'Slim' towers planned for abandoned Blue Chicago site

A new development is planned for the long abandoned Blue Chicago site at the corner of Stony Plain Road and 142nd Street.

Architect says the space at 142nd Street and Stony Plain Road will be 'transformational'

The old Blue Chicago bar has been demolished. (Peter Evans/CBC)

The Blue Chicago is blue no more.

The abandoned site of the former bar is now a pile of rubble, on its way to becoming two new residential towers in the Glenora neighbourhood.

Alldritt Land Corp. owns the property at 14203 Stony Plain Road, and recently demolished the derelict building as it begins work on the new development.

Project architect Brad Kennedy described the development as "two really nice slim towers."

Kennedy said there will be retail on the main floors of the towers, along with commercial and retail along the street edges.

Zoning approval needed before construction begins

Kennedy said Alldritt is still in the middle of applying to the city for zoning changes to allow the development to go ahead.

"Alldritt wanted to make sure to get all of the pieces together to do the project right," he said. "It's a very special site for them, so part of the process for them was assembly of the right number of properties."

Kennedy said the timing is right for the company to get started on the development. The approval of the LRT West Line was also a big factor in the decision to proceed, since the proposed line will pass right by the towers along Stony Plain Road.

A backhoe moves around the remains of the old Blue Chicago bar. (Peter Evans/CBC)

"It's a transformational corner," Kennedy said. "It's going to be quite an exciting corner in the city of Edmonton."

"It was an eyesore"

Sue McCoy has been driving by the vacant building for years.

"Absolutely, it was an eyesore," she said. "It was nice to see that it's come down."

McCoy, president of the Glenora Community League, doesn't think replacing the former bar with residential towers is a good idea.

"We don't need any more residential space in that area, especially with West Block being kitty corner," she said. "That's an added burden with traffic in our community." 

She'd rather see a restaurant or a pub go into the space. 

  Towers won't cast big shadows

Kennedy said the development will be similar in size to the West Block Glenora condo project now under construction kitty corner from the proposed towers.

The West Block Glenora property also sat vacant for years after construction on the project stalled.

Nearby residents voiced concerns that the West Block would block out the sun in the area.

But Kennedy said that won't happen with the Alldritt development.

"This is on the southwest corner, so there's no shadows cast by this development onto the neighbourhood, which is something very different from the other developments," he said.

Kennedy said it could take up to a year to get the necessary zoning approval from the city.

A decision on when to start construction will have to wait until then.

"At that point, you take a look at how the economy is doing and other factors and determine at that point how to move forward," he said.

In the meantime, Kennedy said the company will sod the area and put up wooden fencing around it to prevent it from becoming a dumping ground.

About the Author

Nola Keeler is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon and Edmonton since 2000. She has worked as a host, reporter, news reader and producer for CBC. Send story ideas to nola.keeler@cbc.ca.