A master plan for Calgary's derelict East Village area was released on Wednesday by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the independent development company the city created to help revitalize the area.
"The new East Village will be the newest, oldest, coolest, warmest neighbourhood in Calgary," said Chris Ollenberger, president and CEO of CMLC.
"It will have a 'mixed-use' character, meaning that a single building can house both residences and businesses, which is key to creating life on the street day and night," Ollenberger said.
The East Village is a 120-acre area east of downtown that is bounded by the Bow River in the north, 9th Avenue S.E. in the south, 3rd Street S.E. in the west and the Elbow River in the east. It has only a few residential properties and is known as an area rife with drug abuse, homelessness and prostitution.
For decades, the area has been shunned by developers despite the fact it sits on a desirable riverfront stretch of land.
In anticipation of development in the East Village, the city has been improving infrastructure in the area, including improving roads and starting to build an underpass under 4th Street.
"Today, East Village is home to very few buildings but lots of very big ideas about how it can be a key part of downtown," Ollenberger said.
The master plan, prepared by the British firm Broadway Malyan, is meant to help co-ordinate a variety of developers in the area.
The idea will be to have as few secluded places as possible so that people feel safe in the neighbourhood.
"Experience has shown this to be a successful model in dealing with petty street crime, allowing the public realm to be under the watchful eyes of both the resident and visiting populations, thereby discouraging anti-social behavior," the planning document states.
As for who may want to live in the East Village, the developers are targeting active and creative people looking to live in "vibrant urban surroundings" rather than suburbs.
"I think it will be a neighbourhood that we'll all be very proud of in the years to come," said Ollenberger. "It will be a mixed-use community that is walkable, vibrant and offer everything an urban explorer desires: unique architecture, cultural events, activities, shopping, and dining experiences, and a vibrant waterfront," he said.
CMLC is funded by deferred tax revenue. It has 20 years in which to repay the city from future tax earnings on new, private developments in East Village.