The city’s planning branch has rejected a bid by Urban Sparq, the owners of several bars in Edmonton, to set up a couple of mega-bars in the downtown. A 400 seat proposed pub for 104 street, and a larger 1,400 seat night club for 109 street were both turned down.
In a statement, the city said both proposals have been rejected because they would “materially interfere with or affect the use, enjoyment or value of neighbouring properties.”
Chris Buyze, of the downtown community league said his “phone exploded” minutes after the news hit the streets with people wanting to know the ramifications. He can see why the city came to the decision it did. “It’s based on the feedback of area residents primarily. Also feedback from area businesses who are also concerned.”
Opposition was strong, especially for what was proposed for the base of the Fox 2 condo tower. Jon Hall who also lives on 104 street said what they have there is unique with all businesses there, family and locally owned. “We’ve worked through that time as residents and businesses to build a special sense of vitality built around local ownership and small intimate venues and the residents of the street don’t expect a facility of that size to be imposed on them.”
You’d think the proponents at Urban Sparq would have reached out to community members, Buyze said, but they didn’t. “Yeah, it’s really kind of an unfortunate situation. If they were intending on applying for something that was of benefit to the area that they would have come to us first.”
“Most people downtown especially who realize that when they are applying for something that has potential impact on residents, they usually do come to us for consultation. It was quite surprising to us that they didn’t.”
Hall expects this will go to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. “The community and the community league will both be very actively involved in opposing that application,” he said.
Urban Sparq, which also owns popular locations like “The Pint” and “Knoxville’s” has 14 days.