, according to Shipton.
“I would say, between ensuring we get Ice District Phase 1 launched successfully and some shifting market realities, that it was wise to get a breath on Phase 2,” he said.
LISTEN BELOW: Downtown Business Association president Ian O’Donnell joins the Ryan Jespersen Show
Shipton said the time is now appropriate to forge ahead.
The plans for Phase 2 are still conceptual and open to changes, but Shipton said the towers would gradually increase in height towards downtown.
He also disagreed with concerns the plans would put too many tall towers in a concentrated area.
“Based on where we see the economy going, demographics of the city of Edmonton, the need to enhance the residential base in the downtown core, that over the right period of time, downtown can absorb that amount of development,” Shipton said.
“And again, we get the design right, developing welcoming public spaces that will be a place people want to live.”
Shipton is also confident there will be demand for the thousands of new residential units.
“The city’s ready for it. We think that area is ripe for development. We’re not saying we’re going to put 4,000 units on the market tomorrow. Certainly [it’s] going to be spread out over several years.”
Shipton stressed there will be lots of outreach, conversations with stakeholders and the potential that the project will evolve with feedback from the community.
Dan Eckel, vice president of the Central McDougall Community League, said there have been many conversations with the Katz Group over the last few years. He supports the vision of 12 towers outlined in the Phase 2 plans.
“I think it’s a good idea. We have to start looking at stopping the urban sprawl in Edmonton,” he said.
“We’re going in the right direction. They have some really neat concepts they’re trying to put forward.”
However, Eckel said there have been some concern from residents about parking and what type of units will be included in the development.
“My understanding is they are leaning towards less cars being used and so on. We already have a huge parking issue in our community so that’s one of the things we’ll be watching,” he said.
No date has been set yet for a public hearing.
WATCH BELOW: We’re getting a better idea of what the land north of Rogers Place could look like in the future. Vinesh Pratap filed this report in June 2017.