What do you think of this project?


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archited

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Cars are never going away -- they will only transmogrify to self-driving automated vehicles. Here's the rationale -- sometime next month, Elon Musk is going to announce "Battery Day" whereby he is going to introduce the 1,000,000-mile battery (this does not mean that a car can go 1,000,000 miles on a single charge; it does mean that the new battery is guaranteed not to degrade for 1,000,000 miles). At that point the automobile will become a portable Electric Grid component. Green Energy -- Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Atomic (someday Fusion rather than Fission) and Hydro (in various forms) will provide the energy and battery farms and automobiles will become the power storage elements. Several key things will happen nearly instantaneously (over three to five years) -- 1. fossil fuels will no longer be competitive and so will disappear vis-a-vis the economic equation (happening first in Industrialized nations); 2. the price of Tesla's vehicles will separate into a car component and a battery component -- the battery component will be worth approximately $32,000.00 on average -- one will be able to buy the car for about $32,000.00 (on average) less than today's price and there will be the option to either own the battery or leave its ownership in Tesla's hands (providing the purchaser buys and installs a Tesla Powerwall at their home and/or place of work connected to the Grid); 3. other Electric Car manufacturers will be forced in the short term to either buy Tesla's battery for their vehicles or suffer untenable price competition (some of the lesser companies will be forced out of business); 4. The price of electrical utility bills will fall dramatically and the individual consumer will gain price-control power -- people will be able to sell their battery power excess at peak times for exceptional value and recharge their batteries at night when power consumption falls; their car batteries will become a reliable electrical power storage device and portable at that; 5. Oil-producing economies will be hit hard, losing 70% of their income stream (take heed Alberta) based on oil sales progressively over the next half-decade; 6. commuter cars will diminish in size (a trend that is already well-ensconced); 7. Automobile ranges on a single charge will increase by 120% to average in and around 1,000 kilometres (so not only will the price of cars decrease but their operating and maintenance costs will fall as well); 8. Quick charges will improve to about 20 minutes for a full charge (still slower than refueling at the gas pump but getting close to tolerable -- besides which the charge that can be achieved at home or at work will de-necessitate the need for urban fueling stations altogether -- they will be relegated to highway locations for long-haul scenarios); and 9. charging stations, especially in cold climate scenarios, will be located indoors -- so good-bye (and good riddance) surface parking lots (at least those that are intended for long-term parking). So changes to the Urban Scene will look like this -- complete disappearance of gas stations (could be repurposed to some other function); a preponderance of smaller self-driving cars (the gas-guzzlers will be gone); no value in surface parking lots, so they, too will disappear; many auto-reliant jobs will disappear with the advent of autonomous vehicles (a new meaning for automobile); and a greener City.
 
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Platinum107

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Okay, I have some thoughts on this issue too.

My perspective on this development has changed over the last little while, and while I still think that it could've been designed much better to fit the character they were going for (maybe with the parking enclosing a central "square" where the shop fronts and a central fixture like a fountain would be), I have come to accept it and even find a little good in the thought of "You know what, if they were gong to building a strip mall here anyway, at least they TRIED to do something a little different and interesting". I do agree with you both a little in separate ways, like yes, because of the still ever-present (yet decreasing) car culture here in the city, accommodations will have to be made in order to support at least most of the projected vehicle traffic. However, as the situation within the city continues to improve, developments that improve density, walkability and the public realm overall should be set as examples of what the city needs and eventually it'll get more acceptable to put down the ones that are very car-centric. Hell already I can see a difference in the core area of the city.

Also sorry @crisp , but I completely disagree with your last comment there. No, we should definitely not embrace car dependency, only accommodate as much as is necessary. The car-dependant and "Quantity over Quality" approach is exactly what made Edmonton into a sprawling suburbanized city with an undesirable core, and I'm so thankful that the tides are finally turning after many years of moroseness and ubalance.
 

crisp

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@Platinum107 "The car-dependant and "Quantity over Quality" approach is exactly what made Edmonton into a sprawling suburbanized city with an undesirable core" Actually, I believe the suburban sprawl and undesirable core are both a byproduct of the City's extremely poor ease of access to the core.

My opinion on embracing car dependency is based on my outlook on competitive growth between urban and suburban Edmonton. The demand for ease of access from a vehicle is what is fueling a lot of these new office parks and even stand-alone buildings with large parking lots that have and continue to pop up in the burbs. Think Ellerslie. Windermere, and even Calgary Trail and Whitemud lately. This competition is only hurting Central Edmonton's momentum for development as people are choosing to move their offices to more easily accessible areas in the city with their vehicles (ie. Brookfield moved their office out of Downtown to Calgary Trail because of a strong demand by their employees to do so).

There is a strong divide between urbanist Edmontonians and suburbanite Edmontonians that give two shits about the core. Unfortunately for the City, those suburbanites are vast in numbers and have a very strong pull. To me that means that unless there are accommodations for these mindsets, sprawl will continue to outpace growth in the core. I'd rather see quality over quantity as well but because I hate the sprawl so much just like you, I will accept (some) less favorable development just to see more investment and demand in the core to compete with the sprawl.
 

Daveography

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@crisp The problem with leaning into car-oriented development is that is unsustainable on every level imaginable, from land-use efficiency, to economic resiliency, to environmental and air quality, to health and safety and well-being of all residents. No city has ever succeeded going down this path, and Edmonton is not special in this regard - except in that we are still at a point where we can make the changes needed before it becomes too painful to even contemplate making those changes.
 

