Northland Village redevelopment gets nod with land-use amendment
Some felt master plan is light on details, lack of LRT station is a concern
The space around a stagnant northwest Calgary shopping centre is about to get a facelift with a focus on residential after a land-use amendment was approved at Monday's council meeting, but questions remain.
The once thriving Northland Village Mall with anchors like Walmart and Winners has struggled in recent years finding tenants. It's currently about half empty.
That could change, if developers have their way, with a proposed plan that has in recent years shifted from new office space to more residential opportunities.
A land-use amendment was accepted Monday by council, but the lack of a new light-rail transit (LRT) station and a level of detail beyond a concept for the area left at least once councillor wanting more.
"The amended master concept plan and proposed land use amendment is a response to ongoing changes in Calgary's economy, the retail landscape and the desire to redevelop Northland Mall, creating a vibrant community hub with a mix of uses," Undine MacLaine of Dialog Architects told council at Monday's meeting.
Changes include a shift away from office space to more than 250 residential units in the first phase.
The changes, however, do not currently include a new LRT station for the area, MacLaine said, in response to a question from Coun. Druh Farrell.
That didn't sit well with another councillor.
"An infill (LRT) station at Northland would cost about $100 million," Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said.
"I am a little bit concerned to hear there is a complete disconnection between that work and what is being proposed today."
Mayor Naheed Nenshi also had some concerns.
"I didn't really hear anything about the pedestrian environment on Northland Drive, a mixed-use street. There's a bike lane there, there's a lot of walking there. You are across the street from the largest high school in Alberta and three other schools, a library, community centre and so on," Nenshi said.
MacLaine said pedestrians won't be left out in the cold.
"This will be filled in with a boulevard with trees and landscape elements, a wide sidewalk and also ground-level, walk-out unit front yards," she said.
"It will be quite enhanced from what you see today."
The Brentwood Community Association had concerns around pedestrian accessibility and one central plaza versus multiple gathering spaces, but is generally supportive of the plan.
"We really think we can make this into a plaza that residents will like and that will function really well as a mall," association spokesperson Melanie Swailes said.
With files from Scott Dippel