The City of Calgary has announced its plans to convert three downtown towers into residential housing and hotel units.
One new project was introduced at an event on Wednesday: The Dominion Centre at 665 Eighth St. S.W. in the west end of the core will be refitted to create 132 new homes, with a minimum of 25 per cent to be rented at affordable rates.
Updated plans were also given for two previously announced projects.
A second phase of the Palliser One project at 125 Ninth Ave. S.W. will convert 206,000 square feet of office space into 219 homes.
Together with the first phase, 395 one- or two-bedroom units will be built from vacant space in the Palliser One building, making it the largest office conversion project to date in Calgary.
And the project at 833 Fourth Ave. S.W., a site that was originally approved as an office-to-residential conversion, the PBA Group of Companies has now revised its plans.
The building’s 168,000 square feet of office space will be transformed into the Element by Westin, a long-stay hotel with 226 suites.
“We had built a downtown that worked well at a very specific point in time. That point in time no longer exists,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
“So the more mixed-use we do downtown, the better able we are to combine housing with employment hubs, with recreation and all of the other many, many things people do in their daily routine, the stronger our downtown will become.”
The city invested approximately $50 million into the three projects, compared to a private sector investment of $194 million, according to Gondek.
A total of 17 downtown conversion projects — including 13 active projects and four under review — would create 2,300 new homes.
These are the 13 conversion projects now underway:
- The Cornerstone: 909 Fifth Ave. S.W.
- The Loft: 744 Fourth Ave. S.W.
- Dominion Centre: 665 Eighth Ave. S.W.
- Element Hotel: 833 Fourth Ave. S.W.
- Eau Claire Place I : 525 Third Ave. S.W.
- Barron Building: 610 Eighth Ave. S.W.
- United Place: 804 Fourth Ave. S.W.
- Eau Claire Place II : 521 Third Ave. S.W.
- Neoma 706 Seventh Ave. S.W.
- Palliser One: 125 Ninth Ave. S.W.
- Taylor Building: 805 Eighth Ave. S.W.
- Teck Place: 205 Ninth Ave. S.E.
- Petro Fina Building: 736 Eighth Ave. S.W.
RiverWalk West design competition winner revealed
The winner of the RiverWalk West design competition was also announced on Wednesday.
Landscape architecture company Ground Cubed will see its design refined for the construction of an improved path between East Village and the west end of downtown.
The company’s vision includes an elevated boardwalk, portable saunas and the installation of sculpture art on a gravel bar in the Bow River.
“Right now, the pathway is really impractical. It’s very narrow and not as well-used land as it could be,” said Tamara Marajh, project manager with the City of Calgary.
“We want to bring in more green and bring in those connections to the water. This will be our way of doing that.”
Marajh also said that a jury of experts selected the Ground Cubed design by unanimous decision.
The Future of Stephen Avenue
The city also announced Wednesday it has finished its master plan for the Future of Stephen Avenue project, which will see all 2.1 kilometres of the road redesigned.
Project manager Jenna Matthews said the master plan includes adding shade, improved lighting, additional public seating, and bike racks to the streetscape.
Redesign of the avenue’s east end will prioritize pedestrians and is aimed at attracting foot traffic, while work on the west side will focus on creating everyday amenities for people living in the downtown’s west end neighbourhood, she said.
“It’s an important project for Calgary’s downtown strategy,” said Matthews. “There are many changes coming to our downtown … [this project] is designed to support a revitalized downtown.”
A final budget and timeline for construction have not yet been determined.