Edmonton mulls $39-million stadium-river valley link

The city of Edmonton is looking at a $39-million plan to redevelop the area around the Stadium LRT Station into a vibrant neighbourhood.

Redevelopment aims to create vibrant neighbourhood

An artist's concept of what the Stadium LRT Station redevelopment might look like. (City of Edmonton)

The city of Edmonton is looking at a $39-million plan to redevelop the area around the Stadium LRT Station into a vibrant neighbourhood.

The concept, as described in a city report, envisions the transformation of the Stadium LRT Station area into a vibrant mixed-use, "enhanced station neighbourhood."

The Commonwealth Stadium-LRT station corridor as it looks currently. (City of Edmonton)

The defining feature of the concept is a new pedestrian and cyclist-friendly street across the LRT tracks, linking the river valley and Jasper Avenue to Stadium Road.

The road would connect recreational amenities at either side of the LRT corridor, improve access to and the value of adjacent properties while breaking up the large scale of industrial blocks.

It would also provide opportunity for year-round amenity in the form of new neighbourhood serving retail development.

Features include plaza, promenade

Other key features include:

  • a public plaza (at the southern end of the existing Park and Ride lot) fronting onto the new street and Stadium Road
  • a pedestrian promenade between the plaza, new street, the Park and Ride lot and LRT station
  • higher-density residential development opportunities east of the LRT corridor and medium-density employment development opportunities along Stadium Road
  • pedestrian access-ways between new developments and along the LRT corridor
  • new and improved pedestrian and bicycle routes along 112 Avenue, the existing multi-use corridor, and through the Commonwealth Stadium grounds
  • incremental transit-supportive infill opportunities north of 112 Avenue
  • full redevelopment on or over the Park and Ride lot in the long term
  • an optional long-term additional LRT station 300m south of the existing station and adjacent to the new street

Long-time resident Keith Doldug said he looks forward to the improvements.

"This neighbourhood hasn't seen development in a long, long time in a positive direction," he said. "It's always been doing little things here, doing little things there without actually putting effort and time into it."

"You gotta spend money to make money and it will come back to you in due time with taxes and shops."

A report says the city could recover up to half of the cost if developers buy surplus land around the new road.

But not everyone is onboard.

Lafarge opposes redevelopment

Lafarge, which owns the big concrete mixing facility within the redevelopment area, has told councillors it's not moving.

"We see that there's $39 million projected costs," said Lafarge's lawyer William Barclay. "That will be a drop in the bucket if we talk about expropriation."

Although the promenade would not go through Lafarge's property, the company has concerns about the impact of the redevelopment would have on its business.

"Basically in this business transportation costs are significant," said Barclay. "The company that can mix their concrete and deliver it from the closest location has a significant competitive advantage."

That helped Lafarge land the contract to supply concrete for the construction of the Epcor tower, he said.

And with a new museum and arena district on the horizon for the downtown area, it's critical the company retains its present location, he said.

The plan is up for debate again by city councillors on April 25.