Mayor Don Iveson is warning Northlands not to get too far ahead of itself with ideas to redevelop the 160 acres it occupies. There’s been talk of a real estate play to take advantage of the other amenities along 112 ave at the south end of the property that could be advantageous for housing with a nearby grocery store, and a health care centre.
Earlier this year while launching the Vision 2020 survey, Northlands sought a ‘request for expression of interest’ and got back 28 applications, and 13 submissions from potential developers. That list has been whittled down to six.
“We did notify them after they sent out their request for expression of interest that they ought to take no further steps with out consulting the landowner, i.e. the City of Edmonton,” Iveson said after returning from vacation.
“The city owns that land. The city also controls the zoning on it. Neither the zoning is in place nor the land in their possession to make any development decisions. Ultimately any decisions about real estate development on any part of the Northlands campus would be a city decision.”
Among the ideas being kicked around include the building of a three-star hotel near Rexall Place, and a four-star hotel as a part of the Expo Centre. The Vision 2020 plan calls for Rexall to be converted into a six-plex ice sheet facility to be used for recreational and tournament hockey. The Expo Centre would be expanded to include more seats in it’s arena set up, adding to what is the largest trade show space west of Toronto.
“The hotel pieces make a lot of sense,” Iveson said. “They would improve the sale-ability of the convention centre and might make the viability of a hockey tournament centre more robust. I think collecting information about that is one thing. Going out and making deals is entirely another.”
Iveson said he’s encouraged Northlands and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation to come up with business plan to better pursue trade show and convention business.
“If Northlands has a creative idea I think we’d be happy to hear it but all authorities with respect to both the zoning and the development of that land lies with the city because it is titled to the City of Edmonton.”
Northlands’ Cathy Kiss confirmed “they did receive a letter.” She said the RFOI was for more information on a ‘specific development model’ and that they were seeking feedback on density and a development concept.
“The city sits on (Northlands) evaluation team and is a non-voting member,” Kiss said.
City council will review and vote on the Vision 2020 proposal at a special meeting Aug 31.