Calgary

Calgary Co-op Oakridge plans not good enough for city council

Calgary Co-op will have to rethink its redevelopment plans for an aging property in Oakridge after city council asked for more work to be done before approving a zoning change.

Redevelopment will have to be rethought before Co-op gets zoning change

This image shows the plans for the Oakridge Co-op site, with a tower rising alongside the renovated store. (City of Calgary)

Calgary Co-op will have to rethink its redevelopment plans for an aging property in Oakridge after city council asked for more work to be done before approving a zoning change.  

The co-operative wants to build two apartment towers on the site along with a renovated grocery store, but Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the plans don't go far enough in eliminating the sea of parking spaces. 

"A lot of people in the neighbourhood will say make them better by having less density, that's not the right answer," he said prior to Monday's meeting. 

"You don't want to build just a power centre with a few apartments in it on these sites, you want to build something that is really next generation, urban neighbourhood, and I really think both of these neighbourhoods, Oakridge and Dalhousie, are really in a position where they could accept something that would be really cool and really add to the value of the community."

Council will have a look at plans for the Dalhousie site on Tuesday, which also includes plans for dense residential housing sitting on top of a renovated store. 

Delay could spell the end 

Oakridge and Dalhousie are two of the four Co-op sites slated for such an overhaul, the others being the 16th Avenue N.E. and Brentwood locations.

Tony Argento, the director of real estate and development for Calgary Co-op, said Monday's rejection of the Oakridge plan, which includes a vast parking lot fronting Southland Drive and 24th Street S.W., might kill the proposal. 

"From a purely business [perspective], Calgary Co-op has to do the best thing for its own business to get these stores to where they should be," he said.

"It could be as early as Thursday where the board may say there's no point continuing, let's just get this store renovated."

The area councillor, Jeromy Farkas, said he doesn't expect council's decision to delay the project as it still hasn't been approved by the Calgary Planning Commission. 

"We heard from local residents that there is a lot of value to redeveloping the area, but council ultimately put a pause on making sure that the actual plan meets the level of quality that the city has come to expect," he said after council's decision.

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