Calgary’s iconic Eau Claire Market Shopping Centre will be closing next year to make way for a new Green Line LRT station.
The City of Calgary said it has reached an agreement with Harvard Developments to acquire the land for a future underground station at 2 Avenue S.W., according to a Wednesday morning release.
The city said the agreement with Harvard Developments includes both purchases of the land for the station and the lease of additional land for use during the construction period.
Harvard Developments is a real estate company that owns the Eau Claire Market Shopping Centre.
“(The station) is a temporary terminus. It’s also downtown… Having the Green Line be a catalyst for change in the neighbourhood is pretty significant,” said Darshpreet Bhatti, chief executive officer of Green Line LRT.
“There are temporary changes that people will have to make because the market will no longer be there, but it’s also spurring the density and mixed-use that we want in our downtown.
“Eau Claire is a very interesting place with a lot of things you can do with your family… We’re bringing all of this together with a link.”
The mall will remain open until mid-Q2 next year. After that, the building will be turned over to the city for demolition to start station construction and future development.
Two restaurants in the area, JOEY Eau Claire and LOCAL Public Eatery, will be unaffected by the demolition.
“We are absolutely thrilled that we’ve been able to come to conclusion on these discussions with the City of Calgary and the Green Line team,” Blaisdell told Global News.
“This piece of infrastructure represents a major milestone in the development of this project. It creates a very significant and important downtown stop.
“Having a piece of infrastructure that connects all Calgarians to downtown… We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Blaisdell said the company advised tenants of the project at an information session earlier this week.
Blaisdell said there will be a redevelopment once the Green Line station is built, including a “large” residential component.
However, the redevelopment isn’t expected to start anytime soon.
Harvard Developments said the next phase of the project will include planning applications to reflect the new station. An updated land use redesignation plan, area redevelopment plan and a subdivision application have already been submitted to the city for review.
“The site will be a mixed-use site, which will include a strong residential development and a strong commercial development. We see that happening over a period of time,” Blaisdell said.
Karen Kimmel, owner of San <K> Tjuri Buks, said it’s been a struggle operating a business in the mall. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with construction in the area, meant customers were few and far between.
Kimmel said she knew about the plans to demolish the mall but the news still came as a shock to her.
“We found out last night at 5:30,” Kimmel said.
“We need a couple of days to figure out where to go next. There isn’t a big market for secondhand bookstores so we need to figure out what to do next.
“Thankfully they gave us a year and a half to be able to plan… At least they gave us the opportunity to relocate and move forward.”
Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong said the area has the potential to become a hub for the downtown area.
“This is not only an area for transit to downtown, but it’s also a great gathering space,” he said, noting that Prince’s Island and commercial areas are nearby.
“There’s a lot of different opportunities we are looking forward to.
“Eau Claire residents want to see more residential spaces than commercial… What we need to do is to ensure there is a transition between active commercial areas and residential areas.”