Eau Claire condo project's street purchase plan raises concerns
Property developer wants to purchase a stretch of 5th Street S.W. to integrate it as part of a roadway plaza
A developer behind an ambitious plan to reshape two blocks in Eau Claire is asking the city to sell it the street that bisects the site.
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BCIMC Realty Corporation wants to build a mixed-use residential, retail and commercial development where a pair of parking lots currently occupy two blocks between Sixth Street and Fourth Street from Eau Claire Avenue to Second Avenue S.W.
The developer wants to buy the stretch of Fifth Street between the two lots, integrating the roadway into the development but also "providing a more pedestrian orientated characteristic,” a city document states.
Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell, who supports the plan, says the block would still be open to drivers but Calgarians will get a better streetscape.
“The street and the pedestrian realm and the street furniture and the buildings all mesh together. It's really beautiful and very high quality,” she said.
But Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he doesn't like giving up a block-long stretch of city street, essentially making it like a road in a suburban shopping area.
“We don't have public control over them. But we have to be able to figure a way that we can make sure the needs of the residents and the rest of the community, especially on a downtown street, are met,” he said.
City council has voted to give the application for land use redesignation first reading, but final approval is on hold until all the access agreements are worked out.