Skip to main content

Hundreds more University of Alberta staff moving to newly renovated Enterprise Square

Renovations are complete at Enterprise Square, and the University of Alberta is doubling its presence at the building.

“I’m enormously proud to see this historic building return back to its position of prominence in Edmonton’s downtown,” U of A president Bill Flanagan told a crowd gathered at Enterprise Square on Tuesday for the grand reopening.

The building, located at Jasper Avenue and 102 Street, opened in 1939 as a Hudson’s Bay store.

At the time, it was the biggest retail space in Edmonton and the first Bay location in the city.

Now, more than 500 people from the university will work at the building.

“Predominantly academic support, so more administrative functions, but the fourth floor very much is open to research, incubation and collision space,” the U of A’s vice president of operations Andrew Sharman told reporters.

Shaman says many of the renovations were designed with hybrid home and office work in mind.

“Yes, we did shift slightly once COVID hit and we started to see a move to remote work.”

“If you’re in the office three days a week or more, you’ll get a dedicated space, be it an office or a cubicle, but we’ve got a lot of varied spaces.”

The space is also home to some of the university’s industry partners, bringing the total number of people in the space to more than 600.

“We have 20 companies in incubation space on the fourth floor, and we aim to grow that,” Sharman said.

It’s a far cry from where Enterprise Square was before the pandemic, when fewer than 200 U of A employees were using the space.

The Downtown Business Association is happy to see the growth.

“Having people around, having people patronize businesses, walking down the street, taking transit.. that’s what we need more than anything,” said Puneeta McBryan of the DBA.

The DBA estimates that roughly 60,000 people worked downtown prior to COVID-19, while only 13,000 people lived downtown.

“We need to get that a lot closer to 50/50 and get that residential number way higher, but we also still need to make sure of the 60,000 people who worked downtown pre-COVID, that as any of them are coming back where possible and that we have new employees moving downtown like this announcement today.”

Flanagan says this move shows the university’s commitment to the downtown core.

“The connection between the University of Alberta and the community of Edmonton has always been so important to the university. This is really one way to demonstrate our commitment to the city.”

Commercial real estate company Avison Young says foot traffic volume is down 23 per cent in Edmonton since the start of the pandemic. 

With files from CTV News Edmotnon's Marek Tkach Top Stories

Stay Connected