A proposal to build a significant mixed-use redevelopment on a large riverfront property just west of Stampede Park boasts Calgary’s tallest residential towers.
Cidex Developments has submitted a development permit application to turn the 3.3-acre Beltline site at 1818 1st Street East — located near the Victoria Park/Stampede LRT Station — into a new complex with three residential towers reaching 443 ft (44 storeys), 502 ft (50 storeys), and 558 ft (56 storeys) in height.
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About a decade and a half ago, this was the original location of the Elbow River Casino, which was demolished and turned into a ground-level parking lot.
According to the application — dubbed ‘The HAT at Elbow River — designed by NORR Architects Planners, all three towers would sit on top of a nine-level podium that contains restaurant and retail spaces on the ground level and 1,180 vehicle parking stalls within the upper levels of the podium.
There will be a total of 1,252 homes for 2,000 people within the three towers, with the unit mix established as 780 one-bedroom units close to 600 sq. ft. in size and 472 two-bedroom units about 800 sq. ft. in size. This includes a developer contribution of 22 affordable homes, making this project the first in Calgary to implement a bonus density earning item for the provision of affordable housing units.
Moreover, if approved, the development will be one of the largest in Calgary in terms of the number of homes within a multi-residential project.
Residents will have access to a significant amount of indoor amenity space, such as meeting and gathering spaces, lounge, fitness gym, game areas, and possibly an indoor pool. Additionally, extensive outdoor amenity spaces will be provided on the rooftop levels of the podium, including a running track, dog park, outdoor seating, outdoor exercise and yoga corner, and a barbeque area.
“Due to the prominent location of The Hat at Elbow River, it will be considered as an important gateway to Downtown Calgary from the south, therefore the proposed building had to respond to this role,” reads the architect’s design rationale.
“It also had to be perceived as if the building would only pertain to this particular location and not anywhere else. The prominent location also determined that massing and proportion had to be carefully studied and that it will be important to use high quality durable materials. While not literal, the southeast corner piece represents the prow of the boat, the podium represents the boat itself, and the towers represent the chimneys.”
As for the public realm, the project calls for a walkway promenade and plaza with decorative pavers and LED in-ground strip lighting along the building’s edge and a new regional pathway with decorative pavers across the site that connects to Stampede Park via the existing MacLeod Trail bridge underpass.
Aesthetic and vegetation improvements to the site’s riverfront will also help address the property’s floodway flood risk, as 30% of the southern portion of the site is within the floodway and on average there is a two-metre drop in elevation from the higher northern portion of the site to the river’s edge.
Altogether, the proposal envisions 1.66 million sq. ft. of floor area, giving the project a floor area ratio of 11.51 times the size of its lot.