Platinum107

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Once again, you both are making good points in this issue, and Crisp I do agree that there is still a strong pull from suburban residents to have their jobs and services father out of the city. However, I believe that this force is going to really diminish within the next decade for multiple reasons, from the massive LRT and bus expansion to the new City Plan (which states that the borders of the city will not be expanded again until another million people, a projected 800,000 of that living in already established areas) and even just the strong cultural shift from suburban car-oriented living to smaller, walkable and transit oriented as opposed to the car. In the end, I have to agree with Dave in the respect that central developments should be future-proof, whether that be through transit-oriented development, easy sidewalk access, awesome landscaping or all 3! And obviously, I understand that parking is needed in any new building or development, but hopefully that need can be sizeably shrunken in the next few decades.
 

crisp

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@Daveography I'm all for sustainability, but I'm more of a supporter as opposed to an advocate as you seem to be. And I am willing to accept, to a certain extent, some developments that do not check off all the boxes.

I want to put emphasis on "to a certain extent" and bring this debate back to Manchester Square. For a project its size and location, it is not the most ideal use but I am ok with it being the way it is and just don't believe it merits all the strong backlash that it is getting. It is nowhere near the size of Brewery District, Oliver Square, and Save-On-Foods land (whatever it's called), and neither is its location as prominent as these examples. For its location actually, this project will cater mostly to residents of Westmount, Glenora, Inglewood, and Queen Mary. All of which are mostly single-family and majority car-dependent residences. If this helps spur more infill, I'm all for it. If it spurs new low to mid-rise multi fam developments along 124th or in any of these communities, perfect!

I also assume that this project, for 76 Group, is an extension of Holland Plaza, and an effort to roll over the success they have experienced there. What backlash has Holland Plaza had? Because all I've heard is massive praise, baffling for such a car-oriented development no? Holland Plaza has been very beneficial to its surrounding communities, you can even say it is now a destination for an area that was once dead. Probably enticing people to buy a home in the area and increase demand for infill. So maybe Manchester will do so as well, maybe not. Overall, it just doesn't deserve the hate it gets.

@Platinum107 "this force is going to really diminish within the next decade" a decade is very optimistic imo for Edmonton. I agree that there is a shift happening and there are more demand for an urban lifestyle. But if we develop only to those urbanists, and future-proof as you say, it will just slow progress down. It will still happen because of natural reasons (global/societal perspective, etc.) but not as fast as I'd want it to (for me at least).
 

Platinum107

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@crisp Okay, that's fair enough and I can see where you're coming from.

On why there was such backlash for Manchester Square, I think it's just because out of the sea of conventional and "normal" projects we follow on here, it was such a shock to see something so out-of-the-normal pop up, and because of the tackiness and "Disney-land" feel to it, it just kinda got dogpiled on and there was some humour to be found in that if you ask me ? .

Now though, I've concluded that when it comes to developments on this relatively small scale, you've just gotta… pick your battles. I agree with you Crisp on the fact that, EVEN with the big parking lot-centric design, this is going to overall impact the area in a positive way. Saying that, I will still continue to advocate for awesome pedestrian and transit oriented design and make my appreciation known when I see a development of any scale that succeeds in delivering that ?.
 

Calfaer

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I live in one of the nearby neighbourhoods - at the end of the day, I'm grateful for more local business areas and activity in what was a previously dead spot. Transit is pretty weak in my area and while I used it for getting to and from work pre-pandemic, it's still a far cry from being usable enough to pop down to do groceries, shopping, etc. easily without having to budget a lot more time, only during specific bus times. Hence, unfortunately car focused design (probably) makes more financial sense to the developer who, at the end of the day, is a business looking to make money.

In my view, improving transit and mobility options throughout the city will encourage better, more urban design. Right now it's just too discouraging to prefer public transit over personal vehicles. In most major cities I've been to, taking transit usually just involves walking to a nearby bus stop and waiting a few minutes. Here, there's a lot more planning involved and shifting your schedule to suit bus schedules, and then also hoping that that the bus actually shows up on time.

I also think part of the backlash for this development in particular also comes from the fact that it draws inspiration from European design, known for its walkability and being a blend of history and urban design, but then coming out and just being another car-centric development with a tacky facade. The Brewery District was pretty disappointing in a similar way, on a bigger scale.

In the short term, I would say this is definitely a net-positive development, but I (optimistically) don't see that holding true in the future where infill and density is being preferred with a push to improve transit and build new LRT lines.
 

Platinum107

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@Calfaer Totally agree with everything you said. I'm hopeful that with the bus network redesign and LRT expansion transit will start to get a leg up over cars (especially in the core), with the more rapid service and all :D
 
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Daveography

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PERMIT_DATE June 01, 2020
JOB_CATEGORY Commercial Final
ADDRESS MECH, 10718 - 120 STREET NW
NEIGHBOURHOOD QUEEN MARY PARK
JOB_DESCRIPTION PHASE 2 - To construct Interior Alteration to an existing shell building - Manchester Square - Extension of 19 interconnected floor spaces (every unit), 17 - 1 hour demising walls (2Hr loadbearing demising walls on main floor to support upper floor) Sprinkler and Fire alarm. Second floors have dedicated exit corridor along the back wall.
BUILDING_TYPE Retail and Shops (510)
WORK_TYPE (03) Interior Alterations
FLOOR_AREA 6,465.98
CONSTRUCTION_VALUE 7,300,000
 

Daveography

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Description: To change the use of a space from retail to a brewery/pub (Group E to A2) and to construct interior alterations including upgrade demising wall on both sides to 2HR- Arcadia Brewing Co.
Permit date: July 30, 2020
Type: Building Permit
Subtype: (03) Interior Alterations
Category: Commercial Final
Class: Restaurants and Bars (540)
Status: Issued
Address: 10712 - 120 STREET NW
Neighbourhood: QUEEN MARY PARK
Zoning: DC2
Value: $80,000.00
 

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