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Amacon shares its vision

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 06:00 am

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  • MASTER PLAN – Consultant Mark Reid shares the vision of Grandin mall owner Amacon on Tuesday night.
    MASTER PLAN – Consultant Mark Reid shares the vision of Grandin mall owner Amacon on Tuesday night.
    CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette
  • THREE TOWERS – Amacon, the owner of Grandin Park Plaza, is planning to build an urban village that includes three highrise towers.
    THREE TOWERS – Amacon, the owner of Grandin Park Plaza, is planning to build an urban village that includes three highrise towers.

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A proposed redevelopment of Grandin Park Plaza raised many questions at a public meeting on Tuesday night.

Here is a summary of the topics discussed.

Questions were answered by development manager Simon Taylor and Mark Reid, an urban designer with Urban Strategies Inc.

Does Amacon have approval to go beyond 19 storeys?

At this time, Amacon does not have a permit to move beyond a height of 19 storeys, as was previously approved for a development planned in 2008. The company plans to work with the city to approve its master plan for the development, starting this April.

This process includes public consultation meetings. The overall approval time for the project is expected to take between eight and 12 months.

Cost of units

Amacon is planning to make condominiums available at entry-level pricing, targeting seniors and young professionals, Taylor said.

He added that the market will dictate whether some of the units are turned into rentals.

“We want as many people in the neighbourhood,” he said. “We will never sell 1,200 units in the timeframe we’re hoping for if we’re only catering to the elite.”

First stores

Retail stores will begin moving into the development during the first phase of construction. Stores would include day-to-day convenience businesses, such as a dry cleaner. The stores may move to another location during future phases of the development.

What happens to the Scotiabank and the office building?

The office building will be renovated during phase two of the development. The depth or height of the building will not change. But it will get a more contemporary look.

The Scotiabank building will remain intact for parts of the development. Amacon plans to create a new building wall along the corridor outside the bank’s entrance. The entrance doors will remain. Eventually the building will be replaced and the bank will likely move to another location on the site.

What about the theatre?

Grandin Theatres will be demolished along with the rest of the mall during the first phase of the development.

Effect on neighbouring strip mall

Amacon is now discussing potential construction challenges with the owners of the strip mall adjacent to the Grandin mall property.

Green spaces and youth

Almost 20 per cent of the development will consist of open spaces. Amacon is committed to incorporating different landscape features and is working with a landscape architect on creating a theme for the site. The company will also put more thought into potential sites dedicated to local youth.

What about a fire in the tower?

The city does not own a ladder truck that could reach the upper storeys of the towers in case of a fire emergency. Amacon plans to have sprinklers installed throughout the towers and have the buildings monitored by the nearest fire hall.

Building structure

Some of the buildings will have a wood frame structure. High buildings will be reinforced with concrete. All of the underground parking will be concrete structures.

Contaminants and asbestos

Amacon does not own the former Shell gas station site located at the northeastern corner of the property. Taylor said the company has bored a number of holes on its property to check the levels of environmental contamination in the ground and found no evidence on its property. He does not expect to see another gas station going on the former Shell site.

He added that there is likely some asbestos in the old mall and the tower. Amacon will treat any findings of asbestos carefully and follow a strict set of guidelines on how to deal with it, he said.

Construction rubble

Amacon may keep some of the construction rubble from the mall to build streets inside the development. The company will likely create a temporary holding site between the office tower and Scotiabank but will landscape the site to minimize visibility. People will not be allowed on that site.



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