Empty Whyte Avenue lot set for development after 15 years

A derelict lot on Edmonton's popular Whyte Avenue may soon be home to new businesses and apartment dwellers.

Esso station to become mixed-use building pending approval from city hall

Murray Davison, with the Strathcona Business Association, says the new development will bring more balance to Whyte Avenue. (CBC)

A derelict lot on Edmonton's popular Whyte Avenue may soon be home to new businesses and apartment dwellers.

The former Esso gas station on the southeast corner of Whyte Avenue and 105th Street has sat vacant for 15 years. In 2012,  Imperial Oil remove the contaminated soil, preparing the site for development.

Now, Imperial Oil is close to a deal with a new developer, said Murray Davison with the Old Strathcona Business Association.

"It's going to be a mixed-use building," he said. "They're talking [about] having some retail on the bottom, some shops and restaurants and things. Second floor some office space and from there some apartments going up."

Davison said the new development will bring balance to the avenue.

"Just to have something on this street on this side with shops and more shopping retail, restaurants," he said. "It's going to be more vibrant and it'll activate this side of the street. It's been kind of quiet on this side."

Whyte Avenue patrons also like the plan.

"Any time they have condo or apartments going in, it develops the area," said Katy Ironside. "It's a great idea."

A potential obstacle for the development is a bylaw preventing highrises other than hotels on the avenue, but Davison said the project has enough community support, it shouldn't be an issue.

"It looks like it's going to be a go ahead," he said. "It's hinging on the approval of council to change the rezoning, and that affects whether the project's going to go ahead or not."

Davison said he expects the re-zoning will be approved in a couple of weeks.

With files from CBC's Travis McEwan