City approves new residential building to be built on vacant 99 Street lot

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Edmonton has approved the development of a new residential building that is set to occupy a vacant lot on the corner of 99 Street NW and 89 Street NW.

The lot, which was previously home to a beloved grocery store, has been vacant for a number of years, according to a report by the city. At Tuesday’s public hearing, council approved a rezoning application by Pangman Development Corporation to build an eight-storey residential building, a two-storey reduction from the initial 10 storeys proposed.

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Jeff Booth, with Situate Inc., the company that submitted the application on behalf of Pangman Development Corporation, said while there’s no plans to bring back a grocery store, the building is being designed with an amenity space on the main floor that could be converted to a commercial space in the future.

“This way we can get things rolling on the development permit application and if a commercial tenant comes along there’s an opportunity to
convert that space,” Booth said. “If that were to happen, the amenity space could be relocated further north in the building along 99th street by converting some units.”

As part of the process, the city gathered feedback from the community. While many people supported more housing, some raised concerns about commercial spaces being optional instead of mandatory, which would reduce vehicle usage and encourage active modes of transportation.

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Many of the public’s concerns are about the removal of commercial spaces like cafés, grocery stores, and restaurants, which residents deemed a loss to the community.

“Increased population density can be handled, but needs to be balanced with increased amenities,” the report said.

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Michael Janz, who spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing meeting, said decisions around commercial amenities were still up in the air, but that he supports the use of the space to create a residential unit.

“From a land use perspective, I think this is absolutely reasonable,” Janz said. “I think it better fits the context of the community than some of the previous proposals in this area. It’s a wonderful location that I would love to live at where you’re a block and a half from the River Valley, you’re close to Whyte Ave, the farmers market is three blocks away — there’s enormous amenities there.”

“The biggest concern here remains that question about commercial amenities…and I have no doubt in the next 10 or 15 years that we will have a more than abundant population base to sustain a number of different commercial options along here.”

Plans for development are still in the works and a timeline has not been determined.

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