Revitalization efforts for 118th Avenue were renewed this weekend, as demolition crews tore down the old Alberta Cycle building.

The 50-year-old building, located at 91 Street and 118 Avenue, is being torn down to create a temporary green space in the area, a space that residents hope will then be turned into a building for the arts.

“The arts have brought a lot of revitalization to our neighbourhood so a new space that you can do something unique with is going to be a good addition to the avenue,” said Karen Mytietka, president of the Alberta Avenue Community League.

There had been plans to turn the building into an arts centre, but demolition became the option when a number of unexpected site conditions were discovered during renovations.

Now the area will temporarily be used for arts programming, festivals and other activities by the community, while a long-term plan for the space is discussed.

“My person belief is I’d like to see another arts hub go up there,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel.

“That area is just alive with arts and culture and creating another place for artists to go there to get involved with the community, with the arts community, I think would be a real benefit but we’ll see what the community has to say.”

Mytietka hopes the arts hub goes up soon, but admits it will likely take some time now that a brand new building needs to be erected.

“It is just sad that we have to wait that much longer to have a building space that people can use,” she said. “Arts on the Ave and Arts Habitat have partnered and worked together on developing plans for that space and they plan to continue to move forward and work with the city to see what they can come up with now that they have a blank slate to work with.”

The demolition comes just months after the old Cromdale building on 118th Avenue was torn down over the summer.

That space at 82 Street and 118 Avenue is set to become a Shoppers Drug Mart and parking lot.

The Cromdale demolition was welcomed by many in the community and considered to be a step forward in revitalization for 118th Avenue, a sentiment that was repeated this weekend when the old Alberta Cycle Building came down.

“It’s kind of sad but it’s also good to see it down so we can build something new. It adds with the revitalization here on 118,” said resident Stathi Michos. “It’s almost kind of a sign of the things to come. Get rid of the old and up with the new. Sometimes it’s kind of hard because you like to keep some of the old heritage buildings but sometimes it’s just got to go.”

“This is exciting,” said resident Greg McInulty. “I hope they build something new as quickly as they’re tearing the old one down.”

“It’s always a good thing to have well-used buildings, buildings that have good facades and large new spaces on the avenue for the community to use and jus to bring lots of people down to the avenue to showcase the great things we have going on,” Mytietka said.

The Alberta Avenue initiative is Edmonton’s pioneer Neighbourhood Revitalization project, meant to improve quality of life for residents through safer streets, public spaces and enhanced community life.

“118th avenue is a model of change. It’s not perfect and has a distance to go but it’s infinitely better to go than it was eight years ago,” Mandel said.

With files from Sean Amato