The Corners tower plan fizzles, leaving gaping hole downtown

The gaping hole at the corner of 95th Street and Jasper Avenue will remain little more than that for some time after the developer pulled out.

City optimistic site at 95th Street and Jasper Avenue will interest other developers

The developer of the Corner Tower highrise has pulled out, meaning the site at 95th Street and Jasper Avenue will remain a gaping hole for some time yet. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

The gaping hole at the corner of 95th Street and Jasper Avenue will remain little more than that for some time after the developer pulled out.

The first of The Corners towers was supposed to be a 28-storey glass highrise, the first of two marquee residential towers on the downtown's eastside, but it won't be breaking ground any time soon.

Edmonton-based BCM Homes has failed to meet the conditions of a mid-October deadline.

The project was delayed due to fears that there might be one — perhaps two — abandoned coal mines under the site.

"Our inability to secure permits for the project without additional geotechnical assessment due to proximity of the site to coal seams caused further delays not only in our ability to build, but in securing financing and closing within the time fixed  by the city," said company general manager Claudio Raimondi in a statement.  

"Time was not on our side and our request for a final extension of time was not granted," he said. "We had little choice but to let the project go."

With the project in limbo, the city has no choice but to take the property back.

But city Coun. Scott McKeen said he remains hopeful.

Developer intrigued, city says

"In fact, we have at least one other developer that is really intrigued," he said Tuesday.  

Alberta's economy isn't attracting heavy investment right now, a far cry from this time last year.  

But McKeen said that's not why this project backfired.

"Sometimes people will see something like an excavated hole in the ground sitting, and sitting, and sitting and think it has something to do with Edmonton.
One block west of The Corners, the Hyatt Place Hotel will open soon. (CBC)

"This has nothing to do with Edmonton," he said. "City hall didn't mess it up."

Bernie Robitaille, who owns a dry-cleaning business next to the excavation site, remains hopeful.

"Obviously, we'd really like to see it move ahead — selfishly because of our business — but also from a grander scale as an Edmontonian. It'd be exciting to see those two towers go up."

One block west of the Corners Towers site, next to the flat iron building, developer Prem Singhmar's Hyatt Place Hotel is expected to open soon.

He wants revitalization in the area, that he helped start, to continue.

"The city has spent so much money trying to clean up that area," Singhmar said. "The more it gets developed the better it is."


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