A significant redevelopment approved by the City of Calgary could provide the Chinatown district with a major economic generator.
El Condor Lands and Hive Developments is proceeding with their project to build a mixed-use development on the large Impark ground-level parking lot on the city block framed by 2 Avenue SW to the north, Centre Street S to the east, 3 Avenue SW to the south, and 1 Street SW to the west — just across the street from the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre.
There will be two 28-storey residential towers with a combined total of 560 homes and a 12-storey hotel building with 150 guest rooms.
A total of 25 smaller retail and restaurant units on the ground-level will provide the area with a much-needed retail boost and activate the new plaza and pedestrian-oriented laneway cutting through the city block.
The plaza space can host special events, including street festivals and night markets. Public art or a water feature will also enhance this space.
Designed by Perkins+Will, the redevelopment’s architecture will offer a faux Chinese appearance — pay tribute to traditional Chinese motifs and architectural elements, such as wooden screens, masonry techniques, and lighting.
“The architecture connects the traditional with the modern and pays homage to elements found in Chinese architecture,” reads the architect’s design rationale.
“A motif of vertical and horizontal rectangles draws inspiration from the intricate geometric wood lattices, found in windows, doors, and balustrades of traditional China. Detailing of the podium draws from a rich history of masonry techniques, which are used to create texture, opacity, and variation in the façade.”
“One of the main distinguishing features of any Chinatown is the dominance of small commercial retail units at ground level. In this development, uniquely scaled internal commercial alleyways have been carved through the podium to maximize commercial space and retail activity. Providing freedom for tenants to adorn the façade of their units as they see fit creates the opportunity for the density of signage and advertisement synonymous with Chinatown.”
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