Plan possibly in the works for vacant property in the heart of Old Strathcona
CTV News has learned that plans are being developed for a piece of land on Whyte Avenue where a gas station once stood, and has remained empty for well over a decade.
The property is located on Whyte Avenue and 105 Street, where an ESSO service station operated, and has been the focus for a number of concepts for redevelopment over the years.
Still, the parcel of land has sat empty for sixteen years.
However, there’s a chance that could change – as CTV News has learned officials with United States developer Wexford have met with a number of business and community groups in the area over the vision for the land, valued at $7 million.
It’s an idea that has many in the area looking forward to the possibility of change.
“We’re excited about that, it’s always been that missing tooth of the smile that is Whyte Avenue and Old Strathcona,” Murray Davison with the Old Strathcona Business Association.
The realtor told CTV News a transaction is in the works, but no final sale price has been set.
The preliminary plan presented by the developer outlines a six storey building, with retail space on the main floor, office space above that, and the top floors occupied by high-end rental apartments.
“They want to design something that’s going to fit into the community and be here for a long time,” Davison said.
However, the number of floors for the planned building could cause problems for proposal – as only hotels are allowed to be that tall on Whyte Avenue.
“As long as the design fits with the street scape, it may not look out of place,” Myles Kitagawa with the Queen Alexandra Community League said.
City Councillor Ben Henderson represents the area, and said the city might be able to make concessions for the building’s size if the developer is willing to invest in Whyte Avenue and the design works with other buildings in the area.
“If the sixth floor makes it possible to do, then it should be something we could consider,” Henderson said.
A spokesperson for the developer declined comment, but said the company was still in talks with the community about what could go in the space.
The developer said more information is expected in the coming weeks.
With files from Bill Fortier