Progress is visible at what was formerly a hole in the ground at 95 Street and Jasper Avenue. Leif Gregersen
Boyle Street residents can now look forward to having a new 24-storey rental apartment building on the northeast corner of 95 Street and Jasper Avenue. In this case, the words “look forward” are not standard ad copy. For years the community has been staring at, and sighing about, a giant hole in the ground at that location.
In 2013, the City paid for decontamination of the site. Then, BCM Developments did some initial work towards a planned condo building. But in the fall of 2015, the initiative failed and BCM abandoned the project.
The Cidex Group, which has head offices in Calgary, took over the property this spring and quickly started building. To be called The Hat at Five Corners, the Cidex tower will have 199 units ranging in size from small studios to three-bedroom suites.
The larger suites are designed to attract families, says Cidex business development manager Sarah Itani. “We are seeking diversity, not just one demographic,” she says.
There will be retail space on the main floor. Itani thinks the area can support a food store and a coffee shop, pop-up retail events organized by local entrepreneurs, and spaces for community groups and artists.
Itani says her company sees the area as an “up and coming neighbourhood.” One asset she mentions is the Valley Line LRT, which has a Phase 1 completion date of 2020, the same year the Hat building is scheduled to open. Cidex, which is Alberta-based, “has had its eye on Edmonton for a while,” Itani says, because of its active economy.
On July 13, the company held a small celebration of “hitting the ground floor,” inviting the neighbours to come over and have a closer look. The hole had vanished under a sheet of concrete, and the first few storeys were about to appear.
Community members and city officials are no doubt glad to see the verticals going up, the cranes moving and one more floor being poured each week (allowing for “cure time” before moving on to the next level). All’s well that ends well.
Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.