The University of Alberta is establishing itself in Edmonton’s downtown core by opening an expanded space at Enterprise Square.
University staff have worked in the building for years, but recent renovations allow for an additional 500 people – double the occupancy — to work in the space at Jasper Avenue and 103 Street.
Departments including external relations, human resources, shared services, continuing education and research services will occupy the new space.
“The external relations team is thrilled to be working downtown – Enterprise Square is a perfect fit for our team,” Elan MacDonald, the university’s vice-president of external relations, said in a news release issued Tuesday. “I am proud that we can contribute to the revitalization of downtown Edmonton and support the downtown recovery task force.
“Our team is excited to be part of the downtown community and look forward to deepening our connections.”
The former Hudson’s Bay building first opened in 1939, with the university taking possession in 2005 thanks to help from the municipal, provincial and federal governments.
The decision to move staff downtown is critical to the revitalization of downtown core, especially after a few hard years during the pandemic, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said during a news conference Tuesday.
“You’re really walking the talk… investing in downtown has really been so important,” he said.
“The downtown is a physical place but the lifeblood is the people,” said Ward O-day’min Coun. Anne Stevenson. “When the (COVID-19) pandemic hit, we lost that – we lost that lifeblood. And the heart of downtown just stopped.”
Stevenson and Sohi both mentioned the city’s efforts to help heal and revitalize the city’s downtown after the pandemic, and said it’s organizations like the University of Alberta that are helping to bring life back into the heart of the city.