City council is being asked to rezone the old Southpark car dealership land, to allow for a multi tower development along Whyte Avenue. The complaint against it is, it’ll be too tall and will block out sunlight.
The tallest tower, which will be fronting 81 Avenue to the south is proposed to be 10 storeys. In front, on Whyte Ave is a four storey building which fits the rules. It’s the height of the 10 storeys that bothers Coun. Ben Henderson.
“It’s going to cast shadow, we’ve always known that but what’s being proposed behind it right now is going to cut two weeks off the shoulder seasons [at the beginning and end of winter],” Henderson said. “I’m suggesting that a good test for what the height behind it could be would be that you don’t increase that shadow.”
“I think the Mezzo actually achieved that. I’m not sure that this building does.”
Stantec’s Simon O’Bryne told council in his presentation to Monday’s public hearing that the tall towers are needed.
“The trouble is, it’s not really economically viable because you can’t do the fourteen and a half metre building and have ground floor retail that’s six metres and then really leaves you with enough room to really do two floors above.”
“Because Whyte avenue is so exceptionally wide, to create an outdoor living room to really frame the street for pedestrians, ideally because of the width of the street, you really need facades that are really taller than even four storeys, preferably six storeys to create that outdoor living room effect.”
O’Byrne said the design takes into account goals of Edmonton’s Winter City Initiative, and would create an on street patio that can be used year round as a benefit to Whyte Avenue life.
The proposal also calls for 81 Avenue to be redesigned, bringing back a boulevard mid-avenue instead of the concrete that was put there in the 1970s. It would also replace angle parking with parallel parking and so trees can be added.
The Old Strathcona Business Association is in favour of the proposal because of the increased residential density it’ll bring to the area. The Old Strathcona Community League is against it because of the change in architectural character it’ll create.