$80M shape-shifting parkade approved for Calgary's East Village

The structure will initially provide 500 parking stalls across five levels, but also house a creative space "for innovators" called Platform. The creative space will partially occupy the first floor and the entirety of the second.

Contemporary structure includes a creative space for 'innovators' and can be converted to other uses

The Ninth Avenue parkade in Calgary's East Village is designed to adapt to future needs. (CMLC)

An $80-million, shape-shifting, multi-use parkade for Calgary's East Village has been approved by city council.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation will build the new parkade at Ninth Avenue and Third Street S.E. for the Calgary Parking Authority. The land is currently used for surface parking lots.

The structure will initially provide 500 parking stalls across five levels but also house a creative space "for innovators" called Platform. It will partially occupy the first floor and the entirety of the second.

The parkade will be built so that it can be fully converted to a residential, commercial or mixed-use building if an anticipated reduction in driving brought on by an increase in autonomous vehicle use occurs, according to the CMLC.

It will be built overtop an existing C-Train tunnel. 

'Innovation corridor'

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the parkade will serve the new library, the National Music Centre and businesses in the East Village. 

"It's going to be a place for innovative companies and startups to come together in this increasingly powerful innovation corridor between the Edison, through the East village into Inglewood and Ramsay," he said.

"It is a really cool thing, and if we move to a world of autonomous vehicles where there is less parking needed downtown, then this is the first parking garage I know of that is totally future-proofed that could be easily converted to other uses. And it looks really cool."

'Community asset'

The design, created by architects Kasian and 5468796, includes increased ceiling heights and a central atrium space that will facilitate the changeover. 

"It's going to be a community asset as well as a parkade," said Coun. Druh Farrell.

She highlighted a recent design talk at the Centennial Parkade on Ninth Avenue S.W. as an example of what can be done with even traditional parking structures. 

"They can be cool spaces for events and farmers markets and those sorts of things," she said. "This parkade is going to be providing some of those community amenities."

CMLC plans to break ground on the 250,000-square-foot project in 2019.