Calgary council votes in favour of controversial Inglewood development
As vote was not unanimous, it will go before council again for final approval
Update July 28, 2020: Late Tuesday evening, council called a special meeting to give final approval to the project.
The original story appears below.
A controversial development in Inglewood will likely go ahead, pending final approval expected later on Tuesday.
Calgary city council voted 13-1 on Monday in favour of amending the land use designation to allow Rndsqr Block to be built where a car lot is currently located at Ninth Avenue and 12th Street S.E.
The 12-storey (45-metre) mixed-use building would blend a boutique hotel with apartment living, co-working spaces, and main-street retail shops, behind a twisting, contemporary transparent grid.
"It is bold, it is provocative, but it is not unskilled and it's not unthinking. It is very thoughtful in what it is proposing to do ... I think that in this place, at 'centre ice' Inglewood, something significant is appropriate," said Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, who voted in favour of the project.
The design preserves the historic CIBC building next door, which was built in 1911. It's also set back slightly from the street, to make room for a plaza, and incorporates a MAX Purple bus rapid transit shelter.
"I lived in London for nearly a decade and I would see how the modern and historic buildings would interact with each other and it makes a vibrant, exciting area," said Kevin Kent, an Inglewood business owner who spoke in favour of the project.
"It's the height of the building people keep going back to and I don't think it's that important. It's the pedestrian interface that I think is important. I like how this building, or this design, gives more space on the sidewalks for people."
The proposal had faced strong opposition from some in the community, including the community association and business improvement area, as critics felt the building (which is double Inglewood's height limit) would be out of scale with the historic streetscape.
"The community ... they've been clear they do not want this. It is too big, it does not fit. It's made of glass and metal where people appreciate brick and mortar," said Coun. Jeromy Farkas, the sole vote against.
"Inglewood is not for sale."
More than 26,000 people signed a petition against the development, but council heard from admin that only 21 per cent of those signatories live in Calgary.
Because Farkas opposed going to third reading of the bylaw, final approval was put over to a special meeting of council, likely to take place on Tuesday.
With files from Scott Dippel