There’s a split decision on what one developer hopes to build atop what is now Wild Earth Bakery and Cafe, and Wild Earth Foods next door on 99 Street. Coun. Ben Henderson has heard both opinions on a proposed 31 storey tower at 89 Avenue.
“It’s a huge departure for what’s there right now, in an area that’s actually working really well,” Henderson said prior to a second open house to gauge public feedback. “You know the community’s really concerned about it. I have some questions as well.”
Bateman Properties and One Properties want to erect a tower with about 220 units ranging in size from studios to nine three-bedroom suites. The proposal also calls for commercial uses at the ground level on the east portion facing 99 Street and 89 Avenue, some townhouse style dwellings on the west portion facing 89 Avenue and underground parking.
But it’s the height that Henderson has heard about. “I think everybody wants to see the site redeveloped. They want to make sure that the commercial piece stays there, and the grocery store is still there, it’s a really vital part of the community. So it the coffee shop. But whether or not putting a tower of that height in really in the middle of a medium density neighborhood, and medium height neighborhood makes a lot of sense is a real question.”
“With the community having had a chance to already have one look at this, is very loud and clear in terms of the worry, and not in terms of development. I’d think they really would love to see something done there but this is so different in scale from everything else that’s been happening.”
Henderson argues that higher density is not the issue, because it has its advantages. If this is to happen, the area redevelopment will need to be changed, to allow 31 storeys.
“In actual fact I think they recognize that having the people there is part of what allows for that kind of vibrant commercial street. It really is just whether or not that height of built form right on 99 street is in keeping with what’s been making the neighborhood successful. One of the legitimate questions is, for all of the people who built under the existing rules and built quite happily under the existing rules, what are we saying to them? Were they stupid not to ask for more?”
An application has also been made to close a portion of the lane west of 99 Street to allow the proposed development. Traffic flow from the east-west lane to 90 Avenue will be maintained. Vehicles will still be able to access the site from 89 Avenue however this would be on a private lane and no longer on a City owned lane.