There was a time when I believed that I would need to move to a bigger city like Vancouver, Toronto, or even Calgary in order to find a great job and improved quality of life. Experiencing the changes that have happened and are happening in Edmonton has changed my mind over the past few years. I am excited about the changes that are happening in our city, especially the changing face of Edmonton’s urban core.
104th Street & Jasper Avenue
New life has been breathed into a street that until a couple of years ago was derelict and barren. The City Centre Market, along with the new Icon Towers and other condo developments in the area have brought a new sense of cool to the district. The addition of a Sobey’s urban market and many non-chain stores and vendors also adds to the character of the street (Blue Plate Diner, Credo Coffee, Carbon, deVine Wines, and the soon to be re-opened and re-located Bistro Praha).
Jasper Avenue & 109th Street
The construction of new residential and commercial development will change the face of a corner that has been dominated by a derelict Mayfair Hotel and a less than desirable Oil City Roadhouse.
Today’s formal launch of phase one of ProCura Real Estate’s innovative 708-unit Mayfair Village apartment complex at the southeast corner of 109th Street and Jasper Avenue has been years in the making.
When it’s finished, the stylish twin-tower complex — which will eventually stretch an entire block east to 108th Street — will house some 900 residents, bringing new life to a blighted stretch of the main drag long dominated by the derelict Mayfair Hotel and a drab surface parking lot next door.
The proximity to the Corona LRT station and the kitty-corner Save-On Foods could make this a pretty cool corner to live on.
The LRT is finally being extended and downtown Edmonton will be the connector in the spokes of the proposed LRT routes to west to Lewis Estates, southeast to Mill Woods, and north to NAIT (and eventually northwest to St. Albert). This development of this kind of critical transportation infrastructure is overdue for our City and I am excited to see our urban train system grow!
Jasper Avenue between 109th and 124th Street.
There is life in the Oliver, Grandin, and Railtown neighbourhoods of downtown. There is life because there are people living here. I believe that the neighbourhood could do with more densification and less above ground parking lots. Who needs a single family home when you can live in the most densified area of the City with the North Saskatchewan River Valley as your backyard?
Downtown Arena District
I was initially excited about the potential for a real debate about how this proposal could shape our downtown, but since Daryl Katz’s company launched the proposal, they have engaged in little real debate on the issue and instead have created a slick political and public relations campaign geared towards convincing Edmontonians need a downtown arena. There remains many debatable questions about what kind of effect a downtown arena would actually have on the area and one of the largest unanswered questions: who would pay for it.
City Centre Airport Lands
Alex Abboud has a great post about the potential residential development for lands currently used by the City Centre Airport, which is entering a phased closure. With the debate around the future of the lands having finally been settled by City Councillors in July 2009 a huge parcel of land in Edmonton’s urban core will be opened up for development.
Edmontonians living in the urban core face some unique challenges such as the closure of inner city schools and crime. As a resident of the urban core and a younger Edmontian, I share the perspective of a growing number of younger professionals and creative-types who believe that Edmonton is a place to be. The changes that are happening in Edmonton’s urban core make me excited about how we will shape our city over the next five to ten years.
Tomorrow I will post a list of some of the main challenges I feel are facing downtown Edmonton.
(In March 2010, I created a photo collection of Jasper Avenue from 98th Street to 124th Street)