‘Character areas’ part of East Village
As part of the revitalization of East Village near City Hall, the historic inner-city community will be divided into six “character areas” or neighbourhoods.
Each of the new neighbourhoods in the master plan will have a heritage building that will be revitalized, says Chris Ollenberger, president and CEO of the Calgary Municipal Land Corp.
The corporation is overseeing the massive redevelopment. The six character areas are: River’s Edge, a waterfront promenade along the Bow River.
The Gateway, which is to the north and adjacent to the RiverWalk area along the Bow River. It could include larger-scale retail in a mixed-use format.
RiverWalk along the north boundary of the site, which will include a waterfront promenade of pubs, cafes and restaurants overlooking the Bow River.
The Crossing directly behind City Hall, which will include the restored King Eddy Hotel. Residential apartments will be above public squares with niche retail, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as communal gardens.
Parkside adjacent to Fort Calgary and bounded by 9th Avenue S.E., which will have more multi-family housing permeated by pedestrian paths. Over-looking balconies, irregular setbacks, raised gardens and concealed parking are just some of the concepts. The highest concentration of people will be in this area.
St. Patrick’s Island, where recreational open space will be upgraded to accommodate a number of summer events.
Fort Calgary rounds out the area with its museum, replicated fort and heritage green space.
Gateways into East Village will also be important to the connectivity of downtown.
These include the 4th Street north/south connector via an underpass that will connect to Stampede Park, and Riverfront Avenue and RiverWalk.
Future East Village residents will be “urban explorers,” says Susan Vervs, senior manager of marketing for Calgary Municipal Land Corp.
“This time last year, we researched with our management team and an international group to define who our future residents would be: urban explorers who are convinced East Village was built for them with their needs in mind,” she says. “The concept is diversity in everything they touch, from shopping, to cultural experiences, to types of housing.”
Students, working single professionals ages 28 to 32, married couples ages 36 to 40, and married couples with a school-age child all fit the demographic that is likely to be attracted to the inner-city community, she says.
“We found in our research that there has been an exodus of younger people — university students or working professionals — who have been searching for cultural experiences and they feel that Calgary is not providing that,” says Vervs.
“So we need to prove to them that East Village is what they have been looking for. We need to reach them with event-specific activities that will draw them into the village.”
The Cantos Music Foundation’s move to the historic King Edward Hotel as part of a proposed National Music Centre is one approach.
The other is the possibility of holding Canada’s first opera festival in East Village, says Vervs.
“St. Patrick’s Island could be the spot,” she says. “We’re exploring that.”
Crews work on 6th Avenue S.E. as part of the redevelopment of East Village.