Boyle Street Community Services is celebrating 50 years in Edmonton, so it seems fitting that on its golden anniversary, the organization gets a golden opportunity.
Plans are underway to renovate a property not far from the existing centre downtown, after a major deal with the Oilers Entertainment Group.
“We’re incredibly excited. It’s been a long journey six years in the making,” said Jordan Reiniger, Boyle Street Community Services’ executive director.
The new facility is on 10010-107 A Avenue — two blocks north of Boyle Street’s current one near Rogers Place.
Over the years, the building has been used for many different purposes, including offices for the Edmonton Public School Board, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and an indoor paintball facility.
“We had very specific criteria,” Reiniger said.
“Our community members really said we need to be in this area, so there’s only so many properties that exist in the certain area that will work for Boyle Street.”
After finding the perfect property, Boyle Street approached the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG).
“We’ve been working with them for many, many years, and most notably, since OEG and Oilers moved to our new location at Rogers Place,” said Natalie Minkler, executive director for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF).
OEG agreed to buy Boyle Street’s current property for $5 million — the appraised value of the building.
The EOCF donated another $10 million toward the $28.5-million total for the centre.
“Since we moved downtown from the Coliseum to Rogers Place, they’ve been great neighbours, great partners,” said Tim Shipton, executive vice president of corporate affairs for OEG.
“It was very clear that facility was not the facility to sustain them in the long term.”
The donation was made possible through Albertans who supported the EOCF 50/50 program.
“It is so exciting,” Minkler said.
“We were able to use our 50/50 dollars generated to make this significant contribution.”
The EOCF has invested more than $66 million into the community since 2001. The Boyle Street donation is the largest single donation in the history of the foundation.
The building sits on a two-and-a-half-acre piece of land which includes a 38-unit apartment building.
It also features a basement and a large outdoor space.
Indigenous culture will inform the facility’s design.
Jordan Reiniger noted more than 75 per cent of the people who access Boyle Street’s services are Indigenous.
“People often feel perpetually like they’re trespassers in their own city. They’re asked to move along, there’s really no place that they can be and just belong.
“The most exciting thing for us is that we’re going to create a beautiful building that’s for them.”
“All the programs and services we have at our current facility will come over here, but we’ll just be able to do it in a much better way.”
Construction is set to being early next year and is scheduled to wrap in the summer or fall of 2023.