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Four-phased East Village development returns to Calgary Planning Commission

More neighbours, more vitality, more customers for local businesses.

That’s what the East Village Courtyard development could mean for the southeast Calgary neighbourhood.

The development permit application is being heard at the Calgary Planning Commission meeting on May 7. It’s a mixed use development site with residential suites, office and retail space. 

“It’s an exciting development. It’s the next step in East Village,” said Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell. 

The development application was first submitted by Gibbs Gage Architects on Dec. 1, 2015, but multiple concerns about the application had to be addressed and several revisions have been made since then. 

“It’s come a long way from its original design and I’m pleased to support it,” Farrell said.

East Village project specs

There will be four phases to the development. One will include one 15-storey residential tower. A second will have a 24-storey residential tower. The third will be an 11-storey mid-rise office tower. The final phase will have a 33-storey residential tower. The area will include retail and consumer services and public art and open space within the central courtyard. 

Architect’s rendition of the East Village Courtyard development. CITY DOCUMENTS

“Every new resident that’s welcomed into East Village helps us get toward the critical mass that we need for a thriving community, it helps with the local businesses,” said Farrell. 

It brings in a lot of new residents and office space, which is something the area is lacking, said Tom Jenson, the planning committee director at the East Village Neighbourhood Association.

“We have a lot of surface parking in the center area right now which doesn’t add to the vitality of our community, to have these empty spaces,” he said.

“So filling that in is probably the biggest benefit.”

Area hostel lost with redevelopment

The site sits on an entire block that includes the area of 6 Avenue SE and 7 Avenue SE and between Riverfront Lane SE and 5 Street SE. The area is currently home to a parking lot and the HI Calgary City Center Hostel, which will be demolished. 

“I think the loss of the hostel that’s currently on the site is a loss not just for our neighbourhood but also for the city,” said Jenson

“We won’t have a downtown hostel like that anymore once this has started.”

Overview of the block that will be developed. CITY OF CALGARY DOCUMENTS

According to Farrell and Jenson, there are no major concerns with the site. 

“With any major development there’s always mixed reactions,” said Jenson

“There’s always going to be some pushback but I think overall it looks like it’s going to be a really nice development and really add a lot to our community.” 

He says in general, the community of East Village has accepted that it’s expanding and that new developments are coming in. 

Timeline for the East Village development

In terms of the pandemic and the overall economic situation, Farrell said the city’s is looking at developments that have full intent to build.

“I think we will see a slowing of the economy,” she says.

“But I’m always pleased when we see developments moving forward and the economical activity and the jobs associated with it.”

Jenson describes the issues as a “blip in the overall scheme” and that it won’t have a huge impact aside from perhaps a few timeline changes. 

The development will predominantly bring positive changes to the community. 

“It just helps complete the vision that we started a decade ago,” says Farrell. 

Jenson mentions that the association is always looking to participate in all of the development permit applications. 

“We’re excited to see where these kinds of developments will take us in the future.”