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Grandin development can’t be overstated


  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 01:46 pm

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Transforming the Grandin mall property into a 21st century urban village will literally alter St. Albert as we know it today Ė and for the better.

When the plan is completed about 10 years from now by development company Amacon, downtown St. Albert will be home to an additional 2,800 residents, and those residents will have an enormous impact on the local economy Ė in more ways than one.

First off, itís a prodigious tax bonanza for the city. The owners of the 1,200 condos spanning three towers that will range from 27 to 23 storeys in height will contribute their property taxes each and every year. In todayís dollars, a condo worth $250,000 will bring in approximately $2,000 in property taxes.

Based on 1,200 condos, the city would reap $2.4 million in property taxes per year. Of course, these new condos are likely to have an average price higher than $250,000 in todayís dollars, so itís not hard to imagine that this development would bring in considerably more than $3 million a year Ė and thatís not even taking into account the considerable retail development planned for the site.

Secondly, itís an obvious boon for the downtown. The Perron District has long suffered from a lack of visibility, a lack of parking and a lack of foot traffic. All of this will change with the Grandin development. With 2,800 people living there, it is inevitable that downtown St. Albert will become a vibrant, bustling shopping and dining mecca seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Thirdly, with that kind of population living in a strategic downtown location, it emphasizes a need for effective public transit planning. In fact, the Grandin project will hasten the need to extend the LRT into St. Albert. The LRT brings with it other tremendous growth opportunities, both in terms of residential and business development.

There are, of course, hurdles to overcome. When Amacon conceived this plan some six years ago, it did so under the existing downtown area redevelopment plan. Amaconís original plan called for five condo towers, with the tallest one being 19 storeys.

In order for Amacon to move all the way up to 27 storeys, it has to seek an amendment to DARP from the city, as well as an amendment to the land use bylaw. This will have to go through the public consultation process, which can sometimes be a messy affair.

There will also be complaints about noise, dust and traffic as the project progresses. There will undoubtedly be those who are resistant to change Ė any change.

We trust the council of the day will exercise the prudence and vision necessary to guide this major development to its conclusion in a way that will benefit St. Albert for generations to come.


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