Mar 6, 2023

Station Lands Taking Shape in Downtown Edmonton

Edmonton, AB – The construction of Station Lands is buzzing with activity as workers build the foundation for the second phase of downtown Edmonton’s first mixed-use master-planned community.

A commercial, residential and community hub with connectivity to Rogers Place, Chinatown, Royal Alberta Museum, and Edmonton’s LRT system, Station Lands will rise from the historic CN railyard to become a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood framing the northern edge of downtown and tie into Edmonton’s Ice District.

Phase Two will feature more than 600 new residential units, various commercial spaces and public amenities designed to make downtown Edmonton a more dynamic place to live, work, play and invest.

The work also includes constructing a pedway to Churchill LRT Station

Since Phase Two broke ground last year, well over 120,000 labour hours have already been poured into the redesigned and expanded EPCOR Tower Parkade, which will form the foundation upon which two mixed-use residential towers, a commercial podium, and a public plaza will be built over top. An average of 105 labourers work on the site daily.

It’s a complex scope that requires detailed planning, coordination and complex structural engineering processes.

“One of the most challenging components of the EPCOR Tower parkade renovation was adapting the original office use design to be able to accommodate residential apartments. The elevators cores built in the parkade under the original office design were simply not suitable for residential and thus had to be removed and replaced. This involved putting up temporary support shoring up all four levels, demolishing those floors top down, and then rebuilding them back upwards,” says Ulf, referencing just one of the many complicated aspects of the project

Ulf said that while renovation projects always come with unforeseen challenges, especially at this scale and complexity, additional market and site factors also came into play. For example, the project team has dealt with unanticipated soil contamination and remediation, difficult demolition conditions, and rising construction costs in a post-pandemic market.

Spanning an area of nine acres, the project involves coordinating with multiple stakeholder groups with diverse interests, creating additional challenges compared to traditional single-building developments.

There are also myriad challenges from an operational perspective. The design had to factor in the interaction between commercial and private residential spaces, for example, making for a complicated program. Additionally, the existing EPCOR Tower needs to be kept operational and construction impacts to existing tenants need to be minimized.

Qualico Properties has been busy managing construction and moving the project forward as efficiently as possible.

“We feel confident that the most difficult hurdles are now behind us,” Ulf says.

In the next six months, Station Lands will rise into Edmonton’s skyline. Qualico Properties says the first mixed-use residential midrise building is expected to top out at 17 stories by August 2023, with the parkade structure being completed by then as well.

The mid-rise building targets completion in 2024, while the groundwork for the pedestrian plaza is expected to come together by 2025.

Beginning construction next year or early 2025, the second mixed-use residential high-rise development is aiming for completion in either 2026 or 2027.

Further down the line, Station Lands will be home to several other new large commercial, residential and public spaces, as the master-planned community builds out to the east.

The master plan envisions networks of pedestrian pathways, weather-protected walkways, restaurants, patios, public art space and water features all working seamlessly to create an active neighbourhood experience unlike anything else in Edmonton.

Qualico’s ambition is to deliver a forward-thinking mixed-use community to help spur Edmonton’s downtown growth, generating economic benefits and providing attractive options for people looking to live, explore, and do business in a more dynamic downtown.

Ulf says his team is proud of the construction progress to date and for the opportunity to create a vibrant downtown mixed-use community for the people of Edmonton and a destination for visitors around the world.

“Station Lands is about building a better city. It’s about transforming underutilized land and converting it into vibrancy. Witnessing the next phase coming out of the ground, becoming real, is exciting to see.”

Let us help you direct your questions to the right team at Qualico.

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