Work on the massive Midtown Station project in near Chinook Centre is moving ahead after the multi-billion-dollar project hit a snag last year.
The item was brought forward as an update in city council’s Infrastructure and Planning Committee (IPC) on Thursday. In it, they said a revised development application on the project is expected to come immediately.
In September 2021, the city’s then-Planning and Urban Development (PUD) committee heard from administration that amending the city’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) to make this a new major activity centre was not recommended. That would have been required for this project to move forward.
Direction at that time was to return with information on whether the MDP should be amended for this project and if a special development agreement should be sought.
The Midtown Station project is on 35 acres of assembled land between 73 Avenue and Glenmore Trail SE. The project would replace 500,000 square feet of low-rise space with 6.5 million in new mid- and high-rise residential and commercial space. The project also includes and infill LRT station.
The project had its first development application back in 2018.
Administration’s report said after working with the applicant on a complete and transit-oriented community, they’re “sufficiently satisfied” the application could advance through the standard review process.
“The applicant presented an interim update, it starts to show a more granular approach to heights and densities,” said Dale Calkins with the city’s planning unit.
Calkins also said Cantana Investments has acquired the former Big Four Motors location to provide another access to Macleod Trail in the area. Other changes include creating a pedestrian spine in the project centre.
“There’s still a lot of details to work out, but the general message is these are encouraging changes,” Calkins said.
It’s progress, said developer rep
Ben Lee with Arcadis IBI Group said the working relationship with the city is now very collaborative.
“I will just say that we’d like to put what has transpired up to this point behind us and look to the process moving forward,” Lee said.
He said there have been frustrations with the project progress, but they appreciate the extra time and detail needed to get it right.
“I think looking back, the actual time that we have spent and invested has made this project that much better,” Lee said.
IPC member, Coun. Jasmine Mian said she’s curious to see how this project continues to unfold. She said the devil is in the details.
“It’s really exciting, what it could be. But it’s one of those ones that is going to need a little bit of an extra look,” she said.
City admin is targeted early 2023 for a new public hearing on the updated plan and land use application. They will also present any MDP amendments at that time.
They said they will highlight the impact the development may have on growth prorities at the time of the application decision. It may also impact the Heritage Communities Local Area Plan, and changes may need to be made to align the projects.