An Insider’s View of Downtown – from humble hopefuls to big believers

Tammy Pidner is one of many Edmontonians working behind the scenes building Downtown. Last month she astounded guests when she shared what is happening, and why we should all be very excited, during her presentation at the Downtown Business Association luncheon.

Asked to present on behalf of a group of organizations who have banded together to help our city see past the construction woes and celebrate that Downtown is changing for good, Tammy sees more than the skyline changing. “It grew from a small group of humble hopefuls to a much larger celebration among a group of believers.”

Even the believers were shocked by all the activity. “I had people saying they had no idea so much was happening Downtown, and they work in the core,” said Tammy.

What did Tammy all share in her presentation? Lots, and she couldn’t even include it all. “It’s a wee snippet as we couldn’t possibly cover all of the activity Downtown in a lunch presentation,” said Tammy. When asked if any of it surprised her, she replied, “The growing attention to bicycle commuters. A few years ago there were few facilities for cyclists, now every new initiative includes cycling facilities. It really shows that we’re getting it.”

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Here’s the surprisingly long list of what Tammy’s presentation covered:

8 towers currently under construction:

  • Kelly Ramsey, Edmonton Tower, Stantec Tower, Ice District hotel/condo, Fox Tower 1 (nearly completed), Fox Tower 2, Ultima, Symphony

Other construction underway:

  • Mayfair Village North
  • 10-story mixed use building on 104 Ave and 107 St
  • Hyatt Hotel in The Quarters Downtown
  • Drainage upgrades on 105 Street

Post-secondary expansions:

  • NorQuest College’s Singhmar Centre for Learning
  • MacEwan University’s Centre for Arts and Culture

Changes in how we move:

  • Bike parking spaces: 65 at Edmonton City Centre, 200 at Kelly Ramsey, 135 at Edmonton Tower, 360 at Stantec Tower, 73 at NorQuest College
  • Construction of Valley Line LRT begins 2016

Improvements to existing buildings:

  • KRP building (old ATB headquarters)
  • 8 of 13 Downtown hotels are being renovated
  • Edmonton City Centre Mall
  • Recently opened Federal Building and Legislature Grounds, tying into Capital Boulevard

Entertainment/amenities coming Downtown:

  • Royal Alberta Museum
  • Grand Villa Casino – replacing the Baccarat and will be 2.5 times larger
  • New Cineplex VIP Cinemas and UltraAVX in Ice District
  • Catalyst Theatre and Rapid Fire Theatre moved downtown
  • Citadel Theatre – new Marquis facing Churchill Square

Recent/upcoming additions to the Downtown food scene:

  • Black Pearl
  • Freshii
  • 2 new coffee shops – Coffee Bureau and Lock Stock Coffee
  • Da Capo – KRP building
  • Corso – new pasta restaurant
  • Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen
  • Joey’s by the Bell Tower
  • Hudson’s moving to 109 St.
  • State & Main

Looking ahead – some of the “top of mind” projects coming Downtown include:

  • Alex Decoteau Park – construction starts 2016
  • Encore Tower – target completion of 2020
  • Augustana Church redevelopment – target completion of 2018
  • Jasper House – target completion of 2018/19
  • Healy Ford 3-tower redevelopment – target completion of 2018-2020
  • Edmonton Public Library renovations – starts 2017

 

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