Seven Edmonton City Building Projects I'm excited for in 2023

There's a lot of positive energy in Edmonton at the moment.

Over the Council recess, I jotted down seven Edmonton projects that I'm excited for in 2023. Some big, some small. Some Public, some private. Some breaking ground, some cutting ribbons.

As a disclaimer, this is very much a personal list of projects that from neighbourhood conversations that I feel have been overlooked or underrated. I didn't have a particular matrix or scorecard, but decided to profile these projects because I think they represent incremental improvements. Each in their own way will have a positive impact on our community, economic, climate, culture, or urban planning goals as we continue to build an Edmonton for everyone!

As I listen to friends in Toronto, Vancouver, or other cities bemoan the high cost of living, housing, and the long commute times, I can't help but smile at the incredible quality of life we are able to provide. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be in 2023!

I invite you to share your own projects that get you excited!

1. Station Park

You might have noticed the construction on the southeast corner of the Whyte Ave and Gateway intersection. Station Park is underway and anticipating a late Spring/Early Summer 2023 grand opening at Station Park. As someone who loves a casual stroll down the avenue, with my family and friends, this station will certainly become a destination in and of itself. It's unique. It's mixed-use. It's a bit experimental. You can see an instagram video here with more about the concept. There's exciting work ahead with the public realm strategy that will continue to keep Whyte ave welcoming, weird and wonderful. Now we just need the railway to approve a safe crossing behind Station Park on 80th avenue to welcome more friends from West Ritchie (TBD).

Learn more: stationparkyeg.com



2. The Pleasantview Dog Park (61st ave 111st to 109st):
The social return on investment of dog parks is enormous.
As part of the Pleasantview neighbourhood renewal process, this dog park opening remains on schedule with a planned completion date of December 2023. We had a lot of fun with the Braithwaite Dog Park opening in Garneau this year, and I know that this new park will be come a community anchor for dogs and their owners across the Southgate area.

We need to continue to get creative and reimagine flexible use of outdoor public spaces, including dog parks. We must move forward with the small and incremental improvements that dramatically increase community connection and livability, such as local parks and recreation opportunities. Many neighbourhood dog owners function as a "neighbourhood watch" and help keep an eye out for one another and trouble in the neighbourhood.


3. The forever home of Rapid Fire Theatre

I've been a long-time fan of RFT since my time organizing student outings as a Residence Leader at the University of Alberta - some of our best evenings and late night laughs! I'm thrilled that Rapid Fire Theatre will have a new forever home in the historic Telus Exchange Building. Last year I had the opportunity to tour the new Roxy Theatre on 124th street, and it was impressive. However, upon reviewing plans and based on what I experienced on a site visit in the fall, this space will rival the Roxy!

Live improv thrives on an exchange between audience and performer. In 2021, Rapid Fire signed a 40-year lease with TELUS for the former museum space. We have already begun the renovations to turn this former museum into an inclusive, purpose-built improv theatre. We are excited to uphold the tradition of this space as a hub for storytelling, communication, and exchange.

The space consists of two main areas: an upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs includes a 160-seat theatre designed specifically for intimate improv performances, a lobby, bar & concession, box office, public washrooms, a mindfulness room, and backstage areas including an artist lounge and dressing rooms.

The basement is where truly transformative programming takes place. This includes a smaller flexible performance and classroom space where we will offer public improv workshops, corporate team-building retreats, and our inner-city youth outreach program. The basement will also feature a students’ lounge, offices for our staff, and much-needed storage areas.

Read More and make a donation: https://rapidfiretheatre.com/forever-home/


4. The Garneau Project

As a Garneau resident and someone who used to live next door to this site, I'm excited about the density and energy that these new residents in two new towers that will bring to the University and Garneau area. The U of A really is the magnet for so many new visitors and future residents in our city, and from an urban planning perspective, one of our best bets for helping people live urban and less car-dependent lifestyles. This project is Steps from the LRT, transit system, river valley, and university campus.

This kind of density fits the context of the community and was passed with the support of the Garneau neighbourhood community league as well as city councillors. An excellent example of collaborative planning. I have to say, 112st street is buzzing these days with a few more projects, restaurants, and amenities underway nearby, like this one, replacing the blight that were a row of parking lots. Now, we just need to make sure more three and four bedroom family-friendly units are in the mix for any future developments.

Towers Specs

  • 6,600 sq.ft. of modest commercial retail space (fronting 112th street)
  • 188,000 sq.ft. of student residencies (175 units)
  • 267,000 sq.ft. of market apartment units (260 units)
  • 12 single-family townhomes

Learn more: https://www.maclabdevelopment.com/our-work/vertical-projects-3/garneau-project-9/


5. The Terwillegar Drive, 142nd Street Bridge, and adjacent active transportation pathways

The Terwillegar drive separated active transportation pathway and Rainbow valley bridge unlocks 60,000 potential cyclists in Southwest Edmonton who will be able to bike on a separated protected pathway from the Henday, over the Whitemud, past Rainbow Valley and connect to the University of Alberta or Downtown. When I lived in Hodgeson, I would have loved increased connectivity options like this path.

With thousands of young families (and many seniors) in southwest Edmonton, this offers the kind of safe, separated pathways that can help everyone live more active! It’s now anticipated that the bridge will start construction in 2023 or 2024. Further details will be provided as construction schedules for both the bridge and Stage Two are refined.

Learn more: https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/terwillegar_drive/142-street-pedestrian-cyclist-bridge


6. Michener Park

Ground has broken and work is underway towards a new multi-family, medium density mixed-use development of commercial and residential. Earlier this year, I was interviewed by CTV and shared about how this new development could help generate wealth, refill a derelict site, and contribute to keeping local neighbourhood schools open. The plans also contemplate a grocery store-- a much needed asset for the area.

Michael Janz, Ward Papastew Councillor, said he’s excited that development is going ahead to give the community a second life.

“I’m really excited,” Janz said. “Thirteen years ago, I was the Students’ Union president at the U of A, and I remember then we were talking about Michener Park being on the verge of being condemned and how it was not in great shape.”

“This is going to be a wonderful redevelopment opportunity to bring more families back into mature neighbourhoods,” Janz added. “This is going to be a win, not just for the new neighbours living here but the surrounding communities.

“I myself would look at living in this neighbourhood.”

Showsuites to open in Spring 2024!

Learn more: https://michenerpark.ca


7. The Valleyline LRT

Of course this project made the list. Like you, I'm incredibly frustrated and not very patient. I know in the long-term this line will be transformational to Edmonton and more Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects along this line (such as another Maclab project, the Mill Woods Town Centre) will finalize plans and break ground. These impacts should not be overlooked.

I don't have a date, but I'm optimistic it will be operational soon. TransEd is pleased to have resumed train testing. Tests include scenarios to simulate emergency situations, like evacuating passengers from a train on the elevated guideway. 
The last of the temporary steel supports used while repairing the piers were removed. Reminder: because this is a P3 model, TransEd is responsible for operating and maintaining the line until 2050.
When it is open, it's going to be gorgeous, and as someone with two small boys who love riding the LRT and watching the world go by, the views and urban experience are going to incredible. I can't wait to cross Strathern.

Please follow @yegvalleyLRT for official updates from TransEd.

There are a lot of things to be excited about in Edmonton in 2023! What are you excited about?

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Address: 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, 2nd Floor, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7