U of Alberta still keen on Galleria after city balks on pedway

The University of Alberta intends to move forward as a partner in the downtown Galleria project, despite delays from Edmonton city council.
The proposed Galleria is shown in yellow. The building in green is the space proposed for the University of Alberta; the red buildings are the four performing arts theatres and the building in orange is an office tower connected to the project. (Edmonton Downtown Academic and Cultural Foundation)

The University of Alberta intends to move forward as a partner in the downtown Galleria Arts District, despite delays from Edmonton city council.

On Tuesday, council voted to hold off on funding an integral element of the project, a $30 million pedway from the Churchill LRT station to the Royal Alberta Museum.

The university listed climate-controlled access from the station to the new arts district as a condition of their involvement.

In a blog post on Thursday, Provost Carl Amrhein said the pedway is not the only solution that would meet the university’s needs, but added he believes it is the smartest option.  

“It makes sense that the Galleria and the Royal Alberta Museum should be linked to the LRT through climate-controlled walkways,” he wrote.

Council is now looking for funding partners to help pay for the pedway. The Edmonton Downtown Academic and Cultural Centre Foundation wants the city to commit $4.4 million as soon as possible. Another $5.3 million is requested in 2015 to build the shell under the museum.

The foundation claims once the Royal Alberta Museum is finished, it may become more expensive to add LRT access.

The Downtown Galleria project would include four performing arts theatres, a public space with restaurants and stores and three University of Alberta faculty buildings. The University of Alberta would bring 5,000 students to the area if the project goes ahead.