EDMONTON -- An old office building in downtown Edmonton has a new lease on life. It has been converted into apartment space, and now it is ready to welcome residents.

The two-tower complex stands on 108 Street at 100 Avenue. The north tower was built on a former surface parking lot, with the south tower being repurposed from an Alberta Health Services office space.

The project was tackled by Strategic Group, a Calgary based residential and commercial landlord company. Senior vice president Laurel Edwards spoke to the benefits of repurposing the building, rather than destroying it.

“When we talk about sustainability, the most sustainable building is the one you don’t have to demolish,” Edwards said. “We saved 18,000 tons of waste from going into the city of Edmonton landfill.”

Construction on the towers began in 2019. Edwards says that today is a big success considering the challenges the pandemic provided.

“The fact that we are able to do this on time, that we’re able to have people move in, are offering housing to people who need it and desire it, it’s really exciting to reach this milestone.”

When asked about the potential of more projects like this given the abundance of empty office space in Edmonton right now, she explained that it requires specific kinds of buildings to make the development work.

“We still feel like there’s an opportunity for other buildings to do this with but you really have to look at the structure and place and the layouts of the building to see if it makes sense...and it doesn’t make sense for all buildings.”

Now that construction is complete, the building needs residents. The 214-unit complex is currently about 30 per cent occupied and looking for new renters.

People can book a virtual or in-person tour online.