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Design partners selected for Stephen Avenue overhaul

The City of Calgary has chosen two partners to continue their work on the Stephen Avenue redesign.

Denmark-based Gehl Studio and Stantec Calgary have been selected to work with the city on a new design for the corridor, from 11 Street SW to Olympic Plaza. They will continue to advance design concepts first delivered in the Stephen Avenue Public Realm Study.

The City first began design work in earnest on the iconic strip’s facelift back in 2019.

“Stephen Avenue is a key cultural and economic hub for downtown Calgary and we have the opportunity to create a street experience that is more people-focused, embraces all modes of transportation and helps support businesses in our downtown,” said Thom Mahler, Director of The City’s Downtown Strategy.

Mahler said Gehl and Stantec have already been shaping the redesign for Stephen Avenue for some time. He said now they’ll be working with the downtown community to advance a design that brings vibrancy, business and community-building to the area.

Stephen Avenue work as yet unfunded

Once the new concepts are delivered, public engagement is expected through the late fall and early winter, the city said.

The focus will be on creating connections with other areas of the downtown. They also want to activate public spaces and open buildings and businesses to the street.

Sofie Kvist, project lead with Gehl, said they set the stage with design work in the first phase.

“Now it is time to develop a design for the entirety of Stephen Avenue, and with that make sure this important downtown Calgary public space continues to thrive in the future.” 

The city hopes to have a final design by the summer of 2023.

Right now, the project doesn’t have funding to complete the work beyond design.

It’s expected there will be a capital funding request in November’s new four-year budget cycle.