45-storey Emerald Tower on Jasper Avenue wins approval

After hours of debate Monday, city council approved the Emerald Tower, a 45-storey residential condo building set for Jasper Avenue in the Oliver neighbourhood.

Edmonton's tallest residential tower tagged as 'mediocre at best' and 'race to the bottom' by councillors

The Emerald Tower is proposed by Regency Developments, the same developer responsible for The Pearl on Jasper Avenue. (Regency Developments)

After hours of debate Monday, city council approved the Emerald Tower, a 45-storey residential condo building set for Jasper Avenue in the Oliver neighbourhood.

While many councillors said the proposal did not meet their expectations, others felt the developer made enough changes to the plan in the last two weeks to make it acceptable.

Almost all Oliver residents at the public hearing Monday spoke against the residential tower, which will be the tallest in Edmonton, objecting to the above-ground parkade, lack of affordable family-friendly units, and the "paltry" $200,000 compensation to the community.

Coun. Ben Henderson called the building "a race to the bottom" while Coun. Andrew Knack described it as "mediocre at best." 

However, the developer, which was responsible for The Pearl on Jasper Avenue, warned council the 14 changes made to the proposal since the last meeting two weeks ago was as far as it would go. 

The company told council that beautiful buildings like the Pearl, complete with underground parking, are not good investments.

In the end enough councillors sided with Coun. Moe Banga, who said if someone was willing to invest $50 million in a tough economy like Edmonton's, then that makes it a good project.