Innovation in Calgary is on the Fast Track

    · 5 min read

    CMLC, Calgary Parking Authority and Zinc Ventures break ground for ‘innovative’ east-end parkade

    Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)—master developer of East Village and the new Central Library that now adorns it—is thrilled to be breaking ground on another new project whose planning and construction CMLC is leading on behalf of Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) and Platform (Zinc Ventures).

    Located on 9th Avenue at 3rd Street SE, the approximately $80-million project will comprise seven levels with a 500+ stall parkade (and plenty of bike parking), plus a fully integrated 50,000 sq. ft. innovation centre, dubbed PLATFORM, that will be operated by Calgary Technologies Inc.

    “This is a strategic future-focused development coming to life and just as we embraced the challenge of delivering a landmark Central Library, we embraced CPA’s need for more downtown parking and coupled it with the opportunity to create an innovative community hub, says Michael Brown, CMLC’s president & CEO. “This project is an opportunity to do what we’ve done from the start in East Village: design and build with placemaking and people in mind.”

    Indeed, the development is much more than parking for cars. The 9th Avenue Parkade and Innovation Centre will integrate a 508-stall parkade on five levels, the Platform Innovation Centre, a ground floor café and an outdoor sport court – a combination of active public uses that will energize 9th Avenue SE and make far better use of a large land package previously serving as a surface parking lot.

    “In 2014, Calgary Parking Authority identified a need for additional parking supply to support East Village’s transformation in Calgary,” says Glen Furtado, general manager for CPA. “To meet that demand, we decided to build a parking structure, and we enlisted CMLC to manage the project on our behalf—for its expertise as a developer, of course, but also because we knew the CMLC team would deliver a project that meets all of CPA’s needs while fitting in well with their vision for the area.”

    Designed by architects Kasian and 5468796, the building’s design allows for future conversion of the space into commercial or residential uses through such considerations as increased floor to ceiling heights which are one and half times that of traditional parkades; a central atrium space that allows for natural light to penetrate through the building; and a responsible long-term approach that allows for the re-purposing of the existing building structure into future uses.

    “Our objective at CPA is to provide parking structures that not only service today’s needs but have the ability, should the need arise, to convert into residential, commercial or mixed-use space as the future Calgary will likely be very different than the Calgary of today”, adds Furtado. “And this building is a prime example of that type of forward-thinking and strategy.”

    With construction scheduled to be completed in fall 2020, Platform will be operated by Calgary Technologies Inc.—an organization that aims to accelerate the impact of innovation-driven ventures by providing access to space, programs, mentorship and capital.

    As CTI’s president, Terry Rock explains it, “Since 1988, CTI has been located at the University Research Park, and presently houses over 40 companies at the Alastair Ross Technology Centre. Our renewed strategy, aligned with the 10-Year Economic Strategy for Calgary, calls for us to play a stronger role in supporting all elements of Calgary’s innovation ecosystem. The vision behind Platform, “an innovation centre for everyone,” is a perfect fit with CTI’s vision to generate shared prosperity by making Calgary a global hub for startups and innovation. The fact that Platform sprung out of the Rainforest movement is proof that our community is ready to build what’s next.”

    To anchor itself in East Village and begin forging new connections in advance of Platform’s opening, CTI will move into East Village’s Hillier Block as a tenant after the Calgary Public Library Foundation vacates the space on January 1, 2019. CTI will maintain programming at its Research Park location, the Alastair Ross Technology Centre for the foreseeable future.

    “Having proven our capacity in vertical development with the new Central Library, we look eagerly forward to ‘going vertical’ again with the 9th Avenue Parkade and Platform,” says Brown, adding that the project has been mindfully designed to integrate into its surrounding neighbours of the new Central Library, Studio Bell and East Village community.

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