Controversial Chinatown tower passes first hurdle at Calgary council
City will also get to work on crafting a new area redevelopment plan for the historic downtown neighbourhood
After public hearings and a debate that swallowed the better part of two days, city council voted to give initial approval for a controversial tower proposal in Chinatown, with some caveats, and to pursue a new area redevelopment plan for the neighbourhood.
With the introduction of several amendments, council voted to allow the design of the building to go forward with the possibility of a hotel, smaller storefronts at ground level and a minimum three-metre setback from the street. It stipulated that 60 per cent of the tower must be residential.
The height of the building, a contentious issue for the downtown community, was allowed to remain as high as 30 stories.
Council also insisted the site, currently a parking lot, could not remain a lot past 2027.
There are fears within the community the development will diminish Chinatown's distinctive nature and make it seem like an addition to downtown.
The project still needs to pass third reading in council within two years, essentially when the building design is finalized.
In addition to the contentious tower proposal, council also directed administration to create a new area redevelopment plan to replace the current one established in 1986.
If that ARP restricts the height of buildings in Chinatown, it will not affect the project given the tentative green light on Tuesday.
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