Havixbeck wants civic parkade site converted to housing if elected mayor

Mayoral hopeful Paula Havixbeck wants to see the long-shuttered civic parkade demolished to make way for a mixed use building with housing and retail options.

Mayoral hopeful Coun. Paula Havixbeck wants defunct parkade demolished, land redeveloped

Coun. Paula Havixbeck has big plans for the shuttered civic parkade. She wants to put out an expression of interest for a public-private partnership to redevelop the land. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)
Mayoral hopeful Paula Havixbeck wants to see the long-crumbling civic parkade demolished to make way for a mixed use building with housing and retail options.
The civic parkade was closed more than two years ago in August 2012 after structural concerns made it unsafe. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

“It is beyond repair. We’ve had structural engineers through,” she said. “This is a shame … I’m proposing we create this into a new parkade, but we incorporate some mechanism of housing.”

The parkade was barricaded and closed more than two years ago due to safety concerns.

On Monday, Havixbeck said if she were elected she would issue an expression of interest for the space, in hopes of starting a public-private partnership to demolish the parkade and construct housing.

“It’s underutilized infrastructure, knowing we have the connection to city hall underground, to the administration building as well as to the Centennial Concert Hall,” she said.

Parking would also be part of that redevelopment, Havixbeck said.
Recladding the Public Safety Building is also part of Coun. Paula Havixbeck's plans if elected. Right now, it's surrounded by these covered walkways. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

“You could do some very creative things on the parkade side. You could have opportunities for grocery stores even if you did some mixed-use and had the main floor as commercial/retail and parking and some housing,” she said. “There’s a desperate shortage of housing in the area.”

Next door, the Public Safety Building, on William Avenue and King Street, is also deteriorating. Work has to be done to reclad the stone on the exterior of the building.

For years, a plywood-covered walkway has lined the street outside the building.

Havixbeck said the previous estimate for re-cladding the stone on the Public Safety Building came in at more than $30 million, but now that police are moving to the new Graham Avenue headquarters, there are fewer safety concerns and the cost would be considerably less.

“I’m told that it’s still under the $20 million mark, and it’s something that will need to be done,” she said. “My hope is that by re-cladding it and by moving some city staff … into this facility, we will revitalize this area.”

Havixbeck said if elected, she would have that work done sooner rather than later.