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Tallest tower in the west could become part of Edmonton’s skyline

EDMONTON – A local developer is reaching for the sky, hoping to add the second tallest building in the country to the heart of Edmonton.

If Edmonton-based BCM Developments has its way, the building – dubbed The Edmontonian – would stand 71 stories tall, or 278 metres.

For nearly 30 years, the tallest building in Edmonton was Manulife Place, which stands at 146 metres. In 2011, it lost its title to the 149-metre EPCOR tower. This new building would dwarf both of them.

What is now a parking lot at the corner of 101 Street and 105 Avenue, just north of the the city’s future downtown arena, is slated to be the future home of the colossal tower.

It would house a five-star hotel, restaurant, bar, condo and some office suites, even sky gardens. The building would also be lit with LED and laser lights.

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Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.
Plans for The Edmontonian, which would be the tallest tower in western Canada. Courtesy: Hartwig Architecture.

An architecture firm out of Sherwood Park is behind the project, and believes that if you’re going to build a new building, you might as well go big.

“When you get up to the 70 stories and 80 stories, you’re talking New York. And we’re not New York, we don’t have the density, we don’t have the population – but I think in our own little way, this tower will really create some excitement downtown,” said Terry Hartwig, CEO of Hartwig Architecture.

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It’s not the only big project in the works. According to Scott Mackie, the City of Edmonton’s Manager of Current Planning, there are six towers in different phases of development, and even more developers looking to get in the ground.

“It’s a very busy time for us, we’re having a lot of discussions and meetings with perspective developers and landowners that are all about ideas,” Mackie said.

Part of the credit goes to the closure of the City Centre Airport, which is eliminating many of the height restrictions that had been in place for the downtown core.

“I think you’re going to see some courageous developers bust through what was traditionally a plateau of what you could build in this city,” Brad Ferguson, CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation said.

It could still be a number of years before The Edmontonian would go up, since there are still a number of steps that need to be taken – including rezoning the land, and getting the proper development and building permits.

But Hartwig believes that once it’s up, the sky’s the limit.

“Perhaps The Edmontonian will be one of the smaller buildings, who knows!”

With files from Tom Vernon, Global News

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